Washington Strategic Consulting participates in a weekly Twitter chat for grant professionals, #grantchat. This past week, #grantchat discussed being a grant reviewer. It has been our team’s experience that serving as a grant reviewer is an excellent form of professional development for grant professionals of all skill levels and backgrounds. Therefore, for this blog post, we wanted to repost #grantchat’s post about “Do You Want to be a Grant Reviewer” with their permission. Interested in learning more about #grantchat, a program of SmartEGrants? Check it out here!
Originally published on #grantchat on Thursday, January 15, 2015
One of the common questions that we receive here at #grantchat and SmartEGrants is how it is that a grant professional can become a grant reviewer. We opened the dialogue up to the full #grantchat community in this week’s chat with guest Olivia Daugherty (@runwritelaugh) who has served as a reviewer for foundations, the city of Houston, local nonprofits & the state of Texas.
Why do grant professionals want to take the time out of their already full professional lives to serve as grant reviewers? Is it the high pay? Is it the prestige? Not so much. Here is what #grantchat community members that have served as grant reviewers have to say about the benefit of serving as a grant reviewer.
So you are sold on the professional benefit of serving as a grant reviewer. Now comes the bigger question: “How is it exactly that you go about becoming a grant reviewer?” The answer is that it depends on what your background is, and what type of granting organization you wish to be a reviewer for.
First, think about what is your relevant background? Do you have an MSW and experience working with at-risk youth? Or those with substance abuse problems? That experience coupled with your grant seeking experience make you a likely candidate for peer review for the related state and federal agencies. On the other hand, are you very involved in your local/regional community? Do you volunteer with different local nonprofit organizations? Or are you part of a locally based business? That involvement coupled with your grant seeking experience make you a likely candidate for sitting on a United Way Community Review committee or board, or for sitting on a grant making committee or panel for a Community Foundation.
Second, identify why you will be a good grant reviewer for that particular source. Just as you identify in your grant research process why your organization/client will be a strong potential funding partner for a new potential grant funder, identify and articulate why you will be a good reviewer for the grant making organization you have identified. As you fill out their forms for those wishing to be grant reviewers, or make an outreach to the grant making leadership/staff, be sure to share that information with them.
Lastly, identify what process you need to go through to be considered for your targeted grant making organization.Does the organization you identified require that you complete a form so you are part of their database? Do you need to submit a resume and information about related experience? Do you need to send a cover email to the Executive Director expressing your interest? Are you making a cold request to participate versus responding to an open call for grant reviewers?
Here are some of the stories for how #grantchat community members have secured their roles as grant reviewers for a variety of grant making organizations:
Convinced this is something that you want to do in order to support your field? your local community? your professional development as a grant professional? Wonderful! Here are some resources that you can consider as you look at what grant reviewer opportunities are available:
Federal Agencies Want YOU To Be A Grant Reviewer (September 2013 from the Ferguson Group)
How to Land a Job Reviewing Federal Proposals (July 2008 from The Chronicle of Philanthropy)
15 Agencies Seeking Grant Reviewers (April 2012 from Miner and Associates)
Do you have any additional resources or listings that you follow to keep up on what grant reviewer opportunities are available? Please share them with us in the comments section or on social media using the #grantchat hashtag.