On Wednesday morning, February 13th, Partners filtered into the conference room for our Letter of Interest Review training entitled, "What Have We Learned?". At this training, Partners were greeted by a sample review form and blank templates of the grant guidelines and application that nonprofits from around San Diego will fill out for our 2019 grant cycle. We then proceeded to review do's and dont's from past funding cycles in the spirit of continuous learning and were able to compile a great list of lessons learned.
"I want today to be a conversation..." began Taylor Bornemann, Operations Manager for San Diego SVP, "...to brainstorm and give feedback so that we can co-create this funding cycle together." Throughout the session, Partners and staff worked together to revise the Letter of Interest Review Form they will use to evaluate applications. Over the next couple of weeks, Partners will team up to review applications in preparation for our First Selection Meeting. The Letter of Interest Review Form does not disqualify any of the nonprofits from the selection process, but rather provides a jumping off point for conversation at the First Selection Meeting.
SVP is unique in that its investment comes both with financial and professional support by developing a nonprofit's capacity with the time and talent of our Partners. This means that any potential weakness of an organization should instead be seen as an opportunity, a unique part of our funding cycle conversation. Taylor explains, "SVP takes great pride in trying to understand where nonprofits are coming from and the challenges they face on an everyday basis. Therefore, when we review applications, we try and use our SVP lens to read between the lines and interpret where our help can be most effective." The majority of the training focused on encapsulating this "SVP lens", a perspective that focuses on SVP's value of continuous learning. At the end of the session, Partners and staff felt energized and eager to learn more about the organizations that have applied for our grant.
Over the next couple of weeks, Partners will team up to review applications in preparation for our First Selection Meeting. They will discuss the LOI Review Forms and narrow the applicants to under ten nonprofits.