MeHAF has gone paperless!
Or at least our Discretionary Grants have. We've got to start somewhere, right?
Over the last few years, Cathy Luce, MeHAF's Grants Manager, has worked tirelessly to implement our online application and online review processes. Yet, even while we were joining the modern world with one part of our system, there was another part that was clearly stuck in the dark ages: our filing system. We have several large (and I mean large) filing cabinets holding years worth of grant files scattered around the MeHAF office, not to mention our storage archives, which I've never seen, but am convinced are in some secret location deep under a mountain somewhere.
Needless to say, we are practically buried in paper. Why so much paper? Mostly due to requirements by the IRS and our auditors, but also because until Cathy got our online process up and running, paper was the only way to record and save information from our grant programs.
So last year, after Cathy and I worked together to develop the online review for Discretionary Grants and Meeting Support applications, it occurred to me: why aren't we paperless? I think there are some very good reasons why other programs at the Foundation can't go paperless yet, although I think they're mostly due to an attachment to hanging folders. But, as the administrator for the Discretionary Grants program, I do not have any kind of attachment to hanging folders, filing cabinets or paper clutter and decided we should be brave and make the leap towards at least one paperless program.
After some planning about our process and a few emails back and forth with our attorney about possible IRS implications, we had the green light from the powers that be. So far in January we have successfully received, reviewed and approved two applications for Meeting Support - and I haven't printed one scrap of paper!* I'm hopeful this will lead to more paperless programs at MeHAF and I'm looking forward to those piles on my desk starting to disappear in 2012. Hooray for progress!
*That's not entirely true. I forgot about the new paperless process and instinctively printed everything and created a folder for the first application we received in 2012...oops.