Grant Proposal Feedback can be harder to find than Grant funding.
Our Evaluation Committee is standing by to review your grant proposal and provide candid and helpful feedback on how to improve future applications.
DEADLINE: MARCH 15, 2023
GRANT PROPOSAL FEEDBACK FAQS
If you have written a grant proposal, we would like to review it for you. You will receive helpful and candid advice from experts in relevant sectors. Send us written materials related to your idea, we will review them and be as helpful as we can.
Still not sure if you should submit? Ask these two simple questions:
Do you have a written description of your program like a grant proposal, marketing deck, letter of inquiry, executive summary, or other written document describing your idea/organization?
Are you interested in receiving helpful and candid review of those materials from Unfunded List’s evaluation committee?
All organizations or persons that answer yes to both are encouraged to submit.
We have designed a program that can review any proposal in any format. We have reviewed everything from one page concept notes to 80-page proposals.
There are no specific guidelines for formatting proposals, but in general, it goes best with proposals that follow a format with clearly laid out objectives, rationale, logistics, and next steps for the organization or project. Our evaluators also like it when there is financial information included (ideally a project budget). The ideal proposal length is 4 to 6 pages but we will review anything up to 20 pages in length. Happy to consider longer proposals, or peculiar formats, but only after a conversation.
Please do contact us directly with any specific eligibility questions.
Most of what we review are one time proposals that were submitted to specific funders. However, we can and will review more dynamic documents like executive summaries or business plans. For formal business plans from for-profit entities, we partner with Mentor Capital Network and a number of investment focused-networks to provide additional review and access to their network of investors and entrepreneurial mentors.
Our evaluation committee has a vast array of experience working for and with funding organizations of all sizes. A short, but incomplete, list of organizations where committee members work, have previously worked, or have otherwise been involved includes: the Knight Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, The Slingshot Fund, The Aspen Institute, Australia’s Greater Charitable Foundation, the Qatar Foundation, the Sehgal Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the White House, the Skoll Award, Echoing Green, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The committee includes experts familiar with the world of international development funding (DFID, USAID, AusAID, the U.S. State Department, National Science Foundation (NSF)).
We also have evaluators who are experienced securing government grants at the local, state and federal level as well as evaluators with experience in corporate grant-making/partnerships. We even have international evaluators from over a dozen countries and almost every continent. Our academic chops are considerable as well. We partner with George Washington University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and we have evaluation committee members on the faculty at Stanford, Duke, and Harvard Universities.
Regardless of the change you are looking to make or the funding institution you are targeting we have evaluators who can help.
We spend a lot of effort building an evaluation committee with a breadth of experience and perspective and we are confident that we can be supportive of any format submitted to any funder. Your proposal will receive the highest quality evaluation to prepare you for success with future submissions to funding organizations.
We do not provide direct funding of proposals.
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.”
The Unfunded List operates with the generous support of our board of directors, and a handful of individual family foundations. We have received grants from the MacArthur Foundation, the Kettering Family Foundation, the Tecovas Foundation and others. We also charge $100 per application submitted to our program and we collect other fees related to co-review partnerships.
Unfunded List is a 501c3 organization. You can support our work with a tax deductible gift here: Donate to Unfunded List
Finding a dozen relevant experts to read and review a grant proposal takes time and effort and money. It costs us about $1,000 per proposal review and our funders cover the majority of the costs of the program. In consideration, we do ask a small application fee to help cover these overhead costs and to ensure that we can continue to provide high quality feedback to unfunded ideas. The $100 fee also ensures our applicants have some skin in the game and keeps the pool of proposals we receive at a manageable size. From experience, we have found that the fee leads to higher quality submissions.
If the $100 fee is an absolute impossibility for you and the only hurdle to submitting a proposal please contact us and we will work it out.
This is a one-time fee. If you pay it once then you are eligible to submit to us every round without the fee. Every round we reach out to past applicants with a special link to submit for free.
Have a question not answered above? Please email our founder Dave at email@example.com and he will be happy to answer your questions.
Yes. Even if you have been funded before we would love to help you keep going by providing fresh perspectives and comments to support your future applications.
Please note that we no longer consider budget size to determine eligibility. We will review projects of any budget size or fundraising history. Organizations and programs with large budgets need feedback too. We would be happy to help if you run such a program. Most of our submissions are from small non-profits but we have reviewed proposals for multiple organizations with budgets ver $50 million.
We will assign your proposal to over one dozen people who are interested in your issue area and have relevant experience or perspective. They will have access to your proposal and also the answers you send us with your submission. They will read it and then respond to about a dozen prompts ranging from their general impressions, to their thoughts on your financials, to their suggestions for next steps. We also ask each evaluator if they have any suggestions for future funding opportunities or if they have introductions to make. Unfunded List staff can help facilitate those introductions.
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 and formed a global partnership with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI). Their founder credits 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. Their initial submission was unsuccessful and then we reviewed it, they resubmitted, and won the grant.
We have helped a disability inclusion organization (RespectAbility) win their first funding from the New York Women’s Foundation and an organization focused on eating disorders (ProjectHeal) to win a six-figure grant from a national foundation. Last year, a small organization in DC serving homeless families applied for a grant from a local giving circle. They were rejected. We reviewed their proposal, provided them feedback and had a productive report discussion. The proposal authors submitted a new draft and won the grant on their second attempt.
Last Spring, a young doctoral student from Haiti studying at Howard University applied for a grant and was rejected. We reviewed his submission, gave him feedback which he used to resubmit and has won 3 of his 7 submissions this year – his first ever grant awards in over 15 years of operation.
We have reviewed over 1,000 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.
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.
How our Feedback Process Works
You submit your best and most recent fundraising materials.
We assign those materials to a hand selected team of evaluators from our Evaluation Committee.
We compile their feedback into one comprehensive report.
We share that feedback report with you and offer to schedule a free follow up discussion with our staff about your materials and the feedback you received.
First time sending your proposal to us? We charge a $100 fee for first time submissions to ensure efficacy and interest.
After the initial round, proposal authors that we have reviewed previously are invited to participate in future rounds of feedback at no additional cost.