Competition Process

Lever for Change’s mission is to accelerate social change by connecting bold donors with highly-rated proposals submitted through Lever for Change competitions.

Lever for Change is committed to openness and transparency in its competitions as well as providing value to each participant. We do this is by publicly sharing information about the competition process, including the timeline, evaluation criteria, and judges. We also ensure that as many applicants as possible receive feedback on their proposals during each competition.

It is common for organizations that submit proposals to open calls or competitions to receive no response or simply a turn-down letter that states they did not receive funding. Organizations rarely receive meaningful guidance on how proposals could be improved or what elements were lacking. During Lever for Change competitions, all valid proposals move through a process of increasing levels of review, feedback, and diligence.

  • Peer-to-Peer review allows applicants to provide and receive feedback from organizations that work in similar sectors and locations. Peer feedback can be particularly valuable because it comes from a viewpoint unique to their day-to-day work experience.
  • Judge/Evaluation Panel feedback from highly regarded professionals provides applicants insights into the strengths and weaknesses of their proposals.
  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) feedback* can help organizations identify how their project and/or project team can strengthen their work by leveraging the input of key DEI experts and stakeholders.
  • Domain Specific feedback* provides organizations with highly technical feedback that identifies strengths, weakness, and/or gaps in the project and links the team to trends in the larger domain/field.
  • Technical Advisor Support* provides teams with tailored, real-time actionable feedback to strengthen their plans and identify strategies for growing their work.
  • Legal/Financial reviews* ensure organizations are registered and have effective governance structures. They can also identify any gaps in the legal and/or financial health of the organization.
  • Site Visits* provide an opportunity for teams to showcase their work on the ground and partnerships in action.

*Finalists only

During the competition process, we share and synthesize this feedback to assist donor partners in their decision-making.

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