Becoming an assessor
We are always happy to hear from people anywhere in Scotland who feel they could support the Foundation with their experience and expertise as Volunteer Assessors. It’s a rewarding experience, both for the assessors and the groups they help fund.  

What’s involved?
Assessors undertake to independently carry out assessments of applications received by the Foundation. They do this from their own homes – we mail the applications to them. The work involves reviewing the application form and supporting documents, making a telephone call to the applicant and usually the referee and then writing a short report. The report and documents are then returned to the Foundation. In total, it usually takes 2 to 3 hours to complete an assessment.

Assessment reports are presented to the Grants Committee at its regular meetings where decisions are made on all Main Grant applications.

What kind of people are you looking for?
Generally, our Assessors have some knowledge and experience of community development or social welfare issues, and how they affect people in Scotland. They may have gained this through their work or through their voluntary activities. They have good communication skills and are numerate, with sufficient ability to scrutinise a project budget although they do not need accountancy skills. They often have experience of running community-based projects of some kind and understand at first hand the challenges which community and voluntary groups face, including fundraising.

We are looking for people across Scotland with either a general interest in our work or a particular interest and skill in some of the different kinds of project we fund. For example: youth work, the disabled, social inclusion, community education, arts, environment, pre-school education, drug and alcohol misuse and health issues.

What’s the commitment?
We expect Volunteer Assessors to undertake assessments on a reasonably regular basis, with allowances for holidays or other temporary commitments, of course. We always check with Assessors before we send them applications. Assessors usually receive one or two applications at a time and we ask them to be completed and returned within 3 weeks.

We also expect Volunteer Assessors to attend at least one training event a year.

What training do Assessors receive?
New assessors attend an initial training event, usually with other new assessors, where they meet members of our grants staff, find out about the Foundation, our grant programmes and the assessment criteria and processes.

Assessors receive an Assessment Handbook to guide them in carrying out assessments and completing reports.

For existing assessors, we organise regular training events covering subjects such as reading accounts and updating assessors on new programmes, processes or policy developments.

Events are organised at venues around Scotland, although currently the majority are in Edinburgh or Glasgow. Travel expenses and where necessary, overnight accommodation is provided by the Foundation.

The Foundation’s grants staff are always happy to provide advice or support over the telephone, if necessary.

What about expenses?
Volunteer Assessors receive no payment for their time, but we do reimburse all reasonable expenditure. Expenses are usually limited to travel costs to attend training events and telephone charges.

Can I choose which applications I assess?
Assessors can specify themes or geographic areas which they are particularly interested in assessing applications for, or conversely which they do not wish to assess.

What about conflicts of interest?
We ask Volunteer Assessors to complete a Declaration of Interests, listing their affiliations and those of their immediate family. Naturally they won’t receive applications from groups in which they could be perceived to have an interest. However, by their very nature, our Assessors are often well-connected people. We also expect Assessors to tell us if they are asked to assess an application which they have a connection to.

How do I apply to become a Volunteer Assessor?
Contact the grants team at our Glasgow office to request a brief application form. We’ll also be happy to chat with you if you’d like to find out more.

Becoming an assessor