How to Review a Proposal
Department of Public SafetyOffice of Justice ProgramsJune 2019
Why Use Volunteer Reviewers?
To include a wide variety of perspectives and experiences that can inform the grant making process&make the granting process more inclusive, transparent, fair, and as free from influence and bias as possible.
Who are the Reviewers?
Governmental and community-based stakeholdersSubject matter expertsCommunity membersResearchers
Thank you!Your time and expertise are appreciated.
What’s in it for you?
Learn about the grant making processBetter understanding of OJPLearn about innovative programs and best practices across MinnesotaHave a voice in the process
Being aproposalreviewer is one of thebestways to learn how to write a good proposal!
Overall Expectation of Grant Reviewers
Keep proposals and scores confidential – this is not public information UNTIL the grants are awarded.Review the selection criteria in the Request for Proposal (RFP) and score each proposal for how well it addresses that criteria.Report any conflict of interest to OJP and do not score proposals in which you have a conflict .
Reviewing Proposals: Step 1
Read OJP’s Request for ProposalBecome familiar with:The goals of the RFPThe requirements of the proposalsThe scoring criteria and point allocationsRead and understand the Reviewer Scoring SheetPlease make sure to set aside enough time to review each of your proposalsthoroughly. Thisis NOT a quick process.
Reviewing Proposals: Step2
Do an initial read of each proposal but don’t score them this time.Use this initial review of the proposals to get a general sense of what they are proposing and where to find details important for scoring.
Reviewing Proposals: Step3
Re-read each proposal and begin scoring.Use the questions on the scoring sheet to guide your scores.Make sure to write down proposal strengths and weaknesses to support your scores.
Reviewing Proposals: Step4
Attend In-Person Review MeetingArrive on time & ready to discuss the proposals.Have allscoring sheetscomplete and legible.Have your conflict of interest form filled in, signed, and ready to hand in.Group discusses strengths, weaknesses, and scoring of each proposal.Reviewers may change scores based on discussion.Meeting ends with group recommendations for funding.
Range of Scores
Scores of a perfect100should be rare – this means there were no weaknesses in theproposal.Just as rare is a score of0– this means there are no strengths in theproposal.If you do feel like a score of 100 or 0 are warranted, please document your justifications completely.
Tips for Scoring
Everyone scores differently – that’s ok! Just make sure to be consistent in your scoring.Only score a proposal based on the information provided – don’t assumeanything.Score proposals against the criteria in the RFP– not against other proposals.No fractions or decimals – whole number scores only please!
Deduct points if not all questions on the score sheet are answered. Scores should vary based on the completeness of the answers.You can deduct points for a disorganized proposal but make sure your score is primarily based on the quality of the responses.Just having an answer to each question in the RFP does not justify a highscore.
More Rules and Tips
Proposals should make a strong case, show a compelling need and show that the proposed activities will effectively address that need.Proposals should employ promising practices and improve the criminal/juvenile justice system or crime victim services.
For every RFP process there is not enough funding to fund all proposals.There is always more than one review group scoring different proposals.It is important for reviewers to carefully score proposals.We rely onreviewers to recommendthe proposals with the strongest chances of being successful.
For more information or questions please contact the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Justice ProgramsClaire CambridgeClaire.Cambridge@state.mn.us651-201-7307