Application Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Scoring Matrix

5 = Excellent – Exceeds expectations in that it is comprehensive, thorough and with exceptional merit, demonstrating that the proposed project will likely result in significant development impact in a cost-effective manner. Exhibits no significant deficiencies.

4 = Very Good – Demonstrates overall competence, meets all minimum requirements and exceeds requirements in some areas but not all. Despite some identified weaknesses, the applicant demonstrates that it can successfully complete all deliverables in a timely, efficient, and economical manner.

3 = Good – Meets requirements. While the applicant demonstrates an ability to complete the work in some areas, there are some significant deficiencies. However, these combined weaknesses still represent a manageable performance risk.

2 = Fair – Minimally meets basic requirements or demonstrates a limited understanding of the requirements. Implementation of the proposed project would likely lead to unsatisfactory performance. Contains deficiencies and significant weaknesses that may negatively affect performance.

1 = Poor – Many deficiencies and/or gross omissions, including failure to address key elements, failure to understand work necessary to perform the required tasks, or failure to provide a reasonable approach to fulfilling requirements.

0 = Non-Responsive – Fails to address all elements of the criteria; fails to understand the work necessary to perform the required tasks; fails to meet the requirements of the solicitation.

Evaluation Factors

1. Innovation & Impact

DIV will assess the application for the degree to which it demonstrates:

  • Clear explanation of the innovation and compelling problem statement in the development context addressing issues surrounding extreme poverty.
  • Clear explanation of how the problem impacts people’s lives and how solving this problem would improve people’s lives.
  • Realistic explanation and clear articulation of the number of people (i.e., beneficiaries/customers) impacted by the proposed activity locally and globally.
  • Clear identification of target beneficiaries/customers and general information by demographic disaggregations (i.e., gender, age, income, geography, etc.)

2. Cost-effectiveness

DIV will assess the application for the degree to which it demonstrates:

  • Clear justification that the innovation can achieve better results at lower cost and be more effective at solving the problem than the status quo or alternatives.
  • Potential social benefit to beneficiaries/customers and society.
  • The possibility of sustainably reaching millions of individuals within ten years.
  • Legitimate justification for funding amount requested.

3. Evidence & Evaluation

DIV will assess the application for the degree to which the proposed evaluation efforts demonstrate:

  • A clear theory of change that draws upon existing evidence when applicable/available, either from valid sources and/or previous implementation experience.
  • Well-defined metrics or key performance indicators to judge success of the project including proof-of-concept viability, commercial viability, causal impact, cost-effectiveness, reach, and other social impact.
  • Clear explanation of how the metrics would be collected including relevant assumptions for early stage applicants.
  • Appropriate choice of methodology for assessing the commercial viability, cost-effectiveness, and/or development impact of the innovation.
  • Demonstrates commitment to measure and evaluate the project to capture results truthfully and pivot when necessary to achieve greater impact and scale.

4. Implementation

DIV will assess the application for the degree to which the proposed implementation activities demonstrate:

  • Stage-appropriate plans to build operational capacity, systems, and partnerships to drive the project or organization towards scale.
  • A clear theory of change that draws upon existing evidence when applicable/available and a clear understanding of current barriers to success.
  • Ability of the applicant to successfully implement and execute the project as designed, which includes demonstrated past experience with projects of similar magnitude, complexity, objectives or in similar contexts.
  • Reasonable tests of technical, organization, distribution, and financial viability in a real world setting that can inform future implementation.
  • Clear systems to document project execution including the costs of implementation and ongoing financial requirements.
  • Commitment to testing theory of change and pivoting when necessary to achieve greater impact and scale.

5. Sustainability and Pathway to Scale

DIV will assess the application for the degree to which the project team demonstrates:


  • A stage-appropriate, targeted strategy for securing long-term financial viability and engagement of stakeholders that will drive the organization towards sustainability after DIV funding has ended.
  • Clear plans to sustain long-term viability of the project/organization by way of growth in revenue, increased beneficiaries/customers, greater adoption, through acquisition, etc.


  • A clear methodology for the intended pathway to scale.
  • Potential for partnerships with government, private sector, and/or other donor/funder to attain social impact goals.
  • Clear demonstration that DIV funds will be used to effectively catalyze expansion of the solution, including strategic use of leverage and/or cost-share.
  • Realistic assessment of future challenges and risks anticipated and practical mitigation plans to address them. 
  • An evidence grant application does not require a detailed sustainability and scale plan.

6. Project Team

DIV will assess the application for the degree to which the project team (including partners) demonstrates:

  • Clear demonstration of expertise and relevant experience to execute the proposed plans.
  • Clear assignment of key roles and level of effort (percent of full time) across the team, as deemed necessary for success.
  • Clear understanding of current context on the ground and potential challenges to implementation, as well as capabilities to address them should they occur.
  • For Stage 2 proposals, a credible pathway to scale is essential and involvement/commitment of partners will be part of the assessment; For Stage 3 proposals, there should be involvement and/or commitment of stakeholders essential to ensure significant scale.

Last updated: September 07, 2018

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