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Tips for Writing a Successful Grant Application

No official application form is used for the application process; all sections of the application are to be written in narrative form, following the requirements found on the Grant Application Instruction Sheet.

Applications are limited to eight total pages of which the first page must be a DAR chapter or state organization sponsorship letter, the second is page one of the applicant's public charity 501(c)(3) IRS tax determination letter, and the third is the grant cover page. The project narrative comprises the balance of the grant application. Project pictures are encouraged, since applications containing pictures tend to be judged more highly. Detailed instructions are available below.

Each Special Projects Grants application packet must include a:

  • Sponsorship letter: A letter of sponsorship must be written and signed by a DAR chapter or state organization officer.
  • IRS public charity 501(c)(3) tax determination letter (page one only): If the applicant's employee identification number ("EIN") is not reflected on page one of the applying entity's tax determination letter, it should be written on the page. Each grant applicant's EIN will be verified to confirm that the entity's 990, 990-EZ or 990-N filing status is current. If the applicant's filing status is not current, the application will be disqualified.
  • One page grant cover page including the following:
    • The amount, rounded to the nearest dollar, requested in grant funds; this amount requires 1:1 matching secured funds
    • The total project amount, or phase amount of a large dollar project
    • A designation of historic preservation, education or patriotism as the area pertaining to the grant proposal
    • All contact information, including a valid email address, for the entity and the entity's EIN are required, as well as the name and contact information, including a valid email address, of the individual writing the grant proposal
    • The project name and a brief description of the project, including the purpose for the grant application
  • Grant application narrative: The narrative, following the requirements listed on the Grant Application Instruction Sheet, is written in a paragraph format, using the following headings:
    • Outline of the project
    • Need and urgency of the project
    • Benefit of the project to the community
    • DAR recognition to be generated
    • Project activities' timeline
    • Budget (see the budget section below and the NOTE on the Grant Application Instruction Sheet)
    • List of all sources of funding in place to complete the project
    • List of all 1:1 matching secured funds
    • List, separate from the budget, any in-kind contributions which will be used to complete the project
    • List any ongoing financial support, if applicable

A well-written grant application narrative usually fills the five pages available. It is recommended that a grant application include pictures in the eight total pages allowed. A grant application which includes pictures scores higher in judging and may improve the applicant's opportunity for approval.

Outline of the grant project details

In this section, include:

  • Information on the history of the applying organization and/or history of the project
  • Information on the community or area
  • A list of the specific phases of the grant project
  • An emphasis on how the project exemplifies the area or areas of historic preservation, education or patriotism
  • A project outline (this is a large portion of the grant proposal narrative)

Need and Urgency

List the reasons for the need and urgency of the project

Benefits to the Community

  • Describe the specific groups which will benefit from the project
  • Demonstrate how the grant will benefit the community and the surrounding area
  • Describe how the grant will provide short or long-term benefit to specific groups in the community

Describe How NSDAR Recognition for the Project will be Generated

Examples of media sources available:

  • Newspaper press releases
  • Radio and television spots
  • Memorial plaques or interpretive display signage
  • Inside cover book label for printed material
  • Organization webpages and/or newsletter
  • Dedication ceremony
  • Museum exhibit
  • Signage in front of building during work on grant project

Specific Timeline of Project Activities

Include the:

  • Month and year start date of the project
  • Phase completion dates during the project
  • Month and year of the estimated project end date (The grant application timeline requires a completion date within one year from the initial funding date of the grant approval year.)

Example: A grant application submitted by the December 31, 2013 postmark deadline, if approved, receives half of the grant funding in June, 2014 and the second half of the funding upon the final report of completion submitted to the committee national chairman. The grant project completion is required to be within one year beginning June, 2014.

Budget – Cost of the Project

  • The preferable budget format is a list or table including itemized expenses of the project.
  • In the budget list or table, note the use of 1:1 matching secured funds toward expenses of the project.
  • Include a column on the budget list or table, reflecting all sources of funding in place for the expenses of the project.
List each Source of Funding Solicited by the Applying Entity to Complete the Grant Project

  • 1:1 matching secured funds: such funds are acceptable from multiple sources such as other donors and completed fundraising. Future fundraising or donations for the project are not considered secured matching funds.
  • Pledged or committed funds by other donors or organizations: this list must also include secured funds for the project

List Separately from the Budget Any In-kind Contributions

  • In-kind contributions may not be used as matching funds for the grant project
  • Donated in-kind time will be valued at $15 per hour or documented for professional services

Specific Phase Budget for a Large Dollar Project

When a grant request is for one phase of a large dollar project, include only the specific phase budget when completing the grant proposal. Summarize the expenses for other project phases.

Example: A $100,000 large dollar project
The grant application is written for $10,000 based on a Phase Two project of $20,000. List a budget for the $20,000 Phase Two portion of the total large dollar project. Large dollar grant projects are more common in areas of historic preservation or patriotism.

Large Dollar Grant Projects Require Listing Other Secured Funding Sources for Completion of the Project

Example: A $100,000 large dollar project
Phase One cost of $30,000 has been completed; include a summary of donors for Phase One completion.
Phase Two cost is $20,000; the application requires an itemized list of all other secured fund sources. A $10,000 grant proposal requires confirmation that the remaining $50,000 is secured to complete the total project.

Ongoing Financial Support (if applicable)

Not all grant projects, once completed, require ongoing financial support. If such support is required for the specific grant project, include the source(s) of all secured funds.

The application must not to exceed eight pages, and is to be arranged in the following order:

  • Sponsorship letter
  • Page one of the IRS public charity 501(c)(3) tax determination letter
  • Grant cover page
  • Application narrative

The original application plus four complete copies are required.
Grant applications must be postmarked on or before December 31 and mailed to the national chairman.

Special Projects Grants Overview
Instructions for Applying for a Special Projects Grant
Tips for Writing a Successful Grant Application
FAQs
Special Projects Grants Brochure
Special Projects Grants Recipients and Photos

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