This is invariably the area of fund management which attracts the highest levels of controversy and potential criticism as it is most closely associated with the immediate effects on what and who receives funding within a community.
Your assessment process should examine the proposal with respect to your funding policy and fit with CDP, taking into consideration any criteria and priorities set and quantify their merit relative to these criteria.
Selection may consider other aspects such as availability of funds, relative merits of proposals in relation to funding policy priorities over and above individual proposal merits. To provide a clear and defensible process, it can be wise to keep the two aspects separately defined.
Evaluation and selection of numerous, potentially complex projects can be a logistical challenge, especially if this is being done by a voluntary board as part of their normal business meetings. One way to aid the process is to include some aspect of pre-evaluation.
Examples of pre-evaluation include:
If your community has the volunteer capacity a PEG can provide additional advantages;
As your fund management experience grows, you may prefer to develop a list of specialists to use when appropriate.
Assessment can be anything from an open discussion of the strength and merits of a proposal to a very prescriptive quantitative and qualitative scoring against every aim, objective and priority in your community development plans and funding policies. Usually an approach somewhere in between the two is found in practice, though this is shaped by the size of project under consideration. Regardless of the approach, it is recommended that it is fully documented.
As with the early screening process, assessing against criteria helps structure your assessment. As this exercise may need to be more than a yes/no option, you might consider using a sliding scale to assess how well the proposal meets the reference criteria defined in the CDP and Funding Policy.
Choosing not to fund an eligible project when funds are available may be viewed as particularly controversial. Though this action can be challenging to defend, it is a surprisingly common scenario: