Client Story

Rotary International

Multilingual access and seamless integrations for Rotary International.

Rotary International

Client since

2012

Type of giving

International Grants and scholarships

Current platform

SmartSimple Platform 3

Previous platform

Custom in-house built system

Key challenges

  • Old custom-built system unable to keep pace with Rotary’s complex, global requirements
  • Slow and clunky system performance

Gen3 Impact

  • Built a system that supports Rotary’s global grantmaking, supporting 8 different languages
  • Improved system performance and reduced page load time by 89%
  • Integration built with Rotary’s enterprise software

At a glance

Rotary International built their custom system in-house in conjunction with an overhaul of their granting model. The idea was to build them in tandem so that the system would do exactly what they needed to manage their grant program. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to make system modifications and keep pace with process changes. Realizing they needed some assistance, they put out an RFP to search out a solution.

Some of the requirements that needed to be met included the ability to function in multiple languages and integrate with their other enterprise software. They chose SmartSimple for the limitless configurability and ability to meet every one of their requirements, while offering several other process improvements. And, with the assistance of Gen3, they now have the fully integrated grants management solution that meets their broad and ever changing needs.

About Rotary International

Rotary International is a global community network of 1.2 million members — with nearly 320,000 in the US alone — working from more than 35,000 clubs around the world. Their goal is a planet where all people unite and take action to create lasting change. They currently administer 30,000 service projects, and their volunteers work in excess of 24 million hours per year.

An Indian mother with infant

Rotary members believe in a shared responsibility to take action on the world’s most persistent issues, including:

  • Promoting peace
  • Fighting and preventing disease
  • Clean water, sanitation, and hygiene
  • Equal rights for mothers and their children
  • Education
  • Growing local economies


In 2017, more than 8,000 students became global citizens through the Rotary Youth Exchange, 400 million children were immunized against polio, and Rotarians built a 36,000-liter rainwater harvesting system to serve communities in Papua New Guinea. Overall, Rotary manages funds in 29 currencies to provide life-changing and sustainable grants, programs, and services.

Indian woman treating baby as mother looks on
Brent Drage

“Our relationship with Gen3 is completely unique. We’re always pushing the envelope, seeing what else the platform can do.”

Brent Drage, Product Owner, Grant Center,
Rotary International

The evolution of an international grants management solution

“We figured we’d start working on a new system and pilot a new granting process at the same time,” says Brent Drage, Product Owner, Grants. “The problem was, the system we were trying to build couldn’t keep up with program changes we were making. We found we were modifying things constantly as the pilot progressed. It was like trying to build a plane while we were in flight.”

Two women talking across a table
Men working on a construction site

It became incredibly difficult for the in-house team to keep pace with all the changes being requested. “The whole reason for conducting the pilot was to figure out exactly what we needed in a new grants management system,” continues Brent. “That said, we knew there was no way we’d find anything that would work for us right out of the box. We required something configured to meet our specific needs.”

We knew there was no way we’d find anything that would work for us right out of the box. We required something configured to meet our specific needs.

Brent Drage, Product Owner, Grant Center,
Rotary International

A mother and infant shopping at a market
Photo of 4 women looking at camera

The quest for a configurable grants management solution

The team decided to put out an RFP and look for a grants management platform that could handle all the complexity Rotary needed to manage their vast array of international giving programs. “The biggest challenge we knew we’d likely face was finding something that could do all we needed, and accommodate the 8 languages we operate in,” adds Brent.

After reviewing a shortlist of potential software vendors, Rotary found the SmartSimple platform to be the most capable to handle their unique requirements.

Woman counsellor and girl playing
A little girl drinking water from a faucet

Gen3 played a significant role with Rotary from the start, and they continue to assist them today with system enhancements. “Gen3 has continually done a great job for us, jumping in to help us, figuring out what we need and coming up with unique solutions that only they can provide,” says Brent.

“The ability to translate our granting into different languages was a critical component that Gen3 was able to configure for us.”

Brent Drage, Product Owner, Grant Center,
Rotary International

3 gardeners smiling at camera
A boy woodworking with a drill

“The ability to translate our granting into different languages was a critical component that Gen3 was able to configure for us.” continues Stephen. “Gen3 also helped us to seamlessly integrate with our accounting, and content relationship management (CRM) software.”

“Our relationship with Gen3 is completely unique,” adds Brent. “We’re always pushing the envelope, seeing what else the platform can do. Gen3 is always able to work through our requests and solve our problems. The system consistently meets our needs and adapts to any changes we want to make.”

Children going to school
A group of youths looking at the camera

“Gen3 is always able to work through our requests and solve our problems. The system consistently meets our needs and adapts to any changes we want to make.”

Brent Drage, Product Owner, Grant Center,
Rotary International

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