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Digital Impact Grants FAQ

This page will be updated throughout the grant application window. Please contact us with additional questions.

Digital Impact hosted two live Q&A webinars to answer questions from prospective applicants:


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the grant period? What is the payment schedule?

The grant period lasts one year, from Fall 2018 to Fall 2019. Funds will be disbursed in a single transfer upon completion of all required documents by the grantee and final approval by Stanford at the beginning of the grant period. Grant extension requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis. If you plan to submit a proposal for a multi-year project, please be very clear about what you plan to accomplish during the first year. Final disbursement of funds is contingent upon successful completion of all documentation required by Stanford University. 

Why does the grant come from Stanford University?

Digital Impact is an initiative of the Digital Civil Society Lab at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS). Digital Impact Grants are sub-awards from Stanford University, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. If your project involves certain data-collection activities such as surveying or interviewing human subjects, your project may require IRB approval from Stanford or your home institution, which can delay dusbursement of funds.

If I have another grant from the Gates Foundation or another subaward from Stanford University, am I eligible to apply for a Digital Impact Grant?

Yes, you may still apply for a Digital Impact Grant if you have existing funding from the Gates Foundation and/or from Stanford University.

Can grant funds be used to pay salaries?

Yes! People make programs happen, and these grants can be used to support team member salaries, as well as payments to freelancers and contractors. As long as you’re using funds for legal activities that are fundamental to your project, you won’t run into any restrictions regarding how you allocate the grant money.

Is there a limit on indirect costs?

Yes, the indirect cost (IDC) limit is 10%.

Can funds be distributed to multiple organizations working together on a single grant project?

For each funded grant, a single organization must receive the funds from Stanford. If your project involves multiple organizations, the organization receiving the funds from Stanford may then distribute funds as needed to other organizations involved with the project. 

Is there a set number of research grants and innovation grants?

No. We are aiming to award 5-10 total grants, and the final numbers will depend on how many of each type of application we receive.

Will funding be considered for activities that have just started?

Yes. Grants are available for new projects, or for in-progress projects that are in the implementation or improvement stage.

I want to apply for a sector grant to design a tool that will be open source but may involve a fee from a third party for using it. Is this eligible under the Digital Impact Grants open access policy?

Most likely not. We want the innovations these grants support to be readily accessible and freely available to nonprofit organizations across the sector.

When will grant recipients receive their funds?

All grantees will be notified about their status in August 2018. The invoicing process for issuing checks in conjunction with the Stanford University finance system involves multiple steps and can take from several weeks to several months depending on the approvals and documentation needed.

Is there a preference for team projects over individual ones?

The preference is for teams, particularly those with members who cut across multiple nonprofit sectors or even across the research/sector divide. Though it’s not necessarily a requirement to take this interdisciplinary approach, teams of grantees of diverse backgrounds may have greater capacity to facilitate adoption of their work.

Can I send my grant application/project proposal to the Digital Impact team for feedback in advance of the due date?

Due to the high volume of prospective applicants, we most likely cannot provide detailed feedback, but we will do our best to answer specific questions about your application.

Will I receive feedback on my proposal if it is not selected?

Currently we do not have the capacity to provide detailed feedback on every application – either before or after the application deadline – nor to schedule follow-up calls or meetings with teams whose applications were not selected for funding.

Is there any chance my team could be awarded partial funding for our project?

Possibly. Once the application review team settles on the final pool of projects they wish to fund, they may contact some applicants to inquire about what could potentially be accomplished at a lower level of funding.

Is there a limit to how many grants one person/organization can apply for?

A particular individual or organization is unlikely to have multiple projects funded, so we encourage applicants to propose a single project.

How will proposals be evaluated?

Grant proposals will be evaluated in a multi-stage review process involving the Digital Impact team and a panel of external reviewers from across the social sector. Criteria for evaluation include the project’s potential to improve the social sector’s digital infrastructure and/or its use of digital resources; the project’s potential to impact the sector broadly beyond a single organization, issue area, or geographic area; the project’s potential to contribute new knowledge or resources to the sector; and the quality of the project team’s plan for sharing and communicating the outputs and learnings from the project.

Where can I see what projects have been funded in the past?

View previous cohorts by year here.

I have a question that I don’t see listed here. How do I get in touch?

Contact us using the form on this page.