Questions to Help You Think Like a Grant Reviewer

This month I served as a grant reviewer for the first time. I had three foundation applications to review in six weeks (a pretty generous time-frame). I will join in the chorus of other grant professionals that say if you have the opportunity to serve as a reviewer, do it. Here are the 10 Tips Judy learned by serving as a federal grant reviewer.


When you write your grant application, are you thinking like a reviewer?


Checklist for thinking like a reviewer:

  • Did I answer the journalism questions of who, what, when, where, why, and how of the program/project I am seeking funding?
  • Is this grant application well-written and grammatically correct? (Pro Tip: Use grammar software like Grammarly and/or have another person read through the application to make sure there are no grammar mistakes and that it makes sense.)
  • How good of an idea is the project/program? Would I want to fund it?
  • Is my organization capable of executing the project/program? If the answer is yes, did I communicate that through the grant application? If the answer is no, what do we need to do to be capable of executing the project/program?
  • Does this project/program need to be sustainable? If so, is there truly a plan to sustain it?
  • Do the budget and the narrative tell the same story?
  • What are the primary challenges of this project/program?


You always want to make sure your grant application is easy for the reviewer to read. Don’t make them work for the answers. Give it to them on a silver platter. You probably will be rewarded for it.


How do you think like a grant reviewer?



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