Respond to applicants quickly

Initial application response time for 2022 Community Innovation grant applicants

  • 1-2 weeks 12%
  • 3-4 weeks 22%
  • 5-6 weeks 35%
  • more than 6 weeks 31%
Why it’s important to us

We know that the time between submitting an application and getting an answer from us is stressful for applicants, and it puts them in an unproductive holding pattern as they wait. We also balance that desire for responsiveness with the desire to give thoughtful consideration to each application.

How we’re doing

While this is important across all our programs, we are using an indicator for Community Innovation grants because it is a rolling program and so this metric pushes us the most in our day-to-day work. For these applicants, 69% receive responses within 6 weeks.

While it’s hard to say no to the many amazing ideas shared with us, we want to do that quickly if it’s clear that a proposal doesn’t align with our program criteria. That’s why we’re focusing our attention on how quickly we can respond in the initial application phase. Of course, we want to make sure we are using applicant and staff time well throughout the entire process. That can vary a lot depending on the size of the request and/or whether it is unusual in some way.

What’s next

This is a new metric for us. We’re excited to be monitoring it and looking for ways we can do better. We have shifted to a shorter initial application to make the process easier and that sometimes creates the need for more clarifying questions before we can make a decision. We are working on how to do this more quickly in ways that still feel supportive of the applicant. For applications that move beyond the initial review, we are working on better communicating throughout the process so applicants understand how long it is likely to take.

For the Bush Fellowship, we are currently doing a 5-year strategy review and we will be looking at ways to simplify that process while still giving each applicant the serious consideration they deserve.