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What your grant reviewer does (and doesn’t) look for

by The NonProfit Times - January 28, 2014

You need to see your grant application through the eyes of its reviewer. By knowing what they’re looking at, you can highlight what’s important and cut out the rest. Susan Jordan of Portland, Ore., let attendees in on what grant reviewers ignore and pay attention to during the Grant Professionals Association 2013 national conference in Baltimore, Md.

Jordan said that if you follow the directions, answer all the questions, don’t pad the budget, have an easy-to-read abstract and include a table of contents that’s actually useful, the reviewers will have a hard time saying no. Beyond that, she pointed out nine items the reviewers are sure to examine and five that are irrelevant.

Grant reviewers look at format, budget, local data, comparative data, research, impact, capacity, clarity and vision.

Grant reviewers don’t bother with:

  • Notes of appreciation;
  • Supporting letters from VIPs who aren’t involved;
  • Proposal actions that are irrelevant;
  • Anything past page three of a resume; and,
  • Proposals submitted for a different competition.


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