Application checklists

A good application checklist can save both grantmakers and grantseekers a significant amount of grief.

The details

If you accept applications via an online systemSmartyGrants, you probably don't need a separate checklist, because the system will ensure grantseekers have provided all the necessary information and won't allow them to move on to the next question unless they have.

If you accept hard-copy applications, however, it's useful to provide grantseekers with a separate checklist itemizing all the information they need to provide. Otherwise, it's easy for them to overlook something.

You can provide a checklist simply for the applicant's own reference, or you can require them to submit it along with everything else.

If you have conducted previous grant rounds, you will probably have a good idea of the mistakes applicants commonly make, and the information they tend to forget. You can design your checklist to help them to avoid these mistakes.

For example, you might need to remind applications of:

  • the need for inclusions such as original documents or certified copies, or sign-off from a particular officer 
  • the need to check that figures in different sections are consistent, and to check that budget tables add up correctly across rows and down columns. 

Don't include general instructions about the application process - these should go into the guidelines. And don't overload your checklist. If you do, it will be burdensome rather than helpful.

Sample checklist

  • Confirm that all questions have been answered.
  • Confirm that the application has been signed by the board chair and the manager.
  • Confirm that all necessary supporting evidence has been provided:
  • Annual report
  • Financial report
  • Costing quotations
  • Letters of support from the community
  • Letters of intent from partners
  • Photos and newspaper cuttings
  • Plans and drawings
  • Confirm that all budget calculations have been checked:
  • Draft budget
  • Funding request