The Grant Application Process

Written by Grants Chair, Sue Christopher

If you are a non-profit organization considering applying for a grant in 2022,
here is some information about the grant process.
Volunteer members of Impact100 Southern Indiana have two distinct roles. In
the first part of the year, we network with our community to raise funds. But,
the critical work starts in July when the process of gathering and reviewing
grant applications begins.

Now in our sixth year of seeking and awarding grants, we have a solid
foundation of non-profits. We work with organizations to explain the grant
application process and answer any questions through a virtual Q & A session.
We are always amazed by the broad range of services offered by organizations
that serve Clark, Floyd, and Harrison counties.

Our grant application process involves several steps.

The first step is simple, each grant applicant submits a letter of intent through
our online form. In the Letter of Intent, the non-profits not only indicate their
intent to apply but also acknowledge that they meet all the eligibility
requirements. These include:

  • Being a 501(c)3 in operation for at least three years in Clark, Floyd, and/or
    Harrison counties.
  • The non-profit has an identified program or project that falls within one of
    our focus areas.
  • Acknowledgment of the other grant requirements (listed on the website).

The second step is for the grant applicant to complete a Request for Proposal
and submit the Grant Application.

Next, after the letter of intent deadline passes, the call then goes out to our
current members for volunteers to help review the applications. This is a key
step as the entire process would not be possible without our wonderful
members and volunteers. It takes a village!

Once the full grant applications are submitted, a small group of members form
several panels and receive 5-8 grants each to review. These volunteers who
review grant applications take their role very seriously. Many have volunteered
in this capacity since our inception. As mentioned above, each volunteer is an
Impact100 Southern Indiana member. Volunteers go through an extensive
training process and always have access to one of our board members if she
has any questions. These women devote approximately 30 – 40 hours of their
time to reviewing and discussing applications.

The volunteers first score each application using a scoring system based on
the information provided in the grant application. Each panel member
reviews/scores the application individually. Then, at the end of the review
week, our review panel members come back together in their small groups to
compare notes and scores on the grant applications reviewed. This discussion
is very intentional and allows the reviewer to adjust a score if they overlooked
or misunderstood information. At the end of the discussions, scores are
averaged from the group and turned in. Then, an executive review panel takes
up to two weeks to validate the accuracy of the scoring process. The top three
or four non-profits become our finalists!

We are EXTREMELY focused on integrity throughout the whole grant
application process as we know our members trust us. We monitor
confidentiality, conflicts of interest, objective scoring, and triple-check all
scores before announcing our finalists. It can be a bit overwhelming, but we
know it is worth it! I feel it is truly a privilege to be part of this amazing
process.

As the grant finalists present their grant requests at our Annual Award
Celebration dinner, we are always proud of the non-profits who took the time
to apply, the reviewers who worked so hard and our amazing members who
made it all possible. Together, we are all making an impact toward
transformational change in our community!

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