Grant writers work with a variety of sensitive documents. An individual grant writer can store their livelihood and their clients’ personal information on their computer, without needing a complex setup. However, a business that relies on harnessing the power of multiple grant writers requires a complex solution of on-premises storage and cloud-based software that can allow grant writers to send tax documents securely. Prosperity Ag & Energy Resources is one such company.
Grant Writing at a Glance
Prosperity specializes in grant writing for energy, farm and rural development programs. With three grant writers working on dozens of grants simultaneously from multiple locations, Prosperity requires a centralized server in their offices, with the ability to access the same files from a cloud network. In addition, it is of the utmost importance that the security of these networks be maintained, since grant writing requires clients to disclose tax documents, articles of incorporation and business plans. Christi Southerland, Managing Director at Prosperity stated,
“As a grant writing team, we are constantly compiling documents, reviewing applications and editing proposals. Without access to a secure online platform that allows us to see each other’s work, our work would be redundant and ineffective.”
The Multi-Platform Problem
Prior to any servers or centralized cloud-software, Prosperity relied on a myriad of storage options such as Dropbox, Google Drive, office servers and hardcopy file storage. This opened the door to the danger of inconsistent customer information and stagnant lead generation or follow-up. Furthermore, user permissions on files were inherently a security liability, due to the open sharing on the cloud-based platforms. Prosperity recognized the need to invest in their technology and file storage.
Streamlining the Process with SmartFile
Grant writing is necessary for many community developers and non-for-profit programs, but grant writers are unable to serve their clients or support their own work unless clients are able to feel safe distributing their personal and tax information.
SmartFile provides customized solutions that can aid in file management and security. Grant writers can take file access on-the-go with a branded login portal, accessible from their smartphone, tablet or laptop. The secure portal ensures that grant applications can be safely accessed during client meetings.
Furthermore, the client gateway feature allows for streamlining of the application process by allowing a client to upload tax or personal information directly into their grant file with SFTP or FTPS, without compromising other sensitive information. While the client is logged in and uploading their file, they can only see their information. Grant writers can host multiple clients on the same software without worrying about their client list being exposed during file transfers. This solution prevents the clutter and weak security of email sharing.
Grant writing firms can ensure their clients’ information is safe thanks to user permissions and management, which allow administrators to choose who can and cannot access files. By choosing SmartFile, grant writers can track project progress, and ensure file security via user access analytic logs and email notifications. Even files accessed on mobile devices are continuously tracked for the busy writer or business owner. The ease of file management, coupled with secure portability options deters grant writers from storing or sharing documents on their personal cloud accounts (such as Google Drive or Dropbox).