Chapter One

2023 in review: A year of powering progress

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A sector on the verge

Social impact, as a sector, is on the verge of something truly exciting. 

When we reflect on all that our customers achieved in the last twelve months, our own efforts to live up to our corporate purpose, and the speed of technological development in the industry, the theme coming into 2024 becomes clear: progress.

Where this progress takes us, we’ll have to see. But if the data and stories we’ve collected from the last year are any indication, there’s a lot to look forward to and celebrate. 

Here in chapter 1, we’ll take a high level look at the Submittable community’s collective impact and dive into what 2023 meant for our corporate purpose.

Our purpose is to power your progress

Our purpose is to accelerate mission-driven work. In other words, our mission is to accelerate yours—to power your progress, whatever your social good aim may be.

Thousands of organizations across sectors have used Submittable for over a decade. Over that time, our customers have shown us what they need in order to do their best work. We've identified these key pillars for fulfilling their needs:

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Who uses Submittable

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State, local, federal, and tribal governments use Submittable for end-to-end management for grants, funding programs, and application processes, including fraud prevention, funds disbursement, and compliance.

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Nonprofits and foundations use Submittable to power social impact programs like grants, awards, and scholarships, supporting every stakeholder from start to finish.

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Businesses small and large use Submittable’s full CSR suite spanning employee engagement tools for volunteering, giving, and matching, as well as community grants.

The good work of our customers

We’re so honored to stand behind our customers in their work. This past year, we’ve been so inspired by their collective impact. 

To call out just a few of the many programs that are changing lives across the country and around the globe, our customers have: 

  • Launched an open call to award community-led nonprofits serving those with access to the fewest foundational resources with unrestricted gifts of $1 million dollars each.

  • Invested in bringing the transformative power of art to every citizen through a public arts program that involved community voices and artists the opportunity to explain their artistic vision.

  • Supported survivors of domestic and gender-based violence with funds to cover essentials from rent and utilities to moving and mental healthcare costs.

  • Increased participation in employee volunteer programs (and community impact) by over 50% by empowering ERG leaders to easily create compelling events.

Here’s a snapshot of the collective good work Submittable customers achieved in 2023.

Usage metrics on Submittable in 2023. Infographic representing this collective good work. It is split into 10 sections. 
Section one: In 2023 Submittable clients created 31,091 programs and 89 % of customers build out a new project in two weeks or less. 
Section two: Top program types are Grants and other funding, scholarships, fellowships and residencies, awards, application processes, publishing and employee engagement
Section three: 8,987 average submissions per day and customers collected 3,280,284 applications.
Section four: 414,769 passed additional eligibility screening, and another 210,135 were screened for fraud. 
Section five: Teams conducted 11,313,527 reviews. 
Section six: Review breakdowns - 1,574,585 custom review forms, 1,844,297 yes/no reviews and 7,894,645 automated reviews
Section seven: Customers collected 2,653,513 progress reports and internal forms and $5,506,461,550 in funding was tracked on submittable. 
Section eight: Submittable distributed $1,326,360,375 in funds on behalf of clients
Section nine: Making investments in these top causes - equity and social justice, children & education, creative & arts, health & wellness, Economic justice & opportunity, environment & climate. 
Section eight: Thanks to our customers for being our partners in accelerating mission driven work

Innovation is part of our DNA

We’re so proud of the role our products play in making this good work possible. And as the sector evolves, we’re continuing to innovate, so that our customers can stay at the forefront of social good.

Innovation is a hallmark of Submittable.

Thor Culverhouse, CEO, Submittable

The most meaningful feedback we get about our product is from our customers. But we’re also delighted to have received quite a few accolades from industry experts in 2023.

Submittable Product Recognition in 2023

  • APPEALIE SaaS and Software Awards Overall SaaS Award winner in the Vertical Industry category for Enterprise 

  • Capterra Shortlist for Grant Management Software

  • Software Advice Front Runners 2023 Top Grant Management Software 

  • GetApp Category Leader for Grant Management Software

  • Finovate Award for Best Fintech Award for Minnesota Frontline Worker Pay Program in partnership with US Bank

Jump ahead to Chapter 5 of this report to learn more about how our product evolved in 2023 and what our customers have to say about it.

Jump to Chapter Five

Gif of Submittable and Microsoft logos coming together, with Strategic Partnership underneath.

Our strategic partnership with Microsoft

In 2023, we announced our strategic partnership with Microsoft. As a Microsoft Tech for Social Impact recommended partner, we’ll collaborate to better serve the social good sector with new technology. 

Here’s what this partnership means for Submittable customers:

  • We’re powered by and optimized for Microsoft. This means we’re hosted on Microsoft Azure, leveraging Azure OpenAI Service, and we’re aligned with Microsoft Common Data Model and Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit.

  • We’re advancing AI for good. We’re actively developing AI powered tools to provide value to every stakeholder in the grant management lifecycle. Read more about our Responsible AI principles and the first AI-powered features coming to customers soon in Chapter 5: Evolving to accelerate the future of mission-driven work. 

Submittable also partners with a wide array of other businesses to ensure that we serve our customers with the services they need.

How we walk the walk

Everyone at Submittable cares deeply about living our corporate values. Here’s what that looked like in 2023.

Evolving the conversation

We have the privilege of a wide audience that engages with our content, giving us the opportunity to influence our sector for the better through our thought leadership. 

Here are a few highlights on this work from the last year: 

  • Sam Caplan, our VP of Social Impact, presented with peers and partners at PEAK, TAG, and Engage for Good conferences on topics including demographic data and responsible AI.

  • We hosted Impact Studio, joined by five five social impact experts exploring the trends shaping the future of corporate social responsibility.

  • We released the third season of our podcast Impact Audio, exploring topics such as measuring the “S” in ESG and breaking the starvation cycle in CSR over nine episodes.

  • We educated our community with over 40 published blogs and guides offering practical advice on topics ranging from how to start an ERG to tips for issuing an RFP. 

In September, we hosted Impact Studio, where five industry experts joined us to explore the trends shaping the future of corporate social responsibility. You can catch up on demand anytime.

Investing in our community

Another part of walking the walk is through our direct support of nonprofits doing good work in our communities. As we often recommend to our customers and community, we took a trust-based approach, offering a total of $25,000 in unrestricted funds to support these fantastic nonprofits near our offices in Missoula, MT and Bellevue, WA.

We continued our corporate volunteer program, launching one event per month for each of our office locations, performing tasks from trail maintenance to creating spring break activity kits to support our communities. Together, we logged over 200 hours giving back. 

We also launched our first year of employee donations and corporate matching on our own Give product. 

Our employees spearheaded a giving campaign to support Maui fire relief. With a corporate match of $10,000, we raised $22,000 in just 72 hours to Maui United Way and Hawaii Community Foundation (as recommended to us by a local customer), each providing essential services on the ground to impacted people. 

We were also thrilled to increase the impact of our community grants through a reverse match program. On Giving Tuesday, our employees were invited to participate, making direct donations and deepening our support of our nonprofit partners.

On Giving Tuesday, we launched a reverse match, inviting employees to make direct donation to our community grant partners.

Learn more about Submittable’s 2023 Community Grant Recipients

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Mountain Home

Here Montana

Backpack Brigade

Teens in Public Service

Centering the experience of our employees

Living our values also includes the way we treat our employees. 

One way we show up for them is by investing in their career development. We’re proud to offer professional development stipends. Over one-fifth of our new hires in the last year were employee promotions or transfers.

It was a delight to be honored by our industry in several areas for creating a positive working environment and onboarding experience for our employees, even as we are growing fast. 

Submittable Company and Employee Experience Recognition in 2023

  • Inc Fast 5,000

  • Finalist for Best Corporate Steward Citizen Award Finalist

  • Lattice Onboarding Trailblazer Award 

  • Built In 100 best places to work in Seattle

We also support our employees with four ERGs and very competitive benefits. (By the way, we’re hiring.)

Feature image for the "Remembering and honoring Michael Fitzgerald" section

Remembering and honoring Michael Fitzgerald

On September 4, Michael Fitzgerald, one of Submittable’s co-founders and our former CEO for ten years, passed away. 

Michael was a novelist, software engineer, and tech trailblazer. He was creative, sharp, and gritty—a self-described “show up and do shit person”, who approached his work with vulnerability and tenacity. We miss his humor, his passion, and his quirks, and are grateful every day for the company he created and believed in.

To honor his legacy in one small way, we established a grant to invest in the arts in the Missoula community—a space where Michael was a beloved and influential member. We were thrilled to issue the first grant to the Missoula Writing Collaborative. 

Michael lived with Stage 4 metastatic colorectal cancer for six years. He was open about his diagnosis in hopes it might spark others to get colonoscopies. He observed, “It seems to me that there is a stigma attached to colorectal cancer because it involves unsexy body parts like our colon or rectum, plus lots of talk around stools. But being shy about it, has, in my opinion, gotten a lot of people unnecessarily killed."

So also in his honor, we’d like to remind you, in his words: 

I’m hopeful that if you’re reading this and have any symptoms such as weight loss, bloody stools, fatigue or bloating, you’ll get a colonoscopy ASAP.

Michael Fitzgerald, Submittable Co-Founder and former CEO

Thanks for building something special, Michael.

Onward and upward

Whether you’re a customer, partner, practitioner or just visiting, thanks for taking the time to celebrate all the good that the Submittable community accomplished in the past year. 

We hope you read on to learn more about where we think the social good sector is heading in chapters 2-4, and how we’re preparing to support our customers to be leaders in what comes next in chapter 5.

Next up, our insights on the future of CSR.

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