In this blog post we will explain our reasoning behind adding categories, removing deadlines, and debuting our concept note walkthrough video.
We announced earlier this month that we’re accepting applications again for the Internet Freedom Fund, and discussed some of the changes we’ve made to our application in-take process, including a “single button application” and unified concept note. Since the new concept note is the first step in applying for funding from OTF, we created a walkthrough video explaining the concept note, and what we’re looking for under each question.
We hope that this video, in combination with our updated guidebook, will help guide you better through the process of applying for funding from OTF. The video is part of our commitment to encourage applications from first-time applicants, as well as newcomers to the field of internet freedom. Please let us know if you have any feedback.
New Application Categories
If you are familiar with OTF’s previous concept note form, you may have noticed a couple new questions. One of these asks you to choose a category that best describes your project. This question helps us understand the nature of your project, and reflects the variety of efforts that we support. We currently have four categories, technology development, digital security support, applied research, and community convenings. As part of our single button apply, you can apply for any effort under these four categories using the unified concept note.
We understand that projects may contain a mix of activities from the above categories (and that’s fine!), but for this question we are looking for the one that characterizes the main focus of the effort. This categorization helps us understand the nature of the effort, allowing us to ask the right questions if we decide to invite you to a proposal, as each category will have some bespoke proposal stage questions. From a more macro level, this also helps us understand where our support is going, and helps prioritize internal resources to best support the community. We will dig deeper into each category in future blog posts to help explain what we are looking for and elaborate on the questions we ask for each in the proposal stage.
No More Deadlines
Finally, we want to talk about deadlines. We are switching from doing bimonthly funding rounds, to accepting applications on a rolling basis. What this means for applicants is that you no longer have to wait two months if you’ve missed a round deadline, and no applicant will have to wait more than six weeks at most to hear back from us after they submit a concept note. From our perspective, instead of processing a lot of applications every two months, we are looking forward to more flexibility in our internal processes to review applications as they come in, allowing us to get back to applicants much quicker and give ourselves the space to give each application an adequate amount of feedback.
If you have any other questions or comments about the process, or if you’re curious about other OTF application topics to cover in our blog posts, please feel free to reach out to [email protected].
- Program Update