Ways to Improve Your Grant Application Scoring

How Applications Are Scored

After a grant application is submitted, it is reviewed and scored by a group of peer reviewers or people from outside the granting agency. Most reviewers have expertise in the subject area and have experience in reading and scoring grants.

Peer reviewers are required to be knowledgeable about English grammar, spelling, and structure, and they are not allowed to review applications from groups that they are connected to. They only review applications outside their geographic location.

Reviewers rank and score applications independently from other reviews, and the average of all scores becomes the official score. If scores from different reviewers vary greatly, the agency will bring the reviewers together to discuss the discrepancies. The application is then re-scored. The federal or private granting agency uses the final score as the “official score” to determine who gets the grant.

Electronic soccer scoreboard for stadium

Tips to Improve Your Agency’s Score

  • Ensure that your proposal is very explicit about your agency, its location, and the history of your group.
  • Follow guidelines for fonts, typeface and page limits.
  • Match your proposal narrative headers to the categories that are going to be scored.
  • Include all citations from relevant research to support the methods, strategies, and examples you use in your narrative.
  • Do not use acronyms unless you immediately describe them.
  • Avoid using “we hope”, “hopefully” or any other wording that makes you seem wishy-washy.
  • Include letters of recommendations and commitment.
  • If you include appendices, make sure crucial information is contained elsewhere.

The best advice is to make sure everything is complete and in compliance with the granting specifications. Once your application has been sent it’s impossible to retrieve it, so double, triple and quadruple-check everything!

Source: The Grantsmanship Center Volume 5, issue 12 is@tgci.com