Grant Scoring Criteria

This page identifies the seven elements that may be contained in CalRecycle grant proposals and provides general content prompts.

  1. Need (or Problem) and Justification
  2. Goals and Objectives
  3. Work Plan (i.e., Project Description)
  4. Evaluation
  5. Budget
  6. Application Completeness
  7. Evidence of a Recycled-Content Purchasing Policy or Directive

You may also want to view the grant scoring criteria template. This template is customized by CalRecycle grant programs and included in the application package.

1. Need and Justification

  • What exactly is the need or problem you’re addressing?
  • Why is the project needed–locally, regionally, statewide?
    • Cleanup of environmental hazard
    • Decrease risk to public health and safety
    • Conservation of natural resources
  • What factors contribute to the problem? What are the health and safety threats, or environmental concerns?
    • “Local surveys show…”
    • “National data indicate…”
  • Justify the need with data! Don’t assume “everyone knows…” “It’s perfectly clear…”
  • What are the current unmet needs/gaps in services? What are the inadequacies of the current program (if one exists?)
  • What is the demand for services? (Don’t confuse demand with need.)
  • How will California (or your community) benefit?
  • Are there any groups to be targeted or who might especially benefit (e.g., limited or non-English speaking, children….)?
  • What would happen (or not happen) if you don’t get this grant?
  • Why do you need the grant? How will it benefit your organization?
  • Provide examples of current or previous related experience (grant funded or not) that supports the project and justifies the approach. “We’ve chosen this strategy based on…”
  • Identify relevant community assets. (What currently exists that serve as strengths?)
  • Explain any unique opportunity.

2. Goals and Objectives

What do you hope to accomplish?

“Freddie’s Tire Company hopes to establish a new…” “hopes to expand our existing…”

  • State your goal as an outcome or result. (Make sure it relates to the problem you’ve described/need you’ve identified.)
  • Write specific, measurable objectives.
    • “Increase public awareness of…”
    • “50 percent of participants will adopt new guidelines for…”
  • Can the objectives be met within the grant term?

3. Work Plan (Methodology)

  • What are the major activities/tasks?
  • Who will do them?
  • What is the timeframe for accomplishing them?
  • Who needs to be involved (cooperate) for project success?
  • How much/what will be delivered or produced?
  • Why is this the best approach?
  • What is the plan for sustaining the project after the grant period (if applicable)?

TasksStaffTimeframeUnits of Service/ Deliverables

4. Evaluation

What are the success indicators? How will you measure the degree to which you’ve achieved your objectives?

  • Describe both process (units of service) and outcome (effectiveness) indicators, where possible:
    • Process
      • “Six training workshops will be delivered in the rural portions of the county.”
      • “A technical manual for implementing a waste reduction program will be produced.”
    • Outcome
      • Change in number of workplace injuries (fewer incidents).
      • Change in customer satisfaction (fewer complaints).
  • Identify the data to be collected and the method for collecting it (surveys, questionnaires, observations, focus groups).
  • Identify which position(s) will be responsible for collecting data, measuring progress, and reporting.
  • How will you apply evaluation findings to program modification/improvement?
  • Don’t forget to include the cost of evaluation when developing the budget.

5. Budget

What resources are needed to successfully carry out and manage the program? What other resources are available from the organization to support the program?

  • When developing a budget, think about things such as:
    • Will there be extra costs associated with recruiting new staff?
    • Will outside consultants be required?
    • Are fees and rates expected to increase significantly during the grant period?
    • Will any program incentives be required to encourage participation?
  • Prepare your budget on the required form, if supplied. Use CalRecycle’s budget categories, if provided.
  • Show total cost as well as the amount being requested from funder.
  • Provide itemized breakdown associated with major activities, if required by funder.
  • Attach estimates or quotes, where applicable. Check math in all calculations!
  • Identify any discounts or cost savings:
    • Recycling options
    • In-kind services
    • Volunteer labor
    • Per-unit efficiencies (e.g., reduced cost per tire)
  • Make sure there’s a close match-up between the scope of work and budget request.

6. Application Completeness

  • Include any required attachments:
    • Letters of commitment/MOUs.
    • General Checklist of Business Permits, Licenses, and Filings (CalRecycle Form 669).
    • Resumes of key project personnel and any contractors.
    • Certification forms.
    • Checklist forms.
  • Number pages sequentially.
  • Check that all pages have been included and copied and the required number of copies have been provided.
  • Check mailing address or acceptable method of delivery.

7. Evidence of Recycled-Content Purchasing Policy or Directive

  • Describe the recycle-content purchasing policy that’s in place.
  • Document appropriate practices.
  • Briefly explain how you will evaluate and modify any applicable policies.
  • More information on CalRecycle’s recycled content (green procurement) criteria…

For more information contact: Financial Assistance,