The Educational Foundation of America and the Integration of BILL | akoyaGO User Story

A community and private foundation’s dedication to grantmaking and making a positive impact underscores the need for efficiency, accuracy, and transparency. When dealing with the complexities of foundation management, selecting the right software is essential. It’s not merely about automating tasks; it’s about enabling organizations to achieve their mission more effectively. An excellent example of this is a recent upgrade led by a trusted akoyaGO user, The Educational Foundation of America (EFA), which integrated akoyaGO with BILL (formerly, a financial operations platform.

A Manual and Time-Consuming Process

Before transitioning to akoyaGO, EFA faced challenges in its operational processes. Managing the payments in the foundation’s grantmaking was heavily manual, relying on paper checks and copying data from spreadsheets to a database. This not only slowed down their operations but also introduced the risk of data inconsistencies through double entry.

Seeking optimization and efficiency, EFA made a strategic move to akoyaGO, attracted by the platform’s promise of streamlined foundation management. This decision was bolstered by the discovery of akoyaGO’s integration capabilities with BILL, thanks to insights from their consultant who helps manage financial tasks of the foundation’s grantmaking. Rebekah Wadadli, Grants Manager at EFA, took the lead in this integration, pioneering a solution that promised to revolutionize their grant management processes.

Being the first to integrate, Rebekah closely collaborated with akoyaGO to precisely define and customize their needs and workflows. The benefits of our partnership became evident, with Tyler Long, the Technical Services Manager, playing a pivotal role by providing critical knowledge and guidance.

"Collaborating with Rebekah and the team at EFA has been a remarkable opportunity to implement and enhance additional operational efficiencies. Thanks to the modern technology of akoyaGO, we are equipped to provide the foundations we serve with a robust technology stack that propels them into the future."

Efficiency, Accuracy, and Transparency

The integration between akoyaGO and BILL has profoundly impacted EFA’s operations, highlighting the importance of a robust grants management system. Rebekah shared, “It’s about efficiency, but it’s also about accuracy. It avoids the errors that come with double entry.” This enhancement has led to significant time savings and a reduction in manual workload, with automated processes now handling tasks that once consumed weeks of effort.

Time Savings and Automation Enhancements

The automation facilitated by the akoyaGO and BILL integration has led to remarkable time savings. The process of adding payment information and approvers, once a tedious manual task, is now automated, with payment information updating in the CRM automatically. This not only saves time but also enhances accuracy and compliance.

"It's about efficiency, but it's also about accuracy."

The integration has also improved the collection of payment information from applicants. Through logical branching with GOapply, akoyaGO’s grant management portal, EFA has streamlined the information collection process, reducing the need for follow-ups and tightening the overall application process.

A More Transparent and Efficient Workflow

The integration has introduced three main workflows for Rebekah—syncing applicants, pushing payments, and pulling payments—alongside auxiliary notification workflows. This automation ensures that applicant profiles are synced between akoyaGO and BILL, with alerts for any discrepancies. Furthermore, the process of initiating payments has been streamlined, significantly reducing the manual effort required for grant distribution.

Transparency has also seen a significant boost. Rebekah now benefits from an extensive dashboard that monitors various steps in the grant distribution process, coupled with automation-triggered email notifications that enhance transparency and ensure timely communication.

A Personal Perspective

As the sole grants manager, Rebekah shares that her perspective will likely resonate with other grantmaking peers. She notes that while the board and other team members may not directly perceive the difference, the reduction in manual effort and time savings are profoundly impactful for her role. This enhancement has significantly streamlined EFA’s grant cycles, moving from a cumbersome, weeks-long process to an efficient, week-long process that ensures accuracy and efficiency.

The Power of Collaboration and Iteration

Rebekah’s akoyaGO user story exemplifies the importance of collaboration and the willingness to iterate and improve processes. This ethos is deeply ingrained in the akoyaGO community, where collaboration and learning from peers are highly encouraged.

The journey of The Educational Foundation of America with akoyaGO and BILL is a testament to the transformative power of the right foundation software. It’s a vivid illustration of how technology, when leveraged with strategic partnerships and a willingness to embrace innovation, can significantly empower community and private foundations. As akoyaGO continues to serve as a partner to foundations, not just a technology vendor, stories like Rebekah’s illuminate the path forward for grantmakers seeking to optimize their impact and efficiency.



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