Processing Hardware Grants

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Hardware Grant applications are submitted to us via a form on our web site. Submitted applications appear in our RT system, where we evaluate whether or not we can fill the grant. This system has been made as intuitive as possible, but it's important to understand the stages of the process and how an application's flow between those stages can be controlled.

What is RT?

The RT system (short for Request Tracker) is a general-purpose system used to log and sort individual issues, such as a grant applications, that need to be tracked and responded to. This system is based around the concept of a “ticket.” Each ticket is an individual record created for a request to be addressed. Tickets are sorted and grouped in a number of ways and the RT system can employ logical queries to filter tickets according to the type of issue, priorities, and pretty much any other information contained within the tickets themselves. Hardware Grant applications are tracked from start to finish using RT, and we have created a custom Grant Processing dashboard within RT to streamline the process. During your orientation you will be given an account and credentials to log into our RT system at

The Grants Processing Dashboard

After logging in to RT you will arrive at your default home page, which will look similar to the screenshot below. Most of what you see on this page won't be useful to you; the RT system serves many functions in Free Geek and by default your home page will not contain anything specialized to Hardware Grants.

RT Home

Move your cursor over the Home link at the top left corner of the page and select Grants - Processing from the menu that appears. Note that there is also a Grants - Production dashboard, though you will generally not need to refer to it.

Grant Processing Dashboard Link

The Grant Processing dashboard that you see now will be the starting point for just about everything you do as part of the Hardware Grants program.

Grant Processing Dashboard

Understanding the Dashboard Categories

The Grants Processing Dashboard lists all grant applications we have received and are currently processing, with different categories for different stages of the process or special conditions.


The Incoming category lists all applications that have been submitted to us but no action has been taken on them yet. Upon taking action on a ticket such as approving the grant or requesting additional information from the applicant the ticket's status will be advanced to a further stage of the process.

An application appears in the Incoming list so long as its ticket status is set to "New".


The Verification category lists all applications that we have reviewed and taken some action on, but have not been approved. Typically this is when the application did not contain enough information and we have sent a reply asking for additional details on the organization to determine if they qualify for a grant or clarification of what hardware they are requesting from us (e.g. if they asked for "2 computers" and we want to determine if they meant desktops or laptops).

An application will remain in the Verification category so long as its ticket status is "Open" but it's GrantStatus has not been set to "Approved" or "Rejected".


The Warning category lists any tickets that have incongruous details. Examples of this would be:

  • The grant request was marked as rejected but the ticket status is still set to 'Open'.
  • The grant request has been marked as approved but details on what has been requested have not been filled in.
  • The grant request has been marked as ready to be picked up but there are still requested items that have not been marked as ready.

In any of these conditions (and some others) the RT system can't determine which of the other categories the application belongs in. If you see a ticket in the Warning category please open it up and try to determine what details are missing or incorrect.

Special Cases

The Special Cases category is exactly what it sounds like. We have specific procedures or verification processes for grant requests from certain organizations that will need to be handled by the staff Grants Coordinator and should be tagged as a special case to exclude them from the regular flow. In other cases the grant may simply warrant special attention, or a particular individual may want to take "ownership" of that grant and personally handle it's entire process. Unless you have taken ownership or been assigned responsibility for a particular Special Case ticket you can generally ignore them.

An application appears in Special Cases so long as its ticket's SpecialCase is set to "Yes" and its ticket status has not been set to "Resolved" or "Rejected".


The Production category lists applications that have been approved and marked as requiring desktops, laptops, macs, or servers. These applications are now also being displayed on the Grants - Production dashboard mentioned earlier, which is referred to by staff in the Production department. When they have prepared all the requested hardware they will update the ticket details to indicate that the request has been filled.

An application appears in the Production category so long as it's ticket status is "Open", has a GrantStatus of "Approved", and a quantity listed in SystemsNeeded, LaptopsNeeded, MacsNeeded, or ServersNeeded but does not have the matching SystemsReady, LaptopsReady, MacsReady, or ServersReady set to "Yes".


The Gathering category lists applications for which all necessary production has been completed, or for which production of new systems was not necessary. When an application is in the Gathering category it is time to review the request and verify that we have all the requested materials available.

An application appears in the Gathering category under the same conditions it would appear in Production but any quantity listed in SystemsNeeded, LaptopsNeeded, MacsNeeded, or ServersNeeded has the matching SystemsReady, LaptopsReady, MacsReady, or ServersReady set to "Yes".


The Ready category lists grants for which all the requested hardware has been prepared and is ready to be picked up. All that's left to do is contact the requestor, schedule a time for them to come pick up the equipment, and disburse the grant when they arrive.

An application appears in the Ready category when any quantity listed in SystemsNeeded, LaptopsNeeded, MacsNeeded, or ServersNeeded has the matching SystemsReady, LaptopsReady, MacsReady, or ServersReady set to "Yes" and the ticket status is "Contact" or "Pending".

Evaluating and Fulfilling Grants

Our system for processing grants is based around the idea that anyone should be able to advance a grant closer to completion at any time. The instructions provided below explain the various steps in the order they will be performed through the life cycle of an individual application, but depending on the current status of any outstanding grant requests you may only perform one or two steps for any particular ticket or you may perform the same step repeatedly for multiple tickets. Use the information on when an application was submitted or last worked on as indicated on the dashboard and use your best judgement to prioritize what actions to take.

Evaluating New Applications

Through the process of evaluating a new application you will also be introduced to the basics of navigating and manipulating tickets in the RT system. Please read this section in it's entirety and refer back to it when you need guidance on performing similar tasks during other stages of the process.

Open the oldest ticket (top of the list) in the Incoming category by clicking on the ticket number or application name. The details listed at the top of the ticket will likely be mostly empty.

Ticket View

Scroll down to the first comment on the ticket, which will contain the application details that were submitted when the online application was submitted.

An Application

Review the application details, referring to How_to_approve/deny_grants to determine if the grant should be approved. When you locate information on the organization's non-profit status, or if you locate any additional relevant information on the organization or the applicant, you will add it to the ticket as a comment. Move your cursor over the Actions link at the top right corner of the page and select Comment from the menu that appears.

Comment Link

Enter any useful information you've found into the text field that appears to the left. Any registration information you've located for the organization should be directly copied and pasted into this field. Click the Update Ticket button to add your comment to the ticket.

Comment View

After making your determination, or if you are unable to make a determination without additional information, you will need to send a reply to the applicant. Click on the Reply link at the top right corner of the original comment that contains the application. When replying to additional correspondence in the future use the Reply link at the top right corner of the comment or message to which you are responding so that the previous correspondence is properly quoted.

Reply Link

The Reply page is essentially the same as the comment page, and whether the entered text is treated as a Comment or Reply can even be modified by changing the Update Type drop-down in the Ticket and Transaction panel to the right. When the entered text is going to be treated as a Reply the text field will be tinted red to remind you that anything entered here will be emailed to the requestor. Enter your reply above the quoted text of the application in the text field. Refer to Hardware_Grants_Responses for guidance on how to reply. The content of the red-tinted text field will be sent as an email to the requestor when you click on the Update Ticket button.

Reply View

Once you have informed the applicant of the decision you also need to update the ticket details. If you have not reached a decision and have requested additional information you may still want to update some details of the ticket. Scroll to the top of the ticket and click on the Basics link.

Basics Link

All those previously-empty details at the top of the ticket are now available here as editable fields to be filled.

Basics View

When approving a grant you will need to do the following:

  • Confirm that the Status of the ticket is Open. It should have been set as such when you sent a reply, so double-check that the reply was properly submitted if the ticket status is still New.
  • Set the GrantStatus to Approved.
  • Set SpecialCase to Yes if you have been instructed to do so or if the grant is for an organization we have a special approval process for.
  • DO NOT specify a NeededBy date unless the application has indicated a firm deadline (such as a special event the hardware is needed for) and you have reason to believe the grant would not be filled in time if it is processed in turn (grant requests are typically produced by order of application date).
  • Set the FG-PDX Eligibilty. If the organization's provided address is within the city of Portland the grant will be FG-PDX, otherwise select Not FG-PDX.
  • Enter the number of SystemsNeeded (desktop systems), LaptopsNeeded, ServersNeeded, and MacsNeeded.
  • DO NOT set LaptopsReady, ServersReady, or MacsReady as these fields are used by Production to indicate when the requested hardware has been prepared.
  • If the SystemsNeeded amount is 3 or less and there are no special requests for system specifications you can set SystemsReady to Yes. We should always have that many spare desktops on hand and no special production will be needed.
  • Fill in the SystemsNotes, LaptopsNotes, ServersNotes, and MacsNotes as appropriate if any particular specifications were included in the grant request.
  • Fill in AdditionalNeeded with anything else that was requested, such as monitors, printers, or networking devices.
  • Click the Save Changes button at the bottom right corner of the page to save the entered details.

When denying a grant you will need to do the following:

  • Set the Status of the ticket to Rejected.
  • Set the GrantStatus to Denied.
  • Click the Save Changes button at the bottom right corner of the page to save the entered details.

When requesting additional information:

  • If you believe the grant will ultimately be approved you can fill in all the same details you would when approving a grant, excepting the following two points:
    • GrantStatus should be set to Requested instead of Approved.
    • Do not set SystemsReady to Yes for requests of 3 or fewer systems.
  • Click the Save Changes button at the bottom right corner of the page to save the entered details.

Reviewing Tickets Needing Verification

Every ticket in the Verification category should be checked regularly to see if further action can be taken. Review the comments on the ticket and check if there has been any reply from the applicant since the request for additional information. If additional information has been provided then re-evaluate the grant as instructed in How_to_approve/deny_grants with the new information taken into consideration. Proceed as instructed for the situation in #Evaluating New Applications above, making sure to update any of the fields on the Basics page as indicated by the new information.

Gathering Approved Grant Hardware

A ticket appears in the Gathering category when all of the computer hardware that needed to be produced for this grant is ready. Desktops, laptops, servers, and macs should already have been tagged with the application's ticket number and be waiting on the appropriate shelves. Make a list of what is needed and go confirm with your own eyes that the everything is ready. You will need to tag any additional items (i.e. monitors, printers, network devices) with the grant's ticket number yourself. Simple and common items that we are unlikely to run out of (e.g. power cables, mice, and keyboards) usually do not need to be tagged, but if the request includes a large number of them (10 or more) you may want to place them in a marked box to be stored near the rest of the grant. Once you have confirmed that all the requested equipment is ready and tagged you should add a comment to the ticket indicating as much and also change the ticket status to Contact.

Scheduling Disbursement of Ready Grants

When all the requested equipment for a grant has been gathered it is time to schedule the disbursement. Send a reply to the recipient to arrange a time when you or another grant volunteer will be available to disburse their grant (refer to Hardware_Grants_Responses). Once you have received a reply and confirmed a time for the disbursement be sure to add it to the Hardware Grants calendar.