DIV is open year-round and accepts applications on a rolling basis.
DIV can fund projects from anyone, in any country where USAID operates. Strong applicants will demonstrate an in-depth understanding of DIV’s funding criteria. Read the Application Steps listed below, as well as What We Look For and Funding Guidelines to learn more about the application process.
Step 1: Learn about DIV and decide whether it's right for you
Review our official USAID website as well as this online engagement community, including our helpful Resources for applicants, and browse profiles our portfolio organizations, to decide for yourself whether you think you're a strong contender for DIV and whether you think DIV support could be useful for you. Be sure to review our guidance on What We Look For and our Funding Guidelines, which describe DIV’s evaluation criteria, as well as DIV’s Annual Program Statement, Frequently Asked Questions, and "DIV 101" overview presentation, all of which are available under Resources. Only applicants that demonstrate a full understanding of DIV’s evaluation criteria will be considered for funding; reviewing all of these resources in advance of preparing your application is critical. DIV receives approximately 1,000-1,200 EOIs each year.
Step 2: Submit your brief application to DIV to start the process, at any time
Prepare your initial application to DIV - also known as the Expression of Interest (EOI) - using the MicroSoft Word form downloadable under Resources. This is the first step in the DIV application process. It is intentionally a short application of no more than 8 pages. In it, you describe the goals, outcomes, outputs and activities of the proposed project, as well as your innovation’s cost-effectiveness, evidence of impact, and pathways to scale, in response to various questions. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, year-round. Approximately 90% of applicants will be rejected on the basis of the EOI, within 2-3 months of receipt of the EOI.
Step 3: Participate in DIV due diligence process
The approximately 10% of applicants that pass the EOI review move into the due diligence stage of DIV's application process. During this phase, applicants will have the opportunity to pitch their proposal, while DIV gets to know the applicant and gains a deeper understanding of the proposal. During this phase, DIV may request to interview the applicant one or more times, request supplementary materials on various issues, submit follow-up questions to the applicant, contact other funders of and partners to the applicant, engage experts within USAID and external experts to review and comment on specific elements of the application, and any other information-gathering DIV deems necessary to fully evaluate the potential of the innovation. DIV does not require a standardized full written application from applicants; rather, the collective body of materials and information collected from and about the proposal, including the EOI, will be considered the full application. The due diligence process typically takes 2-5 months, depending on a variety of factors, such as technical complexity of a proposal, and is led by a deal team, composed of two members of the DIV team.
Step 4: Recommendation time
Once the DIV deal team has determined it has sufficient information to present the application to a decision panel (also known as a technical evaluation committee or "TEC"), DIV will convene a panel, involving at least one external expert. The panel makes a funding recommendation based on the deal team's assessment, after which an applicant will receive an official "Notice of Intent to Award." DIV may, but is not required to and often does not, request the participation of an applicant in part of the decision panel. Approximately 2-3% of DIV applications are recommended for funding for funding each year, depending on a variety of factors, including total funding available and the mix of awards of different sizes (Stage 1 v. Stage 2 v. Stage 3)
Step 5: Negotiate and finalize the grant award
Once you have been recommended for funding, you enter the grant award negotiation and finalization process, which involves primarily the USAID Office of Acquisition and Assistance (OAA) and the DIV deal team. In addition to completing various additional materials required by the Agency, an important part of this process is negotiating the milestones that will form the backbone of the award - tranches of payment will be tied to specific milestones. The award negotiation and finalization process can take 2-5 months, depending on a variety of factors.
Step 6: Get funded!
Once OAA has determined that all requirements have been met, OAA will award the grant. From date of EOI submission to date of award finalization, it can take anywhere between 8 and 12 months, regardless of stage of award.
NOTE: Unfortunately, at this time, DIV is not accepting applications where the proposed activities will be conducted in Haiti due to Haiti-specific funding constraints.