Guidelines for Grant Proposals

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OVERVIEW
HOW TO APPLY
REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
ADDITIONAL CONDITIONS
GRANT RESTRICTIONS

OVERVIEW

Grant-making is NRGI's primary tool for engaging civil society in resource-rich countries and is an important means to motivate, support and build grassroots movements that create sustained local and international demand for revenue and expenditure transparency.

At the international level, the Natural Resource Governance Institute organizes and sponsors a limited number of conferences and workshops aimed at fostering broader public engagement in extractive sector/budget monitoring and fiscal transparency. At the resource-rich country level, where NRGI devotes the bulk of its grant-making resources, it places special emphasis on providing support to local partners to form coalitions and conduct analysis and advocacy on revenue transparency issues, with a special focus on supporting and deepening the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). 

NRGI also provides support to local and international partners around broader revenue transparency work such as oil, gas and mining revenue monitoring; accounting standards; oil revenue management laws and taxation regulations; licensing and contracts policies; IFI and donor lending policies; participatory budgeting and expenditure tracking; study tours for NGOs; capacity building for sub-national governments and parliamentarians; and civil society-company monitoring partnerships and dialogues. The information below provides an overview of NRGI's approach to grant-making, including priority areas, types of grants and guidelines for applying.

Focus Areas for Grant Proposals
NRGI's grant-making priorities are reviewed on an annual basis according to the organization's Strategic Plan; however, it is common policy that all requests for funding should fall within one of the following five focus areas:

  • Support for monitoring, research and advocacy by independent civil society to promote greater transparency, accountability and effective management across the extractive value chain;
  • Assistance to individual organizations and/or broad-based civil society coalitions working to support the adoption/implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) that have come with a joint research, capacity-building and advocacy strategy and action plan;
  • Support for oversight groups working to enhance parliamentary oversight of extractive industries;
  • Support for oversight groups in oil, gas and mineral-producing areas working to enhance extractive revenue governance and management at the sub-national level;
  • Research and Capacity Building through NRGI's Fellowship Program.

Types of Funding and Eligibility

NRGI awards three types of grants: Institutional Support, Project Support and Individual Support.

1) Institutional support—Awarded to longer-standing regional partners engaged in research, training, capacity-building and/or monitoring activities related to the extractive industries. These grants are intended to partially support institutional costs related to the implementation of a project while at the same time allowing executive-level activities concerned with long-term management and strategic planning for the entire institution. For these grants, institution building is a goal in itself.
Eligibility:

  • The organization's mission must be in line with NRGI's mission and the organization must play an important role in the region;
  • The organization must have worked with NRGI in close partnership for at least two years and have established a successful relationship;
  • The organization's activities must not include lobbying or engaging in partisan political activity such as the support of, or opposition to, political parties or individual candidates for elective office at any level of government;
  • The organization must submit a full narrative proposal and budget prepared according to NRGI's Grant Application Guidelines;
  • The organization should allow NRGI full and complete access to all financial audits if requested
  • The organization must have met all requirements of any current or past grant awarded by NRGI.

2)  Project support—Awarded to international and regional NGOs, academic institutions, think tanks and other entities engaged in specific research, training, capacity-building and/or monitoring activities. NRGI also provides less "traditional" forms of project-based support for advocacy, legal defense funding for activists and funding for technical assistance or consultancy activities.
Eligibility:

  • The organization's project must be in line with NRGI's mission;
  • Project activities must not include lobbying or engaging in partisan political activity such as the support of, or opposition to, political parties or individual candidates for elective office at any level of government;
  • The organization must submit a full narrative proposal and budget prepared according to NRGI's Grant Application Guidelines;
  • The organization should allow NRGI full and complete access to all financial audits if requested;
  • The organization must have met all requirements of any current or past grant awarded by NRGI.

3) Individual support—NRGI offers individual support awarded to individuals for fellowship opportunities based on a competitive bidding process on an annual basis. Currently NRGI awards two types of fellowships in partnership with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD): Capacity Advancement Fellowships and Petrad Fellowships. Fellows are selected as part of a competitive process. See our jobs page for more information.

Levels of Financial Support
NRGI recognizes that many applicants have limited time and resources to devote to the grant-seeking process. In an effort to make the most of your time, NRGI offers grant support at two levels—grants under US$10,000 and grants above US$10,000.

For small grants under US$10,000 applicants are required to submit a concept paper instead of a full narrative proposal. NRGI reviews small grant requests on a rolling basis. Please refer to the small grants/concept paper guidelines under the How to Apply section of the website for further instructions.

For grants over US$10,000 applicants are required to submit a full narrative proposal according to NRGI's Grant Application Guidelines. Please refer to the grant application guidelines under the How to Apply section of the website for further instructions.

HOW TO APPLY

Small Grants Under US$10,000
For small grants under US$10,000 applicants are required to submit a concept paper instead of a full narrative proposal application. NRGI reviews small grant requests on a rolling basis.

The concept paper should be limited to five (5) pages in length, and should include:

  • Cover Sheet (download sample, pdf)
  • Brief description of your organization
  • Description of what your project expects to achieve, and why it is relevant in the context of your work/country
  • Brief outline of the project activities and specific goals and how you plan to give continuity to the activities or implement the skills acquired once the project is completed
  • For workshops/conferences, please include agenda and list of participants
  • Indication of any potential project collaborators, partners and donors
  • Itemized budget and timeline

All documentation must be submitted in English.

Grants Over US $10,000
For grants over US$10,000 applicants are required to submit a full narrative proposal according to NRGI's Grant Application Guidelines (download guidelines, pdf). Timelines for reviewing proposals vary depending on the level of financial support requested and these are included in the application guidelines.

Proposals should not exceed 20 pages. This should include all the most important information requested in the application guidelines as well as any additional details you think are important for us to know when considering your proposal.

At the end of the application guidelines you will find a mini-glossary which provides definitions of key terms and questions in an effort to provide additional guidance to you in the proposal drafting process.

To download a copy of NRGI's Grant Application Guidelines, click here (pdf).
All documentation must be submitted in English.

Advocacy Questionnaire
For project proposals that have an advocacy component, such as a report to be released, applicants should also submit replies to NRGI's Advocacy Questionnaire (download questionnaire, pdf).

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

Grant recipients must agree to provide detailed narrative and financial reports at intervals that will be specified in the grant letter. These reports should include, but are not limited to, details of the progress made toward the goal of the grant, any supporting documentation, such as publications or news articles and information pertaining to receipt of required matching funds. NRGI requires both a narrative report detailing the projects activities as well as a narrative financial report detailing the project budget and spending. The deadlines for your reports are stated in your grant letter. If your reports will be late, contact us to let us know why and formally request an extension.

Please note also that grant recipients must agree to repay any portion of the amount granted that is not used for the purposes of the grant.

These reports help us understand how your project is progressing and problems that you may be confronting. This gives you the opportunity to explain any difficulties or challenges you have met which may affect the outcome of your project.

Cover Sheet: The first page of your report should contain the following information:

  • Name of the organization submitting the report
  • Project title
  • Project dates
  • Grant # (found on your original grant agreement)
  • Total approved grant amount
  • Report title (Interim, Final)
  • Date of submission
  • Name and contact information (address, telephone, fax, e-mail address, etc.) for the project's point person.

Narrative Report format: The narrative portion of your reports should address the following issues:

  • Restate the project's objectives/outcomes and activities as stated in the original proposal.
  • Explain which activities were accomplished and which were not. Explain any variances from the original proposal.
  • Explain which project objectives/outcomes were achieved and how their success was measured.
  • Explain if certain project objectives/outcomes were not achieved and why.
  • Explain the main project challenges, and how you responded to them.
  • Describe the principal lessons learned.
  • Describe any unforeseen developments that have positively or negatively affected your project.

Financial Report format: The financial portion of your report should contain the following information and should be submitted in an excel spreadsheet:

  • Please include your original approved budget in US dollars in an excel spreadsheet.
  • For interim reports, please add a column to the original budget with the amount spent (US dollars) to date for each line item.
  • For final reports, add an additional column with the final amounts spent (US dollars) to date for each line item.
  • Please include a narrative description of any variances. (Note: any budget modifications must have been approved beforehand by the Natural Resource Governance Institute.)
  • If there are remaining funds, please send a check or include a formal request for their use.

ADDITIONAL CONDITIONS

In addition to the terms spelled out in your grant letter (and those mentioned above), the following is meant to inform you of other conditions that apply to your grant, as well as to answer some of our grantees' most frequently asked questions.

Please keep this important information for your files. If you have any questions regarding your grant, please contact Ruya Koman at rkoman@resourcegovernance.org.

  1. The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) is the source of funding for your grant. By countersigning your grant agreement, you agree to cooperate fully with NRGI, or with any agent designated by NRGI, for the purpose of monitoring and evaluating progress in carrying out the activities described in the project proposal. This specifically includes permitting NRGI or its designated agents full and complete access to all financial records associated with the project, making available personnel involved in the project at all levels for interviews with NRGI representatives or designated agents, and permitting site visits by NRGI or agents designated by NRGI to observe activities of the project and to meet with participants in the project.
  2. As the grant letter notes, any and all changes to your project budget or grant dates must be approved in advance. This may be done by submitting a letter via e-mail to NRGI program staff asking to modify your budget or project dates. This letter must include a detailed explanation of the reason for the requested change, and a revised budget reflecting the changes you want to make, if you are requesting a budget modification. If you do not hear back from the NRGI, do not assume that your modification has been approved. You must receive official approval from NRGI before making any changes.
  3. If you would like to publicly acknowledge NRGI's support for your project, please use the name "Natural Resource Governance Institute."

GRANT RESTRICTIONS

The Natural Resource Governance Institute does not award grants to be used, directly or indirectly, to engage in partisan political activity such as for the support of or opposition to political parties or individual candidates for elective office at any level of government.

United States law regulates not only NRGI's ability to fund any electioneering, including the support for or opposition to political candidates or parties in the United States or abroad, but also the earmarking of grant funds for lobbying activities. Lobbying is defined as an attempt to influence federal, state, local or non-US legislative bodies, or the outcome of referenda and ballot initiatives. This proscription includes attempts to influence treaty ratification by legislative bodies.

The lobbying restrictions include (but may not necessarily be limited to) communications with legislators or legislative staff that express a view on pending legislation or specific legislative proposals, and communications with the general public reflecting a view on specific legislation or a specific legislative proposal where such communication includes a "call to take action" by the public.

Public education, analysis and research on social issues of broad public interest, including issues that are also the subject of pending legislation, may constitute an exception to the lobbying restrictions. Similarly, the production of non-partisan studies, analysis and research providing a full and fair exposition of the facts and arguments may not constitute lobbying. Responses to written requests for technical assistance made on behalf of a legislative body, committee or subcommittee may also not be lobbying even though the problems discussed may be the subject of pending legislation.

If you have questions concerning whether your grant proposal includes lobbying, please contact us.