Assembling a grant review committee involves more than just pooling qualified individuals together to manage and review grant applications. Evaluating proposals, making decisions, and awarding grants entail a great deal of time, responsibility, and a high level of efficiency.

Grantmakers rely on their grant review committee to collaboratively make recommendations, practice objectivity and make well-informed decisions regarding funding to support organizations in maximizing their impact.

An efficient grant review committee and grant review process delivered through effective grant management software yield desirable results.

Check out these best practices for running a grant review committee:

Develop your protocols and processes

Long before thinking about hiring members of your review committee,  the first step is coming up with protocols and processes. Outline your review process, define your objectives and mission, then set a timeline.

Make sure you communicate your expectations and goals to prospective committee members from pre-award research through post-award grant closeout for a seamless process. Staying on top of ever-changing grant regulations and requirements is a real challenge.

Objective reviews and financial transparency are essential in accomplishing your goals. A cloud-based platform that simplifies application submission, improves collaboration and facilitates decision-making is exactly what you need to stay on top of your entire grants lifecycle.

Our grants management software offers evaluators a simple yet intuitive experience unlike any other. View assignments, export evaluations to Excel, and filter by grants all in one screen.

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Define your review workflow

Grant management software can help you expedite grant management processes and drive efficiencies, but defining your review workflow is a must.

Here are some steps leading grantmakers typically take:

  • Adding pre-application eligibility to your grant application review process can save reviewers and applicants valuable time.
  • Review the entire application and decide whether it’s worth considering or not
  • Revisit the application and utilize your scoring rubric.
  • Give your approval and provide qualitative feedback.

When assessing a potential grant, reviewers refer to a scoring rubric or matrix based on a set of guidelines or criteria. Scoring rubrics ensure reviewers are looking at all the aspects needed to evaluate an application.

It’s equally helpful in ensuring reviewers are being objective, makes summarizing scores so much easier, and gives each reviewer’s analysis equal weight. When clouded by biases and discrimination, a scoring rubric gives them the guidance they need to stay on track.

Reach a well-rounded and unbiased decision with this online scoring rubric from CommunityForce. View comments from other committee members and see funding recommendations for a comprehensive yet convenient evaluation process.


Assemble your committee

Once you’ve defined your processes and workflow, it’s time to assemble your grant review committee. Consider diversifying your team to enable you to run an equitable process. An inclusive committee contributes to increased innovation, upholding ethical standards, and competitiveness – resulting in better outcomes.

It’s imperative to communicate work and time demands early on as well as how well they will be compensated.

Be mindful about asking for free labor from historically underfunded groups—even modest compensation, or alternative compensation, such as a discount or service, shows that you value the work that you’re requesting.

The members of your grant review committee are highly valued contributors to grant-giving programs, they give you that sense of security and certainty that grants are only awarded to the most deserving applicants who fit your organization and fuel positive change.

Build an agreement

The primary goal of all grant review committees is to arrive at well-informed decisions and award deserving grantees.

Encourage your grant review committee to leave clear, concise, and specific comments when reviewing grant applications. Constructive and unbiased decisions aligned with your scoring rubric can help your review committee come to funding decisions with better outcomes.

Grants United is the leading cloud-based solutions provider with a robust user interface and end-to-end life cycle automation. Maximize your efficiency, simplify complex processes, and improve the way you collaborate with our grants management software.