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Tips for Writing a Successful Grant Application


Grant Application General Tips

  • Only 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations may apply for a DAR grant.  Before approving the application for scoring by the judges, the committee national chair will independently verify that the applicant organization is current on its 990/EZ/N filing. 
  • The provided application is not intended to be completed as a form, but rather provides requirements for information which must be included for Parts I – V.  Each numbered heading in bold should be included in the application, with its response.
  • Sections provided for the project budget, in-kind contributions and timeline are not intended to limit the application writer to the number of lines shown.  The charts shown may have the number of lines adjusted to provide detailed information.  Also, spacing may be adjusted for conservation of space, if desired. The budget, in-kind contributions and timeline charts may be created by either embedding a spreadsheet or creating the table by typing the line by line information. Here is an example.
  • An application must be typed or computer generated on standard 8.5” x 11” paper, and each copy of the application packet must be stapled in the top left corner.
  • While no specific font or font size is required, the judges prefer to read a 11-12pt Times New Roman, Arial or Courier font; script fonts should not be used.
  • If the request for specific information is listed but does not apply to the applicant’s organization, a response of “N/A” should be furnished to verify for the judges that the request has been noted. 
    Example:  If the organization has no paid staff, the response should be “N/A” (not applicable).
  • Project pictures are encouraged, since applications containing pictures tend to be judged more highly.   However, it is advised that a photo not exceed 20-25% of the page, and that not more than 3-4 be included.  “Photo ops”, rather than pictures directly relating to the project, should not be included.  Photos may be printed as a page following Part V, within the ten page application limit, or embedded within the narrative.  Hard copy (commercially printed) photos attached to the application are not permitted.
  • Secured funding is required for completion of the total cost of the project, less the amount of the DAR grant request. 
    Example:  $100,000 total project costs (all phases, including phase for which grants funds are sought)
    In order to apply for a $10,000 DAR grant, the applicant must have secured funds of $90,000 in order to assure DAR of completion of the total project.  This also applies to large dollar projects. 
  • Grant requests must not exceed $10,000.
  • A grant project may not be started before notification by the committee national chair to the applicant of the success of the award (May 1 of the year following the year during which the application was submitted.)
  • A grant project must be completed within one year following awarding of the grant.

Grant Applicant’s Submission Checklist

An application writer has access to an Applicant’s Submission Checklist.  Before printing final copies of the application, the checklist should be carefully reviewed.   This checklist is not mailed with the application.


Special Projects Grants applications are scored by panels of independent, non-DAR judges, selected for their experience and backgrounds in the DAR mission areas of Historic Preservation, Education or Patriotism.

Information the judges consider as they evaluate a Special Projects Grant application:

  • Degree to which the project addresses its Historic Preservation, Education or Patriotism goal
  • Level of DAR projected acknowledgment/recognition within the community, region or state
  • Urgency of the project, with short-term consequences of not undertaking
  • Realistic budget, in-kind contributions, timeline and experience to complete the project within one year
  • Project’s benefit to the community, region or state
  • Percentage of the community benefitting from the project
  • Degree to which DAR funds are leveraged
  • Level of funding request:  10 points for requests less than $2,500, 5 points for $2,500 - $5,000, 2 points for $5,001 - $7,500, 0 points for requests greater than $7,500
  • Experience of project manager with similar projects (Historic Preservation projects only)
  • Professionals in this type of project have been, or will be, consulted (Historic Preservation projects only)

(Note:  All other areas of the application provide significant information to the judges, for their use in scoring the application.) 

Grant Application, Processing, Awarding and Payment Time Frame

  • December 31:  Deadline by which grant proposals must be postmarked and mailed to the national chair
  • April:  Grant approvals are made by the NSDAR Executive Committee
  • May 1:  Grant Agreement Form will accompany notification to successful applicants
  • May 1—21:  Grantees return to the national chair two signed copies of the Grant Agreement Form with documentation verifying secured funds for completion of project, less the amount of the grant award. The Grant Agreement Form outlines details governing the grant. The sponsoring NSDAR chapter or state organization will be notified by the national chair of the  approved grant to enable the sponsor to begin work with the entity regarding NSDAR's participation in the project.
  • June 1:  The Grants Awarded List is posted on the NSDAR Public and Members website committee pages following the national chair's receipt of the signed Grant Agreement Forms from all grantees.
  • No later than July 1:  Upon approval by the NSDAR Treasurer General, the first payment of one half of the approved grant funds will occur within six weeks following receipt by the national chair of the signed Grant Agreement Forms, signed by the entity's principal officer. The remaining funds will be distributed after submission of the final report following completion of the project, or phase of a larger project.