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Saying No to File Cabinets and Yes to Streamlined Application Management

Brooklyn Arts Council helps New York artists thrive with the help of an application management platform that collects and archives data so they don’t have to

Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) fosters artistic expression and experience in their New York City borough by funding artists, collectives, and nonprofits. But managing applications, registrations, and surveys across three different grants programs was a beast that ate time, space, and sanity without application management software. 

Our biggest challenge before Submittable was tracking applications, manually entering data, reviewing documents, and preparing for panel review with online forms that required printing. After this year, we’ll no longer need paper archives.

Ayoka Wiles-Abel

Brooklyn Arts Council Grants Director

Removing mountains of paperwork (and red tape) 

Before they began using Submittable to manage three substantial grant programs, BAC relied on email attachments, their own spreadsheets, and printouts for an intricate review process among 13 panels. Team members scanned, copied, and manually entered data for review and record-keeping—and applicant errors required the process to be restarted completely. Since BAC keeps applicants on file for three years, they were filing and sorting through an enormous amount of paper.

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Arts Council

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Arts Council

Improving the workflow but keeping all the data 

BAC needed a platform that would allow grant applicants and managers to edit data, share easily, and swiftly complete preliminary review before in-person meetings. Because BAC uses non-staff community artists and leaders to review grant applications, it was essential for data to be clearly organized and accessible from anywhere.

Raising the standard while clearing file cabinets 

According to Ayoka Wiles-Abel, BAC Grants Director, “Submittable has improved the clarity and quality of our applications, and made them easier to track and access.” With less time spent tracking, organizing, and archiving, BAC’s team can focus on serving the Brooklyn community. “The features, like tagging and assignments, are wonderful for keeping us on task,” she observes.

In fact, Submittable’s customizable forms have proved so useful, BAC team members outside of grants are also using the software. “We like the ability to use it across departments,” says Ayoka. Since they began using Submittable, BAC has created nearly 60 unique forms to assist with hiring, sponsorship, surveys, registration, and more.

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