What values underlie the Lever for Change approach?
Lever for Change centers its work on the core values of transparency, openness, equity, and inclusivity. We take intentional steps to ensure these values are represented throughout our activities and within each customized competition, including sourcing from diverse networks, and building community engagement into competition design from the beginning. We provide applicants with detailed information about the competition, such as evaluation criteria and scoring rubric, competition timeline and process, and the names of judges.
What are the restrictions for a competition grant?
This will vary, as it is guided by the donor sponsoring the competition. Specific details about grant restrictions, timeline for the overall grant, and any additional requirements will be discussed with finalists once they advance to the finalist stage and/or will be negotiated between the award recipient(s) and the donor directly.
When does the competition grant period begin? (How long will organizations have between receiving the grant and needing to start the project?)
This varies by competition and donor. Finalists will receive more information about the grant period during their competition’s finalist orientation. Additional conversations regarding timeline of grant will likely occur when the award recipient and donor enter into the contracting period.
What is the difference between the proposal and the prospectus?
There is no fundamental difference. Some donors use the word proposal other use the word prospectus. When you become a finalist, you will receive support to revise your proposals according to the guidelines provided to produce the final revised proposal or “prospectus” that will be seen by the selection committee.
Are there any sample prospectuses to share with finalists?
Lever for Change only shares final prospectuses with donors and technical assistance providers who are under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). We do not share them with other parties. However, all finalists will receive technical assistance and advising throughout the process. Typically, teams have 20-30+ hours of support via one-on-one, bi-weekly check-ins and offline reviews, which we believe will benefit finalists much more than reviewing a sample of a successful prospectus.
How closely must prospectuses follow the guidelines in their given form and/or order?
For overall structure and organization of information, we recommend that finalists construct their prospectuses according to the Sections and Appendices outlined in the guidelines provided, though it is not mandatory. The section structure, as well as the questions provided for each section, are meant to help finalists gauge what information to include to tell a clear and compelling story.
We encourage finalists to treat the prospectus guidelines as a starting point rather than a checklist, and to feel free to use language from their initial application in the prospectus. We also highly encourage incorporation of figures, tables, maps, images, and other media as helpful.
What is the Bold Solutions Network?
As finalists, your final prospectuses will be added to our Bold Solutions Network, where we match donors with nonprofits and social enterprises whose solutions to significant social challenges were highly ranked after rigorous evaluation in one of our competitions. Learn more about the Network.
As a finalist, I have to create a "two-page solution overview factsheet" for inclusion in the Bold Solutions Network – what does this look like?
What is most important to the donors as they review the prospectuses?
We have identified six key items that make a compelling prospectus:
- A clearly articulated goal with a specific timeline ̶ for example a 5-year impact you seek to achieve that is bold, feasible, and directly addresses your problem
- A clear, logical theory of change that leads to that impact you seek
- An outline of how you will enable greater financial sustainability in service of longer-term impact, and how you engage in ongoing learning and evaluation to iterate on your approach, as needed
- An implementation plan that will position you to achieve the impact you seek
- Your solution and plan are reflective of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility and provide opportunities for historically marginalized populations and people with disabilities
- Your required resources are directly tied to your implementation plan and clearly enable the impact you seek to create
What are donors looking for from the (virtual) site visits and/or engagements?
The objective of the site visit is to provide greater insight into each organization, serving as the main opportunity for engagement with the selection committee, which includes the donor (where appropriate). There will be an interest in meeting with leadership team, staff, and beneficiaries to get a fuller sense of the program approach and outcomes. Read more about the site visit process.