Join our Evaluation Committee

Unfunded List’s evaluators provide helpful and candid feedback to social entrepreneurs and change makers. 

The collective work of our Committee has produced thousands of pages of helpful feedback for hundreds of organizations from around the world. 

Who are the Evaluators?

Our evaluation committee is made up of grant-writers, issue experts, founders, funders and volunteers that want to lend their knowledge and expertise to underfunded change makers. 

Unfunded List is a nonprofit formed in 2015 to educate the public about philanthropy and the philanthropic process.  We focus most of our work on first-time grant proposal writers as well as on philanthropists themselves. If you are writing proposals, we will review them. If you are funding proposals, we will co-review with you. If you want to review proposals, we will assign you some.

The Unfunded List began in 2015 when a handful of volunteers asked social entrepreneurs around the world to send us their best unfunded grant proposals.  An expert volunteer evaluation committee read these proposals and every applicant received helpful and candid feedback. We published some of the most interesting proposals to our official Unfunded List and promoted this list as widely  as we could. We also delivered helpful and candid feedback to every single applicant.

Seeing the potential from this first round, we formed our not-for-profit 501c3 organization dedicated to providing information about philanthropy to the social sector. While we continue to review grant proposals twice a year, we have expanded our mission to provide comprehensive feedback to anyone doing social impact projects – just send us whatever written materials you have that best describe your organization and our experts will take a look.  Currently, our evaluation committee has over 800 members from all over the world.

We do not provide direct funding of proposals., but we believe feedback can be just as valuable (and sometimes harder to find) than funding.

Everyone who submits a proposal to us is guaranteed a comprehensive feedback report and receives equal attention from our committee. Whenever possible, we connect proposals with potential funders and this often results in the funding.. Additionally, it is not uncommon for our reviewers to follow up with organizations directly in order to become more involved as supporters, advisors, donors, etc.

Professional consultants who perform this service often charge five figures or more. Unfunded List believes that good advice should be for everyone, not just for those who can afford it.

The Unfunded List operates with the generous support of our board of directors, donations from our evaluators, and some grants from grantmakers. We also host events, produce content, and  charge $100 per application submitted to our program. This fee is usually waived with co-review opt-ins.

Unfunded List is a 501c3 organization. You can support our work with a tax deductible gift here: Donate to Unfunded List

Our experience has shown that there is a strong correlation between having a proposal reviewed by Unfunded List and increased funding, growth, and recognition. Organizations need helpful and candid feedback to succeed with their grant proposals. Unfortunately, that feedback can be harder to come by than funding. Unfunded List makes it easy for you to have a proposal read and considered by real professionals with experience in the field. That is why our past applicants have repeatedly called our service an “incredible resource.”

One of our first applicants, Accountability Lab, has seen their budget grow from $400k to several million and the Director of their Mali program received one of the first Obama Fellowships. Another Unfunded List honoree, Simprints, applied for the WeWork Creator Awards in London on the recommendation of the Unfunded List evaluation committee and won the first prize of $360,000. They have since won millions in prizes, crediting Unfunded List for their success. Recently, Mary’s Center, a health center in Washington DC, won a $250,000 grant from healthcare company Cigna to fund a child nutrition program, the first of its kind in the District.

We have helped a disability inclusion organization win their first funding from the New York Women’s Foundation and an organization focused on eating disorders to win a six-figure grant from a national foundation. We have reviewed over 700 proposals, delivering helpful and candid feedback to each one. Organizations of all sizes find value in our approach, which is why many of them come back to us round after round.

Unfunded List reviews hundreds of proposals every year. The proposals come from all over the world and cover nearly every conceivable topic. To ensure that we can provide the most helpful and candid advice to each proposal, we are constantly recruiting members to our evaluation committee. We currently have over 800 evaluators in our pool with a wide variety of experience and interests. We believe all perspectives are important and we regularly seek to add to the diversity of the committee. Our members include program officers at grant-making institutions, members of family foundations, founders of giving circles, directors of notable prizes and competitions, fundraising consultants, communications professionals, engineers, doctors, lawyers, as well as formerly homeless and incarcerated evaluators, LGBTQIA members, people from every continent and over 50 countries and, at last count, 9 different faith traditions.


We also actively recruit our applicants to become reviewers. Approximately one-fifth of the committee has also been reviewed by us and most reports include someone who is also fundraising or has experience fundraising on the same issue or topic.


Yes. Everyone lives in the world and feels its effects. Your perspective has value and we would love to share it with social entrepreneurs and nonprofit founders trying to make the world a better place.

Our committee already has dozens of experienced grantwriters as well as professional philanthropists. Those backgrounds are always welcome but we want to include as many perspectives as we can in each report.

If you have no experience whatsoever in philanthropy this is a great way to gain some. You can check out our  library of resources, attend our free events, or contact us for a quick one-on-one consultation.

One hour on average. Some of our speedier evaluators can review a proposal in under half an hour. Others do deeper research and might spend a few hours on their reviews. 

We encourage our evaluators to take as much time as they need. Just please hit our deadlines and give honest feedback to the proposals you have been assigned.

You can tell us your preferences and we will do our best to match you with proposals that fit your interests and expertise. The more you tell us, the better we are at matching. SInce we review several hundred proposals a year covering a breadth of topics, we are usually able to come up with interesting matches. This is why we have such a high approval and return rate with our committee.

Since 2015, we have reviewed nearly 1,000 proposals covering nearly every conceivable topic (and even some inconceivable topics!) from all over the globe. Common topics are education (both US and international), healthcare (again both US and international), conservation issues, civic advocacy issues, anti-racism efforts, the arts, disability inclusion, youth service programs, homelessness and food security programs, and socially-focused businesses.

Co-review is when we partner with a grantmaker and offer our independent review to their applicants.

There are two ways to submit a proposal to Unfunded List. The first is through our website, which anyone in the world can do any time of year. We will review whatever is submitted to us.

The majority of the proposals we review come through co-review partnerships with grantmakers. Our grantmaker partners conduct their philanthropy according to their own procedures and our committee simultaneously reviews the same submissions. Applicants are given the chance to opt-in and request feedback from us and our staff aligns the timelines and reports with our partners. Since we began co-reviewing, the number of proposals we review each year has increased from dozens of submissions to hundreds.

Our main co-review partners are the SOLVE program at MIT, the Elevate Prize, Circle for Justice Innovations, Next Gen Giving Circle, Kettering Family Foundation, OpenGov HUB, Mentor Capital Network, and a few others. Such a diverse group of inclusive grantmakers ensures that we will have a wide variety of interesting proposals to review every round.

We have written a lot about co-review. Read more:

Co-Reviewing with MIT for a More Inclusive Philanthropy

Grantmakers Guide to Co-Reviewing with Unfunded List

Co-Review Throughout History

No. Evaluators are volunteers who support the field of philanthropy and give a few hours of their time a few times a year to advise grant proposal writers and lend their experience, perspective, and connections to social sector actors who are looking for advice and support. Over 90% of our evaluators enjoy their experience and most return to review again. About 10% of evaluators make donations to support our operations and only evaluators are eligible to join our board of directors and committees.

While we do not directly compensate evaluators, we recognize that many of them are for hire. Evaluators are given the opportunity to offer a follow-up conversation as part of the review process and if the reviewed group agrees we can make that connection. We have helped forge many productive relationships in this way, including paid consultancy work, grants, partnerships, and more. 



Please fill out this convenient form: https://www.unfundedlist.com/join-the-committee/

Have a question not answered above? Please email our founder Dave at [email protected] and he will be happy to answer your questions.



Impact

Providing feedback and advice to unfunded proposals will help change makers hone their message, improve their ideas and potentially increase their chances of securing funding, find collaborators or achieve their mission.

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Commitment

Twice a year evaluators receive a curated batch of proposals most relevant to their interests and are given up to two months to provide their feedback via our website.

Our Goals

We provide helpful and candid feedback to every proposal that is sent to us and our goal is to keep our Evaluator Committee as diverse and varied as the proposals we receive.

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