Case Study

Seisma provides 'unheard of' grant management system for Bushfire Recovery Victoria

November 8, 2021

Grant management system implemented in 8 weeks to distribute $78M+

Bushfire Recovery Victoria


The devastating 2019–20 Victorian bushfires tragically took many lives, isolated thousands and destroyed communities. When Bushfire Recovery Victoria (BRV) was established by the Victorian Government to help the recovery, investing over $78M delivered through a number of grant programs, there was no time to waste.

The Eastern Victorian bushfires burned over many months, occurred alongside bushfires across the country and spanned over 1.5 million hectares, causing far-reaching devastation for local communities, cultural heritage, wildlife, infrastructure and business. Key regional industries such as agriculture, tourism, forestry and retail were severely affected.

As part of the State Recovery Plan, the Victorian Government allocated over $78 million for investment towards vital region-wide projects to help communities rebuild and recover. BRV was tasked with deploying a major grants program to rapidly, accurately and fairly distribute much-needed funds.  While urgency was critical, in a highly regulated environment, there was no room for compromise on quality, security, compliance or transparency.

Here's something we prepared earlier

Having worked closely with Seisma and Salesforce on a previous grants management platform, BRV proposed a dynamic collaborative approach to achieve their objectives. Fortunately — based on years of public  sector and program management experience — Seisma had already developed a grant management solution called Program360, built on the Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) platform. On top of the world-class CRM tools, Program360 has specialised end-to-end grants management functionality built in, including a community portal, application form builder, approval processes, workflows, reporting, contract management and collaboration tools.

Mayur Rohatgi, Project Manager at Seisma, explains the thinking:

“Rather than reinvent the wheel for each program, over many projects we’ve found that the core functionality of grant management is consistent, so we’ve rolled the best practice functionality into Program360. This dramatically accelerates development time while delivering road-tested quality.”

Discovery to implementation in 8 weeks

With the clock ticking, Adam Gemmel, BRV’s Manager of Business Operations, led a discovery and design session to define the requirements.

“Given their extensive grants experience,  Seisma already understood what we  needed and knew what works. With Program360 we already had 80-90% of the core functionality, so we only had to make small customisations specific to our needs.” The project jumped quickly into the

implementation stage which included:

  • Installation and configuration
  • Integrations, data migration and analytics
  • Business enablement, training and communications
  • Go-live and ongoing support
“Building a system like this from scratch would typically take 6-8 months to scope and execute. Moving from discovery to launch in 8 weeks is unheard of!
"It was a smooth partnership with Seisma and Salesforce. We collaborated closely, made fast decisions and kept the goals of the grant top of mind,” said Gemmel.

Getting funds where they are needed, fast

Leveraging trusted local networks on the ground, the program focuses on distributing funds to eligible local Government authorities, community groups and not-for-profit organisations that understand exactly where the needs are greatest. Designed to help communities bounce back, the grants fund a diverse range of projects including roads, housing, infrastructure, forest regeneration, parklands, Aboriginal community support, legal assistance, financial counselling, health, education and more.

“Victorians are very thankful for the Government investment in rebuilding their communities. At a time that is already overwhelming, we need to make the process as easy as possible so the funds are available quickly,” continued Gemmel.

With the the new system up and running BRV

could move fast on achieving its goals:

  • Streamlined digital processes means critical funding reaches communities quickly
  • Pre-built templates and business rules make it easy to assess, approve and track funds
  • User-friendly community portal lets those in need find funding, understand the requirements and apply all in one place
  • Grant managers have a centralised view across programs, budgets, criteria, verification and applicants for informed due diligence and reporting
“This solution is easy for both applicants and our staff. Applying and reporting is as streamlined as possible, so that recipient organisations can focus on helping their communities rather than filling in forms.”
“And by automating report submission and analytics internally, we can efficiently track funds, ensure they are being used as specified and report to the government.”

Built on Salesforce Lightning and combining the best of Seisma Program360 and Salesforce Grants Management, BRV has upgraded to the latest in speed, user interface and functionality across mobile, tablet and desktop.

Built to endure fires, storms and floods

While the fire recovery journey is progressing, there is still a long way to go. More recently, BRV has also been tasked with supporting the clean-up and recovery work for communities impacted by the storms and floods in 2021.

“While we got this program up and running fast, there was no sacrifice in quality. We now have a long-term grants management solution for the challenges ahead. I have already recommended this system to my Government colleagues in other departments.”
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