Once the reviewers have rated proposals, the process of making decisions begins. First, be sure that two or more reviewers have read and rated each proposal, so that more than one person’s opinion is brought to bear on decisions. There are many ways to handle this well. Each proposal may receive a score that is an average of the individual reviewers’ score. Or, reviewers may be asked to meet and discuss their mutual proposals, then assign one score for each.
Once you have a score for each proposal, it’s time to make final decisions. A reasonable way to do this is through a decision meeting (or, if location is an issue, through a conference call). For best results, ask a neutral party to facilitate this meeting, and carefully prepare an agenda in advance.
At the decision meeting, reviewers will share their scores for each proposal, and then proposals are ranked in order from highest score to lowest. You may have many more top scorers than you have grants to award. If so, the group of reviewers might discuss proposals further in order to refine the list. Finally, review the slate of finalists to make sure that the list reflects your program’s goals.
Before closing the meeting, thank the reviewers for their time and, in the interest of confidentiality, collect their copies of the proposals and their rating sheets. The rating sheets and their comments will help you give useful feedback to any unsuccessful applicants.