Detailed Grant Criteria
Before filling out an application for a Metelyk Grant, please review our areas of focus, criteria, and eligible expenses below.
(1) Areas of Focus
We are most interested in projects related to:
Increasing children’s and young people’s community involvement, civic responsibility, motivation, and leadership skills.
Empowering vulnerable populations
We do not fund:
Brand-new ideas without a track record of past work
Primary research (i.e. trying to discover or invent something that may or may not work).
We do not provide grant funding to businesses
One-time events/festivals unless these will have a measurable long-term impact on the participants
Projects focused solely on preserving traditional/local arts, history, culture
Animal welfare projects
(A) Relevant Problem
The project should aim to solve a critical national or regional problem (please provide evidence of the problem if possible). We give preference to projects in one of our focus areas. We will consider other types of projects, but we will generally not fund projects in areas where we have no knowledge or expertise, as it is difficult for us to effectively support and evaluate such projects.
(B) Effective Solution
We look for projects that have a high likelihood of effectively solving (or partially solving) the identified problem. It is helpful to show evidence that your idea will work - for example, data about the success of similar initiatives in other places, data from similar prior projects you’ve done, results from surveys of the target population to show their interest in the project or the need for your project.
One question that comes up in many applications is demand. If you are creating an informal education opportunity, will students in your town want to participate? If you are launching a recycling program, will enough people in the community start recycling?
(C) Strong Team
One of the first questions we ask is whether the project team has the skills, motivation, and capacity to carry out the planned project. The specific qualities we look for are -
Subject matter expertise: if you want to build an app, do you have developers on your team? If you want to teach financial literacy, is one of your team members an expert on the subject? If you’re aiming to encourage teens in your city to be more socially active, are your team members intimately familiar with all the various local NGOs and interesting opportunities for youth? For all projects, do you know what other organizations in Ukraine are working to solve the same problem and can you evaluate their efforts?
Project management expertise: Do you have prior experience carrying out complex projects?
Organization: Have you worked together before? Do you have processes in place to smoothly coordinate and manage the project? Is it clear which team member is responsible for what? Do team members have the necessary free time to execute the project at a high level of quality?
Partnerships: Do you have relationships with and support from established nonprofits, local businesses, schools and youth organizations, etc? Depending on the project, partnerships are desirable but not required.
Passion: Is the team passionate about the problem and their project? Or are they simply looking for a way to earn money? Is the team committed to working on the idea for many years to come?
(D) Strong Implementation Plan
Our motto for project implementation is: Minimize risk, maximize the chances of success.
A great idea from a good team will catch our attention, but we cannot provide funding without a logical, high-quality plan to execute the project. We have seen many excellent projects (both social and business) run by experienced, passionate teams that ultimately fail due to a flawed plan of execution.
So, we want to know that you have planned out your project in as much detail as possible. For example, if you are planning to offer classes or events, we’ll want to know details such as: How many? How long will each one last? How many attendees at each? Who will attend and how will you find and motivate these people to participate? What is the format and planned topics of discussion? Who will lead each training and what is their background? For other types of projects, the questions will be different, but the level of detail will be the same.
A clear timeline and detailed budget are also extremely important.
We almost always want to see projects that start small and grow organically. We prefer to provide a series of grants to help support a project as it grows rather than one large grant at the beginning. Starting small allows you to ensure that your idea and plan work as you expected them to, collect feedback from the people you’re trying to help, and fix any issues that come up. Then, once you start seeing positive results, you can grow the project.
As a small fund, we generally cannot make a large upfront investment when it is still unclear whether the project will work as planned. If your project does require a major investment to get started, another grantmaker is probably a better fit.
(E) Butterfly Effect
We are interested in projects that have the potential for positive impact far beyond our grant. There are several ways to create a butterfly effect:
One is to design a project that has a regional or national audience, reaching many thousands of people.
Another is to create a project that is financially sustainable and will continue growing for many years to come.
If you are working on a local project, you can create a butterfly effect by designing a project that can be expanded or replicated in other areas (for example, the main project team might provide inspiration and practical advice to interested teams in other areas). If you have this kind of project, it will help to give us a clear plan for how to reach out to others to replicate your idea - what relationships do you have or how do you plan to form new relationships and with whom? What information and resources will you share and how?
(F) Measurable Impact
We want to fund projects that have a concrete long-term impact on people and communities. In your application, it is important to explain how you will ensure and measure impact. Think about long-term impact (not just “Did the attendees like our program?” but “How are the attendees’ behaviors different 6 months or 1 year after the program is complete?”)
(G) High Need
When we are choosing between excellent applications that meet all of the above criteria, one final deciding factor is the level of need. For example, requesting the latest technology to improve an already high-quality program will be a lower priority for us.
(3) Eligible Expenses
We want to be as flexible as possible in providing funding for all necessary expenses. However, due to our small size, we prefer to work with cost-effective projects. The idea of starting small and growing organically is a good guiding principle here as well.
Some specific guidelines:
Professional design services (to design logos, brochures, etc.): We typically cannot fund expenses for professional designers. Most projects can operate successfully without such expenditures.
Branded merchandise: We generally cannot fund branded bags, t-shirts, sweatshirts, pens, etc. We have found that this is not the most effective way to spread the word about an initiative and is rarely necessary for project success. Further, it is usually difficult to measure the impact of giving away branded merchandise.
Advertising/marketing: We don’t fund most advertising and marketing expenditures, because we believe the most effective approach to advertising a social project is reaching out directly to the target audience (post an announcement in the social media groups they are using, contact schools, NGOs, and other organizations to tell them about your project directly, etc).
Laptops/projectors/phones/etc: We will fund technology if it is absolutely necessary for a project’s success. Again, we believe it is better to start small, show results, and then think about extra items that might improve the project/amplify its impact.
Salaries and wages: We believe social projects are most likely to succeed when they are led by passionate teams whose primary motivation is not financial. At the same time, we understand that some applicants see their community work as a primary (or secondary) job and would like to receive a source of income from the project that would allow them to dedicate the necessary time to executing it on a high level.
Generally, we believe new projects should be led by volunteer teams. If specific professional services are needed to complete the project, teams should explore the possibility of receiving these on a pro bono or discounted basis.
Once projects have shown positive results and the team is focusing on growing the project and increasing impact, we support exploring reasonable salaries for key team members based on the amount of work they complete.
A final note: Our policies come from studying successful nonprofits such as Ukraine Global Scholars, which has achieved incredible results with minimal expenditures in the above categories. It is also important to know that we follow our own guidelines: we are a volunteer team, we rely on pro bono services, we use our own existing technology, we do not spend money on advertising or branding, etc.