The Soapbox and Toolbox for New York State's Nonprofits

October 14, 2014

NYCON Poll Results Released: NYS Grants Gateway Analysis

The September 30th deadline for Grants Gateway submissions passed swiftly last month. Nonprofits across the state have struggled through the new grants pre-qualification process, with many still wrestling to become compliant with both the Gateway standards and recently changed Nonprofit Corporate law. To gain a better understanding of the current state of nonprofits in the Gateway system and learn how many nonprofits are really pre-qualified, NYCON created a NYS Grants Gateway Poll to survey members. This short survey compromised of questions addressing how long approval for submission was taking, if nonprofits felt they would be pre-approved by the September 30th deadline, and if not the reasons as to why. Trending results can be found below:

  • More than half of survey respondents were approved by the September 30th deadline
  • Most were approved within a week of their submission or re-submission
  • Those indicating they would be unlikely to be approved by the deadline provided reasons such as:
      • Next scheduled Board meeting, needed for approval of policies and procedures, was after September 30th
      • Missing documentation or not knowing where to find needed documents
      • Not fully understanding what was still needed to submit to be compliant
      • Technical issues with uploading documents
      • Unaware until recently to re-submit for Nonprofit Revitalization Act compliancy

However, the most valuable information found was within the comments/feedback section of the survey. Although many reported being compliant by the deadline, the process in which they became pre-qualified was arduous and incredibly difficult. The question of whether nonprofits are submitting or stating they have policies and procedures which are truly compliant still reamins. The Gateway has recognized many are still not prequalified, and are not penalizing  those passed the deadline, however if nonprofits are not prequalified and intend on editing their vault in the future they are required to have all of the requested documentation.

NYCON believes that with the formation of the new Nonprofit Coordinating Unit, a unit within the Division of Budget and working with NYS Nonprofit Liaison Fran Barrett, this will help ease issues within the Gateway. NYCON is also advocating for the Governor to sign legislation that will extend until the end of the year your time to document compliance with the Nonprofit Revitalization Act.

Check out the Commentary from NYCON’s Grants Gateway Poll:

  • "System is very cumbersome if you go to change anything.  When applying for grants the state seems to forget about grants gateway and makes you submit the same items to them.  Help desk staff was extremely friendly, helpful and accommodating."
  • "Getting the Board of Directors together to vote on bylaw changes, etc. is virtually impossible at this time of year.  September 30th is an unreasonable deadline"
  • "The Grants Gateway has technical problems and the user is often referred to complete a webinar which is not always useful. ED's and non-profit staff are very busy and its time consuming to deal with a system that does not work.  It would be helpful if documents could be submitted directly as a pdf format to the state and they can put the electronic documents where they belong.   Employment applications are submitted on line whereby people upload transcripts, cover letters, resumes, etc. with less complication than NYS Grants Gateway system."
  • "The delay in Gateway approval in FY 2013/2014 meant that we received our NYSCA multi-year grant in FY 2014/2015. For an organization of our size to have to front $25,000 is crippling to say the least.  We had to let a staff member go in order to make up for the deficit.   In addition, the amount of paperwork that we were required to create for the Gateway (especially around Board compliance documents) might be useful and necessary for ultra-large, multi-million dollar nonprofits, but for smaller ones, the administrative requirements are really challenging."
  • "The Grants Gateway is very technical and tricky to navigate. It is a bit of a hardship on smaller not-for-profits like ours, where there is not a separate development staff. I realize in time it will get easier, but for now, both the Grants Gateway and the CDP filing are a time drain, which takes away from finding additional funding."
  • "The whole process is very lengthy and time consuming.  Requirements are above and beyond what a small to mid-size organization has ever been required to have in place, or might ever need.  As a small non-profit with only 3 employees, it took one of us away from our mission and purpose for a considerable amount of time."
  • "Grants Gateway has been a long and drawn out process for us, possibly b/c we have a weird fiscal year but if the IRS and the Charities Bureau accept our required filings all these years, the Gateway should reflect that.  Instead, we've had multiple people from state agencies telling us we're not in compliance when we believe they themselves don't understand the filings processes.  We are a 40 year old organization and I've been doing this work for 20 years.  The Nonprofit Revitalization Act, with all the new policy requirements and disclosures just upped the ante for all of us, in terms of professional expertise required and more regulations.  I hope that it works going forward."
  • "We were approved and then not approved as some docs expired and then approved again.  The approvals are fairly quick after submittal as long as you have added all the docs that they needed.  We had to add some policies which took some time.   Sometimes the responses back on what is wrong are not easily figured out."
  • "At this time our Document Vault is locked due to review of recently submitted.  It has been locked since 8/21/14.  I was told by our Executive Director that our reviewer will no longer be in her position.  This obviously slows things down."
  • "Many people file extensions for their returns and need additional time to submit the returns to the Gateway."

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NYCON develops and promotes an effective and vibrant charitable nonprofit community throughout New York State.  We strengthen organizational capacity, act as an advocate and unifying voice, help to inform philanthropic giving, and conduct research and planning to demonstrate relevance and impact.