As an organization using Submittable to collect submissions, it's important to maintain effective and efficient communication with your submitters throughout the submission lifecycle. We often receive support requests from submitters who aren't sure how to reach the organizations that they've submitted work to - or are hoping to submit to - and who have questions that only organizations will be able to answer. While we're able to help submitters with any technical aspects of setting up an account and making submissions, we've found it's extremely helpful for organizations to make themselves available for important communications that can't be answered by Submittable's technical support.
When submitters ask us questions that we're unable to answer (such as those around eligibility, guidelines, etc.), we suggest either messaging organizations directly through the Submittable platform, or - if Messaging is not enabled - searching for contact information on an organization's website. This can be confusing and doesn't always result in finding the correct contact.
Below please find our suggestions for optimizing communications between you and your submitters.
Enable Submittable's internal Messaging feature. This will allow a submitter to send messages directly to your site administrator's email from within the platform. With Messaging, submitters and organizations alike have a means of communicating with each other that is conveniently tracked within Submittable. Submitters can either initiate or respond to a message. Any message initiated by a submitter will automatically be sent to the organization's main account email address. The messaging feature ties all correspondence to a particular submission, keeping it well organized for both organizations and submitters.
Note: If your organization doesn't want to enable in-platform messaging, we strongly suggest including a contact email in your individual form guidelines, so that submitters can get in touch with the appropriate person at your organization to ask any questions that Submittable's support team may not be able to adequately answer.
Make sure your form guidelines are as clear and thorough as possible. The more clear and comprehensive your guidelines are, the fewer questions your submitters and potential submitters will have. We recommend making sure that all information regarding your submission requirements (e.g. formatting rules, deadlines) matches any related information included on your organization's website. Submitters will often check an organization's website, in addition to reading guidelines on the Submittable platform. If there are discrepancies, they may try to get in touch to determine which guidelines they should follow.
Enable the Edit Request feature. Submitters will often attempt to get in touch with organizations after completing a submission because they have made an error on their submission, or would like to otherwise change something about the completed submission. We strongly recommend enabling this feature, provided it doesn't interfere with your editorial process. Allowing submitters to request edits provides an efficient way for submitters to make simple - often necessary - changes without much more than a single click for administrators. If organizations do not enable the Edit Request feature, submitters will likely contact organizations outside of the Submittable platform to ask about edits, which takes unnecessary time for submitters and organizations alike, as well as creates unwanted email inbox clutter.
Keep submission statuses current, and make clear when you expect submitters to know outcomes. Often submitters want to get in touch with organizations to know why their submission status has not changed, despite an indication in an organization's guidelines that the results of a call will be announced by a particular date. If your organization has any unexpected delays in a posted response time, we suggest announcing a delay in your Submittable form guidelines, messaging your submitters en masse, and posting information about timing changes on your organization's website. We also encourage you to use the Submittable platform to complete the lifecycle of the submission by putting submissions into a terminal status (Accepted, Declined, or Completed) once decisions have been made. We frequently hear from submitters who are frustrated because a submission's status remains "In-Progress" status even after they know that an organization's process is complete. Changing statuses attentively helps submitters keep their submissions list up-to-date, and encourages future submissions as well. Keeping submitters well-informed about the status of their submitted work is also a great way to proactively reduce the number of inquiries you receive about outcomes.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to us in support to discuss these or any other ways to best optimize communications with your submitters. We're always happy to help you have the best experience with Submittable.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.