How review panels work
Review panels have different structures. Typically, proposals are reviewed by a team of 3-8 experts from the field and they collaborate in the following ways.
- Local and in-person: Often Community Foundations and United Ways ask local experts to serve on the review panel with donors (or on behalf of deceased donors) to allocate funding and meet over a weekend or evening.
- State/National and in-person:
- Some agencies send proposals to reviewers in advance and then pull the panel together to meet to discuss their views.
- Some agencies convene a group of reviewers in a hotel and allocate the proposals for review that are then returned at the end of the process to ensure confidentiality.
- State/National and Virtual: Some agencies send you the proposals to review and then your team has conference calls to review the applications and come to a consensus on the score.
- Independently: Sometimes, proposals are read and scored individually and then returned to the agency without any consultation.
- Internal: Some agencies review their proposals using internal staff.
Time: Typically, you can expect to spend several full days working as a reviewer. That can be concentrated or spread out over a few weeks. Don’t expect to slide it in easily around your existing work. It is intensive and requires focus to do well so make sure that you know you can devote the time needed. It’ll be worth it in the long run.