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    Applications are now available for the spring 2021 (S21) batch. Please review all application requirements before applying. Click here to apply.


    Successful ideas are those that 1) tackle growth opportunities for the UI advancement program that are not being addressed or addressed well by anyone in the industry or 2) disrupt the advancement or philanthropy industries.

    Initiatives or ideas can be applicable to any area in advancement and can be internally focused (business processes, user experience) or external (donor or alumni experience).


    Successful teams are those comprised of individuals who are fast paced, forward thinking, and have the grit to see initiatives through hurdles to completion.

    Applicants not selected in previous batches are welcome to reapply. Those applicants may need to re-envision their idea, product, or strategy to make it more viable to the Selection Committee.

    Applicants with ideas or initiatives that have already been part of a Batch and were not invited by the Selection Committee to extend into the subsequent initiative stage (pilot or scale) may not reapply without dramatically reinventing the product / strategy and without new evidence of potential value.

    Individuals who have participated in a Batch are encouraged to wait one full Batch cycle after the close of his/her Batch to reapply, unless written permission is provided by his/her supervisor. This allows others the opportunity participate in the accelerator and gives previous Batch participants the chance to participate with UIDEA in other ways (Advisors or Selection Committee).

    Application Overview

    The application is split into four sections, each with its own purpose, outlined below.

    Initiative Overview

    The initiative overview section is intended to 1) provide an explicit and succinct description of the product, process, or strategy being designed or piloted, and 2) ensure the applicant (and Selection Committee) has a strong understanding of the problem or opportunity, how it can be solved, how it needs to be effectively explained, and the viability to scale.

    People Overview

    The people overview section is intended to provide the Selection Committee an idea of 1) the commitment to the initiative by the applicant(s), 2) the hustle and expertise of the applicants, and 3) the ability of the team to work cohesively and productively.

    Innovation Overview

    The innovation overview places an emphasis on “groundbreaking” ideas that could reshape how the the advancement program operates, dramatically increase revenue or engagement, or disrupt the industry over “new to Illinois” ideas that are often best practice or strategies/goals from other institutions.


    The applicant section captures details about the person submitting the application. The applicant may likely be the team's Chief Innovator.

    Application Process

    Below is a summarized timeline of the application process.

    • Applications are due for the S21 batch on November 15, 2020.
    • The Selection Committee will review applications and make decisions about the S21 batch in December.
    • Admitted Batch participants will be notified in late December.
    • The S21 Batch will kick off in Champaign on February 18, 2021.