Contact the NJ Office of
Faith Based Initiatives
NJ Office of Faith Based Initiatives
P.O. Box 456
Trenton, New Jersey 08625

Tel: (609) 984-6952
Fax: (609) 633-7141

Email: Feedback@sos.nj.gov
Become a OFBI Peer Reviewer

What is a Peer Review?
The OFBI engages persons with expertise from various fields to read applications and provide an analysis and rating of the quality of each grant application based upon published selection criteria. The ratings submitted by the Peer Reviewers are considered by the OFBI in making funding decisions and to provide feedback to applicants.

What are the responsibilities of Reviewers?
The primary responsibilities of Reviewers are to participate in the provided orientations and trainings, and to read, and provided an appraisal of applications. This is done in Trenton utilizing the System for Administering Grants Electronically (SAGE) which provides documents prepared for the review.

What are the qualifications of Peer Reviewers?
We seek a diverse group of people with expertise (a minimum of 3 years) in a variety of relevant areas and ability to objectively assess the quality of grant applications. Reviewers are held to high-standards of writing and the paramount responsibility of preserving the integrity of the review (by omitting or reporting potential bias, or conflicts of interest).  Reviewers should be comfortable reading submitted applications in a defined period of time and be capable of providing in-depth individual analysis, and/or participating in small group discussions about the applications.

Current Reviewers include practitioners, educators, administrators/managers, analysts, researchers, funders, entrepreneurs, evaluators, and board members. Their expertise should include at least 3 years in to include but not limited to Micro Business Development, Youth College Readiness, Social Entrepreneurship, Youth Entrepreneurship, Substance Abuse Recovery Support Services, Social Services, Nonprofit Management, and Program Evaluation.

Some of the places Reviewers work or volunteer in are: community or faith-based organizations, national organizations, national or community foundations, national and local non-profits, municipal, state or federal agencies, higher education, or elementary, middle and high schools.

Reviewers are selected for RFP reviews based on education and experience specific to a funding category.  Once you have completed an application, and your background is appropriate for a competition, a OFBI representative contacts you by e-mail to check on your availability to participate in the review process. We often have more peer review applicants than we may need for a year, but we will maintain your application in our database for future reviews.

What is the time commitment for participating in a review?
The OFBI’s peer review process is a time-intensive and time-sensitive activity. The components of a review and an estimate for the amount of time each item takes are as follows:

  • Orientation webinar of instructions for each review: 1 hour
  • In-Home review will begin in May 2017, and in-person (deliberation) review will last 3-5 hours per application category reviewed (reading, completing all documents, entering assessments into SAGE, participating in panel discussions, and reviewing and certifying final forms in Trenton). Please be advised that all of these dates are  subject to change.

What are other benefits of being a peer reviewer or facilitator?
Participating in a review is an excellent professional development opportunity, as well as a chance to serve. The OFBI provides extensive training and preparation as well as individual support throughout the process.  You will be exposed to new and innovative ideas in your field and engaged in the grant-making process of a major funder of service and volunteerism while meeting and networking with other experts in your profession. The review experience also provides an in-depth look at the work and efforts of a grant evaluation process; this provides perspective and skills that are applicable in other professional endeavors.

All approved peer reviewers will receive a stipend. Stipend amount will be based on the number of applications you’re assigned. 

Is there a deadline?
We invite Panel Reviewers to complete the Peer Reviewer Application and submit by no later than March 15, 2017 via an email to: edward.laporte@sos.nj.gov. Your application will be reviewed to determine if your experiences match the expertise needed for specific reviews.

If I work or serve in a OFBI-funded program or my organization is applying for OFBI funds, may I serve as a Reviewer or Panel Coordinator?
You may not serve as a Reviewer in the type of program for which you work or serve. For instance, if you are part of an organization that is seeking a OFBI grant, you may not be eligible to review OFBI applications. Inquire with OFBI staff to be sure, as each potential conflict of interest is determined on its own merits.

What happens next?
If you would like to be considered as a Peer Reviewer, complete the Peer Reviewer Application found at the bottom of this page

Who do I contact if I have a question?
If you have specific questions about the content of the peer reviewer application, or additional questions about the peer review experience, please e-mail us at: kyesha.harris@sos.nj.gov.

Download the Application
FY2018 Peer Reviewer Application
PDF (623kb)
Word Doc (1.67mb)