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50 Best Companies to Watch 2021

Geoff Hamilton, Founder and CEO of ZoomGrants™, Speaks to The Silicon Review: ‘We’re an Online Application Management Platform for Grantmakers and Scholarship Providers on a Mission to Make Application Management Professionals’ Jobs Easier, Better Organized, and Cost-Effective’

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“Our company was established with an eye on executing on the fundamentals of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the triple bottom line of People, Planet, and Prosperity. A sustainable mission in concentrating on CSR principles has been an ideal blueprint for us.”

The full grant management lifecycle from pre-award planning to final reporting can be daunting at first, especially for organizations that are just getting started on a new program. But with the right tools and process in place, you can run an efficient program that achieves your mission and maintains your sanity.

As a leading web-based application grant management software developer, ZoomGrants™, provides robust yet user-friendly, dynamic yet affordable software that makes the application process easier, smarter, better organized, more cost-effective, and can be used from practically anywhere.

The company was founded in the year 2002 and is headquartered in Colorado.

In Conversation with Geoff Hamilton, Founder and CEO of ZoomGrants™

Q. What inspired you to start ZoomGrants™? Was there any prior experience that led to the establishment of the company?

What started as a tool for streamlining the non-profit organization I was working for early in my career turned into establishing a leading application management system. Part of my job was to comb through mountains of binders with countless pages to evaluate potential grant recipients. This is when I recognized an opportunity to take that same process online and use it as a grant administrator. That fortuitous decision led to a technology platform used by hundreds of organizations and serving over a million applicants, to date.

Delineate a short overview of the services your company offers.

ZoomGrants™ is a web-based online application management system that helps with grants, scholarships, and organizations collecting applications. The company serves local government, non-profit entities, foundations, schools, associations, and any organization that receives applications. We allow administrators to streamline the management by but not limited to—collecting applications, review applicants, distribute awards and store all the important documentation needed for compliance and good governance.

Brief us about the journey so far.

The acceptance of managing grants, scholarships, and applications online in the company’s early days was a bit of a challenge. A paper-based application was the norm, and change sometimes comes slowly. ZoomGrants™ has seen philanthropic organizations, government entities, associations, and educational institutions start to realize that online application management has some very tangible administrative and cost benefits.

Q. Let’s talk about hurdles. Were there any that you had to overcome during the initial days?

As previously mentioned, sheer acceptance of changing from paper to online was a challenge. Then there was brand recognition. As more and more software developers started creating grant management systems, we had to implement a marketing strategy to help articulate our technology and service quality. On the technology side, we have great customer retention, and the expectations of grant administrators weren’t simply met but exceeded in helping them streamline their process. However, I knew the company needed to separate itself from the competition’s clutter as more companies were jumping into the grant management space. We established a comprehensive branding and marketing strategy to be more than great technology and support. Our vision was to be viewed as a valuable resource in the industry and as ‘trusted advisors’. For over a decade, we have published and re-published the latest news affecting the target market. Our highly qualified staff has written articles for associations and organizations, regularly speaks at conferences, and hosts webinars.

Q. ZoomGrants™ is an intuitive, web-based Application Management System that makes the application process easier, smarter, better organized, and cost-effective. How uniquely do you address your customers’ pain points per this?

We have hired grant administrators to be a part of the team. When clients and users ask about coming and working for a company, it may be the greatest compliment for any organization. Many members of our staff have sat in the same seat as its customers and have understood the unique pain points that a grant administrator experiences every day. The other strength in serving customers is to listen and adopt ideas from clients’ respective needs. A significant amount of ZoomGrants™ features have been developed from invaluable users’ feedback.

Q. ZoomGrants™ is known for providing the best customer service in the online Grant and Scholarship industries. An incredible feat, I must say. How have you managed to do that? And what are you doing to stay ahead of the curve or continue to stay?

We are incredibly proud of our customer service. The company tagline is “Great Technology is a Given. Exceptional Service is our Promise.” This uncompromising focus is driven by my team across all departments and me. The customer service staff is not only available to help users through the process but has also created countless videos as well as ZoomGrants™ University (ZGU) with online help tools. The staff even includes a videographer to help craft some of the most informative online education resources in the industry.

Q. What are the key factors that determine your company’s success? Share an overview.

Sustained growth is a key factor to our success. Growth equals increased revenues, but sustainable growth only comes as we continue to satisfy our current clientele and build off that foundation of subscription-based users. As a company, ZoomGrants™ cannot rest on the laurels of past success; therefore, we seek to continually improve the technology and various customer support tools.

Q. Briefly walk us through your plans. Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

The company was established with an eye on executing on the fundamentals of CSR and the triple bottom line of People, Planet, and Prosperity. A sustainable mission in concentrating on CSR principles has been an ideal blueprint for ZoomGrants™ to serve the grant and scholarship industries. To help make application management professionals’ jobs easier, better organized, and cost-effective has been a clear mission for nearly two decades. For us, moving forward is to remain CSR-centric, stay consistent with the values of great technology, offer extraordinary customer service, and be viewed as trusted advisors for our customers. This strategy has helped us enjoy explosive growth, particularly over the last half a dozen years. In the next couple of years, ZoomGrants™ should see an even greater acceleration in users, new verticals for online application management, and revenues. This combination will give us more opportunities to serve the causes of our respective clients.

The Compassionate Leader Behind the Prosperity of ZoomGrants™        

Geoff Hamilton, Founder, serves as the CEO of ZoomGrants™. He was at a crossroads early in his career in deciding to choose between venture capital and philanthropy. He chose the latter because of the long-range benefits to society that focused on CSR principles. ZoomGrants™ was an idea cultivated by Mr. Hamilton in the Morgan Library at Colorado State University in 2002.

Today that desire to make a difference in the world has led to supporting programs such as CARES Act related grants, HUD Community Development & Planning Grants, Community Development Block Grants, HOME Investment Partnerships Grants, Emergency Solutions Grants, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Grants, Continuum of Care (CoC), and other grants providing assistance to persons experiencing homelessness, including Arts Grants, Education/Early Learning Grants, Tourism Grants, Cultural/Heritage Grants, Transit & Transportation Grants, Owner-occupied Housing Rehabilitation Programs, Multi-Family Tax Exemption Programs, Victim Justice/Law Enforcement Grants, Low-income Housing Tax Credit Applications, Housing Trust Fund Applications, Global Health Research Grants, Affordable Housing Programs, State Housing Initiatives Partnership Programs, Lead-based Paint Hazard Reduction Grants, Behavior Health Facilities Grants, Public Works Grants, Fire Safety Grants, Student Scholarship Travel and Research Grants, and Charitable Foundation Grants.

Mr. Hamilton received a Master of Business Administration from Colorado State University (CSU) and a B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science from CSU.

“For us, moving forward is to remain CSR-centric, stay consistent with the values of great technology, offer extraordinary customer service, and be viewed as trusted advisors for our customers.”