Applicant Resources

Application Instructions
For help with starting, and completing an online application, please view the online application detailed instructions pdf file here.
In-Kind Contributions
In-kind is the value of personnel, space, travel, marketing, or other operating expenses specifically identified with the project that are provided to the applicant by volunteers or outside parties at no cash cost to the applicant. In-kind expenses must be recorded at current market value, and if used as match, it must be documented. Documentation consists of a written statement of what was given, the value of the contribution, the dates of the contribution, and the signature of the person who made the contribution. Organizations must retain these statements for three years and provide the North Dakota Council on the Arts with a summation of the donations by major category. Volunteer services may be provided by skilled or unskilled labor. Rates of volunteer services should be consistent with those paid for similar work in the current market. If an individual's labor is donated and the services are the same as their regular employment, their regular rate of pay should be used. Donated expendable personal property should be valued at fair market value at the time of the donation. Non-expendable personal property, land, and buildings should not exceed fair market value at the time of donation. If temporary use of such property is donated, depreciation or use charges should be used as in-kind. If the property can be depleted or depreciated it may be used as match. If an applicant chooses not to include in-kind in the grant budget or Final Report, they should still include the extent of in-kind contributions in the narrative. Panelists often look at in-kind when measuring community support. Currently, in-kind is included in determining the Institutional Support grant award. Failure to include any in-kind contributions on the financial page may reduce the total amount of the funded grant.
Tips for Successful Grant-Writing
Keep in mind that a successful grant is based on two things - the quality of the project and the ability of the applicant to successfully carry out the project. A few helpful tips to keep in mind:
  1. Do your homework. Read the guidelines thoroughly before you begin writing. Be certain that you are applying to the right program. If you have questions about the appropriateness of your application, contact the Council office well in advance of the deadline.
  2. Prepare a timeline backwards from the postmark deadline that will allow you enough time to think through the project, draft, revise, and edit your proposal. If your application arrives at least 30 days before the application deadline, staff has time to review it and offer you the opportunity to make corrections/changes. Institutional Support grantees whose grants are received less than 30 days in advance of the deadline date will be contacted to make budgetary corrections found during the staff review of their grant.
  3. Fill out a practice application. Make blank copies of the application form.
  4. Draft your application narrative and budgets.
    • Be concise and specific in your narrative.
    • Maintain a positive tone; write in an active voice.
    • Answer all questions, write "not applicable" rather than leaving the question blank.
    • Make sure your budget supports the goals of your project.
    • Itemize where asked.
    • Check your math.
    • Specific information will give the panel a clearer picture of your project.
  5. Put yourself in the panelist's position. Don't overload the reader with too much unnecessary information or verbose language. Simple, everyday language will best convey your ideas. Plan and organize your application with a well-structured outline. Each part should provide necessary information about your organization or project. Have someone not directly involved with your organization read the application. Having read only the application, ask their opinion about what your needs are, what you are requesting, and your ability to conduct the project.
  6. Submit a draft or discuss your proposal with Council on the Arts staff for review and feedback. This doesn’t guarantee funding, but staff can help you strengthen your proposals. Build this into your timeline.
  7. Revise according to feedback. Incorporate outside comments into your proposal, double-check spelling, grammar, readability, and math.
  8. Is your application complete? Follow the application instructions carefully. A checklist is part of the application. Use it to make sure nothing has been overlooked. Has everything been signed by the correct people? Do you have the appropriate number of copies, support materials, etc. (including one for your records)?
  9. Submit the complete application by the deadline date. Faxed applications will not be accepted. Original signatures are a must.
Glossary of Terms
Symbols 1:1 cash match: the grantee must have one dollar from a non-Federal or non-state source to use in combination with Council funds. For example, if a grantee purchases a ten dollar item, five of those dollars come from the grantee and five come from the Council on the Arts.
Articles of Incorporation: a contract between the state and the incorporators forming a corporation.
Balance sheet: a financial statement that shows the financial position of a business at a particular date.
Block-booking: this occurs when several presenters work together to bring the same artist to their communities and coordinate travel schedules to reduce costs.
Board-approved financial statement: typically these are a balance sheet, an income statement, and a statement of cash flows that the board of directors approves as an accurate financial description of the organization.
Capital improvement: permanent acquisition or alteration of buildings, land, equipment or other assets with a useful life of more than three years.
Cash revenue: inflows of cash funds into an organization.
Consultant: a person or company acting as an independent contractor to provide a service.
Endowment Fund: a separate accounting fund that is used to provide long-term stability to an organization. The balance of these accounts typically cannot be used for cash match or operating expenses.
Expenditure: outflows of cash or cash equivalents.
Federal fund: organizational cash that was received from a Federal source.
Fellowship: position or financial support given to students.
Final report: statements completed by the grantee that describes the outcome of a project grant.
Fiscal year: twelve month accounting period used by an economic entity.
Grantee: person or organization that receives a grant.
Income statement: a financial statement that shows the amount of income earned by a business over an accounting period.
In-kind contribution: the fair market dollar value of non-cash donations to the project or program which are provided by volunteers or outside parties at no cash cost to the recipient. Volunteer time is calculated at the minimum wage unless the volunteer is donating professional services which are part of that person's profession. In this case donations are valued at that person's professional rate. Donated items must be calculated at fair market value. Only items that are donated as a direct part of the project should be included in the application. In-kind contributions must be reflected under project expenses.
Independent audit: the process of examining and testing the financial statements of a company in order to render an independent professional opinion as to the fairness of their presentation. Interim report: documentation required during the grant period.
Match: see 1:1 cash match in “Symbols” above.
Multi-cultural: projects or items that consider more than one culture in their presentation or target audience.
Non-profit corporation: a corporation that does not distribute retained earning to stockholders, principals, or governing board members.
Re-grant: occurs when an organization distributes Council on the Arts grant funds to another organization in grant form.
Scholarship: gift made to an individual to assist study.
Special constituency: a group unique to your service area.
Statement of cash flow: a primary financial statement that shows the effect on cash flows of operating, investing, and financing activities.
Under-served: a situation where arts programs, services, or resources are limited due to geography, economic conditions, cultural background, disability, age, or other factors which demonstrate need.
Applicants should contact NDCA staff with any questions.