OpenWater Pricing, Features, Reviews & Comparison of Alternatives


virtual conference platform, application and review platform

4.76/5 (41 reviews)

OpenWater overview

What is OpenWater?

OpenWater is a secure cloud-based platform for virtual events and application and review programs such as awards, abstracts, scholarships, and more. We are your home for both a virtual conference and the abstract collection process.

Deliver attendees an easy to navigate home for your virtual conference or annual meeting. Accelerate deep niche based networking through our chat tools, and sell more sponsorship revenue with the help of our platform's sponsorship prospectus.


Pricing options
Value for money
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Business size



United States, Canada

Supported languages

OpenWater screenshot: The OpenWater admin panel presents a comprehensive overview of the entire grant application, review, and selection processOpenWater All-In-One SoftwareOpenWater screenshot: Build an attractive awards site which is optimized for any device OpenWater screenshot: The awards management system lets users automatically create galleries of entries and winning submissionsOpenWater screenshot: Turn every stage of the awards program into a revenue source and view results via the revenue engineOpenWater screenshot: OpenWater clients use customizable forms which can include extended functionality using back-end integration toolsOpenWater screenshot: OpenWater allows applicants to apply for a grant through a custom branded website built for applicantsOpenWater screenshot: Build schedules and see speaker conflicts right awayOpenWater screenshot: Encourage fellow applications by using a branded websiteOpenWater screenshot: Administrators can view the entire fellowship nomination and award process in one dashboardOpenWater screenshot: The abstract submission site helps manage judges and reviewers across multiple rounds, as well as organize papers and announce accepted ideasOpenWater screenshot: Have session chairs build their sessions from a centralized placeOpenWater Awards

OpenWater user reviews


Very good

Value for money
Ease of use
Customer support
Leo Baryudin

Great service and even better support.

Used daily for 2+ years
Reviewed 2018-05-02
Review Source: Capterra

It reduces the amount of time and effort it takes to run a program and extract the data collected.

It is extremely configurable and the company is very responsive to the needs of the customer. They have added features and functionalities that were not available so that they could suit our needs.

Some of the native reporting features could use improvement but were created for us at our request. It would be nice to be able to duplicate entries from a 2 step program into a 1 step program.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Customer support

Likelihood to recommend: 10/10

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Taunie Kubena

A very adaptable solution.

Used occasionally for 1-2 years
Reviewed 2019-10-04
Review Source: Capterra

We weren't actively looking for a contest management solution but a Sales representative reached out to gauge our interest in OpenWater, after hearing about our Construction Intern Awards scholarship program. Up until that point we had been using Wordpress to manage this competition, which included a lot of manual maintenance, popular voting plugins, a bulky media gathering process, entry content display delays, and several other headaches. On top of that, we had to use other solutions to manage the judging portion of the contest, which involved either rigging survey products or creating a mess of spreadsheets but both caused confusion for the judges. What we liked most about OpenWater is that it addressed all of the above problems we were facing and allowed us the freedom to customize almost everything. Every other contest management software that we looked at wouldn't let us use our own CSS/HTML to style the site, relying on some sort of WYSIWIG instead. After the initial setup, OpenWater was a huge timesaver. We have also had outstanding support reps since the beginning of implementation. We've asked for a lot during our time using OpenWater and they definitely come through for us.

Our contest is set up in a pretty unconventional way (weekly popular vote-based contests combined with a separate traditional scholarship application), and OpenWater has done a good job of keeping up with our requests. There are several smaller, nit-picky things about the popular vote functionality that could be improved but it's still better than what we were doing before. Another factor that we've had to work around is the fact that the contest dashboard looks the same for everyone who visits the dashboard, regardless of user type (applicant/judge/voter), which can be confusing for some users.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Customer support

Likelihood to recommend: 9/10

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Gabby Sheridan

We love OpenWater

Used weekly for 1-2 years
Reviewed 2021-02-11
Review Source: Capterra

Overall, we love our experience with OpenWater and everything has been very positive. We highly recommend the product.

My organization has been using OpenWater for a little over a year and it has been a life-saver for our company. We love it! It is easy to teach yourself things, and admin can reach out to customer service for calls and for help. There are many help articles. You are able to have applications, judging, and surveys. Open Water is very versatile.

While Open Water is easy to navigate and teach yourself, it is also very intricate. There are so many things that can be done in Open Water and so many different ways to do them that sometimes it is difficult to teach others how to use the program.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Customer support

Likelihood to recommend: 10/10

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Elle Clack

Working Well with Multiple Departments

Used daily for less than 6 months
Reviewed 2019-05-16
Review Source: Capterra

My company is using OpenWater to accept grant application submissions from individual faculty. Other departments also use the platform to accept student fellowship and volunteer applications. Overall we are able to do what we need, however there is no easy way to reveal blinded submissions for judging rounds. We're still in the building stages- and we like that we can build one round at a time instead of needing to have the judging settings set up before accepting applications.

In our organization the greatest asset for this software is the ability to host multiple sites. We're able to put application opportunities on separate secure platforms, each for different audiences.

The round options and judging settings are not automatically user-friendly. Another staff member had to spend some time explaining the features in detail before anyone from my team could use the product. For instance it isn't clear that the open round automatically has judging set up based on which program type is selected. And there is no testing feature- in order to test the application portal you must open the submission round. We also had to switch which staff would have super-user status since only two are allowed.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
Customer support

Likelihood to recommend: 7/10

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Shanita Smith

Makes our members happy!

Used weekly for less than 6 months
Reviewed 2019-09-27
Review Source: Capterra

OpenWater has been very pleasing for membership. It solved several of our issues: 1. We needed a software that would tie into our database. 2. We wanted to be able to perform membership renewals with pre-filled data so that our members would not have to redo much if anything. 3. Allow members to stop and start without losing data. 4. Allow new data that was entered to flow back into our database. We can now do all of this at a great rate and without a ton of hassle. I love that integration was not a long drawn out process either. The team at OpenWater worked well with our integration team and got us up and running in no time. It was helpful to have a couple of our programs created by OpenWater and then handed over to us after training as well.

I like that we CAN integrate this software into our database and have our users log in using their credentials used in our site and have some fields pre-populated.

The multiple ways to access the emails and the judging settings. It would be easier to have a main area on the dashboard of the admin panel and be able to tie the information to a program. Would like to eliminate the number of places to remember to go set up. It also does not tie into our database to update a status as paid.

Rating breakdown

Value for money
Ease of use
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Likelihood to recommend: 10/10

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OpenWater pricing

Pricing options
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Contact OpenWater for detailed pricing information.

OpenWater features

Activity Dashboard
Customizable Branding
Data Import/Export
Reporting & Statistics
Third Party Integration

Access Control (45 other apps)
Attendance Management (56 other apps)
Automatic Notifications (52 other apps)
Campaign Management (53 other apps)
Communication Management (53 other apps)
Contact Database (62 other apps)
Contact Management (47 other apps)
Credit Card Processing (51 other apps)
Custom Fields (56 other apps)
Customizable Reporting (57 other apps)
Electronic Payments (72 other apps)
Event Management (72 other apps)
Registration Management (51 other apps)
Volunteer Management (56 other apps)

Security and privacy


Encryption of sensitive data at rest
HTTPS for all pages

Access control

Multi-factor authentication options
This will ask you to sign in with LinkedIn

Videos and tutorials

Additional information for OpenWater

Key features of OpenWater

  • Grant award tracking
  • Online applications
  • Applicant portal
  • Customizable forms
  • Applicant management
  • Reviewer management
  • Scoring
  • Interview management
  • Commenting / notes
  • Recommendations management
  • White label
  • Social promotions
  • Skills contests (photo, essay, design, etc)
  • Social media management
  • Scoring
  • Entry management
  • Entry fee processing
  • Awards management
  • Judging management
  • Voting management
  • Blind judging
  • Entrant management
  • Payment tracking
  • Outcomes measurement
  • Financial reporting
  • Online submissions
  • Awards program judging
  • Administrative tools
  • Awards website builder
  • Revenue engine
  • Custom branded portal
  • Letter of reference compatible
  • Online reviewer portal
  • Scores & comments
  • Multiple rounds of review
  • Communication tools
  • Report builder
  • Multi-program support
  • Grant management
  • Grants dashboard
  • Prize management
  • Nomination based workflows
  • Payments
  • Team based applications
  • Multi-category and dependent fields
  • Single or multi-round review process
  • Customizable review criteria per program
  • Full offline judging mode
  • Prize dashboard
  • Reporting & CRM
  • Scheduled email blasts with variables
  • Track conversations, calls and emails
  • Export to Excel, CSV, PDF, HTML and JSON
  • Single Sign On
  • Third party integration
  • Social media integration
  • Board nomination
View All Features


Virtual conference managers will deliver attendees a seamless easy to navigate experience that enables deep niche based networking over a platform with sponsorship revenue built in mind.

Organizations can configure specific, customized workflows for a variety of grants, scholarships, awards, prizes, call-for-papers, conferences, and voting.

The OpenWater admin panel displays an overview of the entire grant application, review, and selection process, and users can easily and securely share insights with stakeholders.

OpenWater can handle even the most demanding application and review processes, and enables users to create review forms and processes that fit their program’s exact needs.

Create custom online galleries of entries and winning submissions using OpenWater's awards management system which automatically updates as applicants submit their entries.

OpenWater helps ensure effective communication for internal and external audiences, with tools for scheduled email blasts with variables, email confirmations, social media integration, and more.