Procurement Processes

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Digital Square will pursue a competitive procurement process to facilitate Digital Square Investments in Global Goods.[1] A competitive process provides capable entities the opportunity to submit bids in a fair and transparent process for a committee to evaluate bids and to select the successful applicant(s). In order to foster competition in alignment with funder expectations, Digital Square will release solicitations through the following methods.

1. Open Application Process (OAP) Solicitation, referred to as a Notice.
2. Request for Application (RFA).
Procurement Process 1.png

The investment decision may be made by the Governing Board or funder prior to the solicitation and will depend on:

A. Whether the funder decides to maintain or relinquish the investment decision to the Governing Board.[2]
B. Whether the funder has specific business requirements attached to the funding opportunity. This may include the time frames for which funding is available or the need to coordinate with other investments.[3]

For more information on the overall process for selected applicants, please review the Global Good Investment Process.

Types of Procurement Processes

Open Application Process

Digital Square facilitates a regular solicitation through the OAP platform referred to as the Notice. In this website, applicants publicly post concept notes and applications, providing applicants the opportunity to find collaborators and provide and receive feedback from your peers.

The following outlines the timelines of the application process:

Step #: Summary Description Approximate Timeline
Preparation Phase
Step 1: Solicitation preparation Digital Square works with the funder to secure investment and refine the scope of work for the solicitation.
Concept Note Phase
Step 2: Concept note development Digital Square issues a call for applications, and applicants upload concept notes to Digital Square's public-facing OAP platform. In the first 2 to 4 weeks, as outlined by the solicitation, applicants will submit concept notes.

Applicants must use the concept note template.

2 weeks
Step 3: Concept note review In the few weeks following the concept note submission deadline, other applicants and/or other stakeholders in the community may provide feedback, comments, and suggestions, as well as identify potential areas for collaboration. 3 weeks
Step 4: Digital Square review of concept notes Following the concept note review, Digital Square assesses concept notes to ensure alignment with the initiative vision and funding round objectives identified in the Notice. Digital Square eliminates concept notes that are not strategically aligned with the above.

Digital Square identifies a set of short-listed concept notes based on the Notice criteria and emails applicants who are eligible to move on to the application phase.

1 week
Application Phase
Step 5: Preliminary technical application co-creation Using feedback received in the Concept Note Phase, applicants will begin preliminary application development.

Applicants must use the technical application template and post an application iteration on the OAP platform in the first 2 weeks. The comment feature is available beginning the day of application posting. The subsequent 2 weeks of this step, the applicant should continue to iterate on the application submission based on comments from other applicants and stakeholders. At the conclusion of this step, Digital Square will close the ability to upload new content to OAP platform.

4 weeks
Step 6: Preliminary technical application comment period Following preliminary application development step, Digital Square will close the ability to upload content to the OAP platform.

During this time, other applicants and other stakeholders in the community should provide feedback, comments, and suggestions.

2 weeks
Step 7: Application finalization Using feedback during the preliminary technical application comment period, applicants revise the technical application, develop a budget and budget narrative, and submit these to the Digital Square OAP platform. Applicants must use the provided technical application, budget, and budget narrative templates.

The budget and budget narrative are not shared publicly on the platform. Commenters see only the high-level summary budget provided in the technical application.

2 weeks
Review and Investment Phase
Step 8: Peer Review Committee (PRC) review Digital Square groups applications for Peer Review Committee scoring and technical feedback. Three PRC members will review each application.

The Peer Review Committee reviews applications according to the Prioritization Framework, notice scope of work technical requirements and evaluates applications as green-, amber-, or red-lit per the Peer Review Committee Membership Policy. Green-lit applications are recommended for funding immediately; amber-lit applications are recommended for future funding or further exploration; red-lit applications do not fully meet the selection standards/criteria. The Peer Review Committee sees only the high-level summary budget. Proprietary information including salaries, indirect rates, or other factors are not shared with anyone outside of the funder and Digital Square.

3 weeks
Step 9A: Digital Square recommendation


Step 9B: Digital Square compilation

Digital Square compiles the evaluation provided by the Peer Review Committee by clustering the applications according to the Prioritization Framework for Governing Board review.

Digital Square creates an investment package recommendation of the highly scored applications for the Governing Board based on the funding round objectives, donor priorities, and Digital Square vision.


Digital Square compiles the evaluation provided by the Peer Review Committee by clustering the applications into thematic areas for funder review.

2 weeks

1 week

Step 10A: Board review


Step 10B: Funder review and Board notification

Digital Square presents the applications, high-level budget summary, Peer Review Committee feedback within the [Prioritization Framework], and Digital Square recommendation to the Governing Board.

The Governing Board evaluates whether to approve the investment packages and reserves the right to modify the recommendation at their discretion.


The funder makes the investment decision.

Digital Square notifies the Governing Board of the funder evaluation and investment decision. This step will occur during routine Governing Board communications.

Per schedule
Step 11A: Award Phase


Step 11B: Award Phase

Digital Square shares the investment decisions approved by the Governing Board with applicants. Upon applicant request, Peer Review Committee feedback shall be shared with applicant.

Investment decisions are contingent on funder approval.


The result of funder investment decisions are communicated to the submitters. Upon applicant request, Peer Review Committee feedback shall be shared with the submitters. Investment decisions are contingent on funder approval.

Procurement Process 2.png

Request for Application (RFA)

There are various reasons why a funder may not be able to engage in the OAP notice process. Some may want to engage Digital Square in a funding action outside of scheduled notice or in a particular thematic or program-focused area that is not conducive to a notice. In these cases, Digital Square may facilitate a release of an RFA. For currently open RFAs, navigate to Digital Square’s solicitations website. The following is a description phases and steps of an RFA process.

Step #: Summary Description
Step 1: Solicitation preparation Digital Square works with the funder to refine the scope of work for the solicitation, including the timeline.

An RFA is appropriate if the selected applicant will have its performance measured against programmatic objectives; has responsibility for programmatic decision-making; or is responsible for adherence to funder requirements. An RFA will result in Digital Square issuing a subagreement. For active RFAs, visit the solicitations page of the Digital Square website.

A solicitation will include:

  • Basis for why the procurement needs to be done.
  • Information to which the applicant must comply to be considered for selection.
  • Criteria for selection that will be used to fairly evaluate applicant responses.
  • Basis for which the applicant evaluation and decisions will be made.
  • Terms and conditions that the applicant will be required to abide by if they are selected.
  • Process for applicant queries.
Step 2: Solicitation Digital Square issues the RFA.
Step 3: Determine evaluation committee Digital Square will establish an evaluation committee to review the RFA. The minimum standard for an evaluation committee is that it must include:
1. An odd number of evaluators[4] (i.e., at least 3 people).
2. One of the 3 must be a person from the Digital Square operations team.
3. A funder may elect to be part of the evaluation committee or may not.[5]
4. An evaluation committee member must disclose any conflict of interest to ensure there is no selection bias.
Step 4: Evaluation committee review The evaluation committee reviews applications according to evaluation criteria and scores submissions based on the RFA.
Step 5: Funder review Digital Square compiles the applications, budget, and breakdown of the evaluation committee and provides them to the funder who makes the decision for investment.
Step 6: Board notification Digital Squares notifies the Governing Board of the funder evaluation and investment decision. This step will occur during routine Governing Board communications.
Step 7: Award The result of the funder decision and evaluation committee feedback are communicated to the applicants.
Procurement Process 3.png
  1. PATH, as an organization, and Digital Square, as an initiative, are committed to the requirements of our donors as well as our own procurement and selection policies. To that end, we will strive to maintain a fair, free, and equitable competitive process for any release of funds through the initiative, however, issuance of this RFA/RFP/Notice does not constitute an award commitment on the part of PATH. Nor does it commit PATH to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of an application.
  2. OAP Notice Step 10A on this page outlines the process whereby the funder relinquishes an investment decision to the Governing Board.
  3. OAP Notice Step 10B on this page outlines the process whereby the funder maintains the investment decision.
  4. Evaluators may be from one or more entities.
  5. A funder may elect to include as many or as few people as they want on the evaluation committee. They may be a voting member or may not be; this is up to their own discretion.