Luck or Bobbing for Apples? (Neither): How to Find Federal Grant Review Opportunities
Ever wondered how to find federal grant review opportunities? As I mentioned in Ten Tips I Learned From Being a Federal Grant Reviewer, serving as a reviewer is one of the best forms of professional development for grant professionals. It opens your eyes to a new way of respecting the review process and helps make you a better writer. Although luck has a little to do with being chosen to serve as a reviewer, it is definitely easier than bobbing for apples in a fifty-gallon drum.
Here are ten tips for how to land that valuable review opportunity.
- Believe it or not, every now and then, do an internet search for “call for reviewers.” You will be surprised at what opportunities pop up.
- Register as a federal grant reviewer at https://www.g5.gov. Be prepared with your resume and other documents you use when applying for a job. Also, this will take time and patience—it is a rather laborious process, but worth it. And remember to use Internet Explorer—g5.gov does not like Chrome.
- Complete a Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Peer Reviewer application on eGrants: https://egrants.cns.gov/espan/pr_main/newaccount.jsp. You may be chosen to review AmeriCorps or other grants.
- Review this list of U.S. government agencies to find grants you may be interested in reviewing: https://1.usa.gov/1DNSBe5. If there are certain agencies you want to follow, sign up for their email alerts. They often send out call for reviewer emails.
- Consider Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) grant review opportunities if you have knowledge or experience in those areas: https://1.usa.gov/1L6DLPT.
Continuation of ten tips to land a federal grant review opportunity:
6. Here’s another great resource listing review opportunities and tips from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga: https://bit.ly/1TrZn0n.
7. When applying to become a reviewer, know your relevant background and experience. Think of everything possible such as the following: being a parent or caregiver, work and volunteer experience, college education, working with at risk youth, grants you have written or managed, completed research studies or articles, etc.
8. Explain why you will be a good reviewer for the government agency you are interested in serving.
9. Reach out to program officers listed on federal grant agency websites by letter, email or phone. Let them know you are interested in reviewing and what you bring to the process. Remember, they need you!
10. Consistently tweak any resume you have submitted along with your online reviewer application to match current and specific grantmaking agency priorities. Federal grant agencies often list exactly the qualifications they are looking for in their call for reviewers’ announcement.