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Describe the condition of the materials, commenting on past and present storage conditions; evidence of physical deterioration; type of paper or other medium; age; previous preservation measures; and any evaluation made by a professional conservator.

Describe the contents of records by noting particular subject areas; important individuals, types of correspondents, or types of records; and span and bulk dates of the records or particular segments of them. Applicants may wish to attach selected descriptive information or complete finding aids to the proposal and refer to them in the text. Applicants should note proven historical research uses and patterns of prior use of the records and their relationship to similar materials elsewhere. Indicate the number of researchers per year who use or are expected to use the records being dealt with by the project.

Discuss the institution's current acquisitions policy (attach a written policy statement, if available) and activities and its ability to service collections acquired or processed through grant funds.

C. Importance of the Project for Program Development

The Commission seeks to fund projects that will contribute to the development of new or improved records programs or contribute to the strengthening of professional recordkeeping practices as a whole.

D. Support and Endorsements

Applicants should secure and attach to the proposal the written support and endorsement of organizations, institutions, or officials whose records or programs will be directly affected by the proposed project.

E. Value of the Products and Copyright Intentions

Describe how handbooks, pamphlets, guides, standards, and similar products, if any, will be publicized and distributed. Applicants should indicate whether they intend to copyright products or place them in the public domain. The Commission may request that an institution waive copyright privileges if it feels that doing so is in the best interest of the archives and records community. In accordance with Federal regulations, the Commission reserves, for Federal Government purposes, a royalty-free, nonexclusive, and irrevocable license to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use the work and authorize others to reproduce, publish, or otherwise use the work.

F. Plan of Work, Techniques, and Personnel

Explain who is to do what, when, where, and how. The NHPRC urges adherence to generally accepted archives and records procedures, standards, and terminology. A narrative plan of wo

A narrative plan of work should indicate the stages in which work will progress and describe the work at each stage. A time-line chart indicating activities during each month of the grant period is helpful in clarifying complex work plans.

Applicants should discuss standard approaches where these exist, refer to any earlier similar projects funded by the Commission, and, for description projects, indicate the planned level of analysis and description. The Commission does not ordinarily support item-level indexing and description, subject indexing below the series, box, or folder level, calendaring, translation, or similar processes when there are less costly alternatives for describing records.


Include draft forms and procedures for surveys, sample entries for guides, and sample finding aids or on-line catalog entries in the proposal. Many proposals are not funded because reviewers and Commission members cannot envision the products or how the work will be accomplished. For conferences and workshops, attach a draft agenda and list of anticipated participants; for microform projects, include a discussion of technical standards and a signed microform standards agreement as discussed in the "NHPRC Microform Guidelines," which is available on request from the Commission.

Project personnel should be qualified by training and experience to undertake the activities described in the proposal. On occasion, the Commission will agree to support limited training, such as attendance at archival workshops, for appropriate project personnel; however, the Commission strongly prefers to see well-trained and experienced personnel listed in the proposal.

The project director should play the major role in the design, execution, and administration of the project. A project director should not be a figurehead or occasional visitor to the project. The applicant should outline the roles of the project director and other personnel in the proposal and indicate their commitment of time and salary in the budget.

An effective way of utilizing unpaid experts is to establish a project advisory board. Individuals with strong credentials in subject areas or archival processes related to a project may be willing to devote some time and energy to it. Applicants should always ask potential advisors for permission before mentioning them in the proposal. Moreover, the proposal writer should give any named advisor who plays a significant role in preparing an application the opportunity to read it prior to submission.

Provide standard vitae for persons already selected for the project. Vitae should indicate how these persons are qualified by training or experience to carry out the work. For unfilled posts, include job descriptions that indicate staff duties as well as required qualifications. Describe recruitment plans for all personnel.

G. Budget

Format: Consult the sample budget in Appendix B. Round all figures up or down to the nearest dollar amount. The budget must contain detailed information and show the basis of calculation for the indicated sums. It is a financial plan, which, with a minimum of change, will be followed during the project; it is not merely a rough total of estimated needs. Although applicants may request funding for up to three years, the Commission prefers one- or two-year projects. For multi-year projects, the Commission may choose to support only the first year, with further support contingent upon satisfactory progress and on the availability of funding. It is required, therefore, to present separate budgets for each year of a multi-year project (projects lasting more than 18 months). The budget should show clearly which costs are allocated to grant funds and which will be met by cost sharing.

Size: Records program grants have ranged in size from under $1,000 to over $300,000. The legitimacy of costs outlined in the budget rather than the size of the request is a key factor in Commission funding. The Commission sometimes chooses to support only selected activities within the grant proposal.


Budget elements: The budget may include the following items:

1. Salaries: List each staff position in the budget, show the percentage of time each staff member will devote to the project, and calculate the value of that time. Indicate which positions are to be filled for the proposed project and which personnel are already on the staff of the applicant institution. The salaries of all personnel directly associated with a project are appropriate costs in proportion to the time devoted to the project. However, grant funds may not substitute for or supplement salaries of regular, full-time staff members. Commission funds may be used to pay existing, full-time personnel only if the institution hires substitute staff to assume their regular duties during the grant period or if their salaries are normally paid out of grant funds.

2. Fringe benefits :

Indicate the percentage basis for each amount.

3. honoraria.

Consultant fees: Include payments for consultant services and
Include consultant travel expenses in the "Travel" category.

4. Travel: List the destination for each trip and the basis for calculating all travel costs. Individual trip costs and transportation rates (airfare, mileage costs, etc.) should be as precise as possible. Per diem (food and lodging) rates shall be at the applicant institution's standard rate. If the applicant institution has no standard rate of its own, standard Federal rates should be used. Federal rates may be obtained from the Records Program staff. All travel should be justified in the proposal narrative.

5. Supplies and Materials: Itemize the estimated cost of specialized materials and supplies. The project's need for them should be justified in the proposal narrative or a narrative budget supplement.

6. Services: Include the cost of duplication and printing, long distance telephone, equipment rental, postage, and other services related to project objectives that are not included under other budget categories or as indirect cost expenses.

The Commission will consider requests for printing and other publication preparation and manufacturing costs if widespread distribution is important. If printing or manufacturing costs are awarded by the Commission, items produced using grant funds shall be made available free or for the cost of shipping and handling. For any project involving a publication or other product to be sold, the applicant should discuss the production cost, number of copies to be produced, projected selling price, and distribution plans in the proposal narrative or in a narrative budget supplement. The Commission prefers that grant products be distributed free or at cost and that any profits realized after the grant period from product sales be reinvested to support activities of the grantee similar to those undertaken under the grant. All revenues from product sales during the grant period must be reported as program income and should be applied equally to the grant recipient's cost sharing and to reduction of the Federal share of project costs.

7. Other costs: Itemize all other direct costs of the project. The Commission will disallow any requests for "contingency," "general," "administrative," or "miscellaneous" funds. See pages 4 and 5 for a discussion of allowable items in the categories of cost sharing, direct costs, and indirect costs.

Applicants should submit a narrative budget supplement as indicated above or when it is needed to explain unusual lines in the budget.


H. Need for Funding

Applicants should discuss the circumstances which have led to a request for Commission funding. The Commission is especially responsive to applicants who demonstrate that NHPRC grant funds will be used to increase the status and visibility of and financial support for the applicant's program. Particularly attractive to the Commission are proposals that promise continued support of the work by the applicant or some other non-Federal source after Commission funding ends. Grant funds should not be viewed as a substitute for regular funding of ongoing programs and are not intended to replace regular appropriations for existing programs that have been cut due to revenue shortfalls.

I. Evaluation of Project Results

Proposals should state clearly how the relative success or failure of the project will be judged. Not all projects will accomplish their intended goals, but the Commission, applicants, and others can learn from failure as well as success. The Commission encourages frank discussion when projects encounter difficulties or fail to achieve their goals.

VII. Grant Administration

A. Grant Letter and Project Director's Guidelines

The official grant instrument is a letter from the Commission chairman to the authorizing official at the applicant institution, which is sent shortly before the beginning of the grant period. This letter and its attachments and references specify the terms of the grant. Primary responsibility for the administration of the grant is shared by the grantee institution and the project director designated by the institution in the grant application. Grantees are generally required to submit financial status reports and narrative progress reports at six-month intervals as well as final reports at the conclusion of the grant period.

Grantees are subject to the provisions of the Office of Management and Budget's "Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements," which contains fiscal and administrative requirements for all Federal grantees. This "Common Rule," as it is called, is supplemented by the Commission's own separate, written guidelines for grant administration and reporting procedures, "Reporting Requirements and Guidelines for Records Grant Projects," which are sent to the project director shortly before the beginning of the grant period. Some grantees may find it useful to obtain copies of these documents well in advance of the beginning of the grant period in order to better plan for financial and accounting systems. Copies of these documents may be requested by applicants and grantees from the Records Program staff. Additional grant administration regulations may be found in the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR Parts 1207 and 1209). Specific rules on financial and narrative performance reports are found in Parts 1207.40 and 1207.41.

1989-17 B. Grant Period

The grant period begins and ends on the dates specified in the grant letter, but grant periods will always start on the first day of the month and end on the last day of the month. Grant periods may begin at any time after the date of the Commission meeting; however, formal grant letters and checks require approximately six weeks to prepare and issue. Grantees may not charge expenses incurred prior to the effective date of the grant against grant funds. Nor may grantees count as cost sharing or matching any funds expended before the start of the grant period. The grantee receives an advance of funds in the form of a U.S. Treasury check or letter of credit to finance work under the grant. The check is sent directly to the payee at the address specified in the grant letter. Project directors are responsible for alerting the payee to the anticipated arrival date of the grant check, for assuring that it is deposited in an appropriate account, and for seeing that appropriate accounting systems are established for the control of the grant funds.

C. Accounting and Auditing Requirements

Grantees must keep financial records for each grant in accordance with generally accepted accounting practices. These records are subject to inspection and audit by authorized Federal agencies at all reasonable times during the grant period and for three years thereafter. If any litigation, claim, or audit is begun before the end of the three years, the records must be retained until it is resolved.

Grantees must comply with the audit requirements set forth in the Office of Management and Budget's "Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements," and other Federal laws and regulations referred to in that "Common Rule. Copies are available from the Commission office. The grantee is responsible for ensuring that the NHPRC receives a copy of the audit report for any audit performed during the grant period or for three years thereafter. A reasonable portion of grant funds, as defined in the OMB Circular, may be used to comply with audit requirements. The Commission prefers that the grantee assume such costs as institutional cost sharing.

D. Revocation

Grants may be revoked in whole or in part by the Commission upon written notice of its decision and reasons, or for the convenience of the Federal government, with the agreement of the grantee institution and the project director. The revocation, however, will not affect any financial commitment of grant funds made by the grantee prior to the effective date of the revocation.


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