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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

November 2012 Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI)

Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI)
U.S. Department of State

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Room 7827, 2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

Updated: November 2012



Technically eligible submissions are those which: 1) arrive electronically via or by the designated due date before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST); 2) heed all instructions contained in the solicitation document and Proposal Submission Instructions (PSI), including length and completeness of submission; and 3) do not violate any of the guidelines stated in the solicitation and this document.

The information contained herein is to assist you as a general reference for completion of the proposal submission. It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all of the material submitted in the grant application package is complete, accurate, and current.


The U.S. Department of State requires proposals be submitted electronically via or .

It is the responsibility of all applicants to ensure that proposals have been received by or in their entirety. DRL bears no responsibility for data errors resulting from transmission or conversion processes. Applications
All applicants are encouraged to submit applications via

Organizations that have previously used do not need to register again. If an organization that has previously used is not able to access the system, please contact Customer Support for help in gaining access: or call 1-866-577-0771.

Applicants using for the first time should complete their “New Organization Registration” as soon as possible. This process must be completed before an application can be submitted. Registration with usually occurs directly after an applicant submits their registration. To register with, click “Login to GrantSolutions” and follow the “First Time Users” link to the “New Organization Registration Page.” There are different ways to register your organization, click on the link that fits best.

A valid DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number and CCR (Central Contractor Registration) are NOT required for submission of an initial application on If a project is selected for further funding stages, these will need to be obtained. Instructions for obtaining a DUNS number can be found at . Click “create user account” and sign up for an “individual account.” For help with, please call the Federal Service Desk at 866-606-8220.

Electronic applications submitted via must contain the SF-424 online forms (completed) and the SOI document (Project Narrative) specified in the application kit. No additional documents should be uploaded. The preferred document formats for the uploaded documents are .doc or .docx. Applicants should wait until the upload shows the status as “successful” before moving to the next part of the application kit.

Upon completion of a successful electronic application submission, the GrantSolutions system will provide the applicant with a confirmation page indicating the date and time (Eastern Time) of the electronic application submission as well as an official Application Number. This confirmation page will also provide a listing of all items that constitute the final application submission. Please save this page for your records. Help Desk:
For assistance with accounts and technical issues related to the system, please contact Customer Support at or call 1-866-577-0771 (toll charges for international callers) or 1-202-401-5282. Customer Support is available 8 AM – 6 PM EST, Monday – Friday, except federal holidays.

See for a list of federal holidays. Applications
Applicants who do not submit applications via may submit via

**PLEASE be advised that completing all the necessary registration steps for obtaining a username and password from can take two full weeks. DRL strongly urges applicants to begin this process on well in advance of the submission deadline. No exceptions will be made for organizations that have not completed the necessary steps to post applications on Once registered, the amount of time it can take to upload an application varies depending on a variety of factors including the size of the application and the speed of your internet connection. In addition, validation of an electronic submission via www.grants.govcan take up to two business days. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you not wait until the application deadline to begin the submission process through

The website includes extensive information on all phases/aspects of the process, including an extensive section on frequently asked questions, located under the "For Applicants" section. DRL strongly recommends that all potential applicants review thoroughly the website well in advance of submitting a proposal through the system.

Please refer to the website for definitions of various "application statuses" and the difference between a submission receipt and a submission validation. Applicants will receive a validation e-mail from upon the successful submission of an application. Again, validation of an electronic submission via can take up to two business days. DRL will not notify you upon receipt of electronic applications. Faxed, couriered, or emailed documents will not be accepted. Applicants must follow all formatting instructions in the applicable request for proposals (RFP) and these instructions.

A valid DUNS number AND a CCR (Central Contractor Registration) number ARE BOTH required prior to submitting an application via Organizations should verify that they have a DUNS number or take the steps needed to obtain one as soon as possible. Instructions for obtaining a DUNS and number and CCR Registration can be found at . Click “create user account” and sign up for an “individual account.” An organization must wait approximately 3-5 business days after registering with the CCR before the organization may obtain a username and password for This may delay the organization’s ability to submit a Statement of Interest through In addition, CCR registration must be updated annually to maintain a valid registration.

Electronic applications submitted via must contain the three parts listed as mandatory forms in the application package, including the SOI document (Project Narrative). Upon completion of a successful electronic application submission on, the applicant will receive an email confirmation that the application has been successfully submitted and is in the process of verification. The applicant will then receive another email confirming that the application has been verified. Both emails are provided by to verify that an application was received. Please save these emails for your records. Helpdesk: For assistance with, please call the Contact Center at 1-800-518-4726 or email The Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except federal holidays.


DRL strives to ensure each application receives a balanced evaluation by the Department of State (DOS) Review Committee. All proposals for a given solicitation are reviewed against the same six criteria, which are weighted differently (see details below). These criteria are: (1) Quality of Program Idea, (2) Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives, (3) Cost Effectiveness, (4) Program Monitoring and Evaluation, (5) Multiplier Effect/Sustainability, and (6) Institution’s Record and Capacity. Additionally, the Committee will evaluate how the proposals meet the solicitation request, U.S. foreign policy goals, and the priority needs of DRL overall. Panelists review each proposal individually against the evaluation criteria, not against competing proposals.

In most cases, the Department of State Review Committee includes representatives from DRL, the appropriate DOS regional bureau, as well as USAID Washington. DRL requests feedback on proposals from the appropriate U.S. Embassies and USAID Missions for the panelists’ consideration. At the end of discussion on a proposal, the Committee votes on recommending the proposal for Bureau approval.

Department of State Review Committee panels may provide conditions and recommendations on proposals to enhance the proposed programs, which must be addressed by the applicant before further consideration of the award. To ensure effective use of limited DRL funds, conditions or recommendations may include requests to increase, decrease, clarify and/or justify costs and program activities.

For further information on the DRL grants process, please see the DRL website:


For all application documents, please ensure:

1) All pages are numbered, including budgets and attachments,

2) All documents are formatted to 8 ½ x 11 paper, and

3) All Microsoft Word documents are single-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, with a minimum of 1-inch margins.

Complete applications must include the following for proposal submission:

1. Completed and signed SF-424, SF-424A and SF424B, as directed on or Completed and signed SF-LLL, “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities” and the “Certification Regarding Lobbying Activities” (which can be found with the solicitation on or and on the DRL website at:, as well as your organization’s most recent A-133 audit (if applicable).

2. Table of Contents (not to exceed one [1] page in Microsoft Word) that includes a page-numbered contents page, including any attachments.

3. Executive Summary (not to exceed two [2] pages in Microsoft Word) that includes:

a) The target country(ies),

b) Name and contact information for the project’s main point of contact,

c) A statement of work or synopsis of the program, including a concise breakdown of the project’s objectives, activities, and expected results,

d) The total amount of funding requested and program length, and

e) A brief statement on how the project is innovative, sustainable, and will have a demonstrated impact.

4. Proposal Narrative (not to exceed ten [10] pages in Microsoft Word). Please note the ten page limit does not include the Table of Contents, Executive Summary, Attachments, Detailed Budget, Budget Narrative or NICRA. Applicants are encouraged to submit multiple documents in a single Microsoft Word or Adobe file, (i.e., Table of Contents, Executive Summary, Proposal Narrative, and Budget Narrative in one file).

5. Budget Narrative (preferably in Microsoft Word) that includes an explanation and justification for each line item in the detailed budget spreadsheet, as well as the source and a description of all cost-share offered. For ease of review, DRL recommends applicants order the budget narrative as presented in the detailed budget. Personnel costs should include a clarification of the roles and responsibilities of key staff and percentage of time devoted to the project. The budget narrative should communicate to DRL any information that might not be readily apparent in the budget, not simply repeat with words what is stated numerically in the budget.

6. Detailed Line-Item Budget (preferably in Microsoft Excel) that includes three [3] columns including the request to DRL, any cost sharing contribution, and total budget (see below for more information on budget format). A summary budget should also be included using the OMB approved budget categories (see SF-424A as a sample). Costs must be in U.S. dollars.

7. Attachments (not to exceed eleven [11] pages total, preferably in Microsoft Word) that include the following in order:

a) Page 1-2: Logic model (see below for more information on this section)

b) Pages 3-6: Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (see below for more information on this section). This section can be up to four pages long if necessary.

c) Page 7: Roles and responsibilities of key program personnel with short bios that highlight relevant professional experience. This relates to the organization’s capacity. Given the limited space, CVs are not recommended for submission.

d) Page 8: Timeline of the overall proposal. Components should include activities, evaluation efforts, and program closeout.

e) Page 9-11: Additional optional attachments. Attachments may include further timeline information, letters of support, memorandums of understanding/agreement, etc. For applicants with a large number of letters/MOUs, it may be useful to provide a list of the organizations or government agencies that support the program rather than the actual documentation.

8. If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, your latest NICRA should be included as a .pdf file. This document will not be reviewed by the panelists, but rather used by program and grant staff if the submission is recommended for funding and therefore does not count against the submission page limitations. If your proposal involves subgrants to organizations charging indirect costs, please submit the applicable NICRA also as a .pdf file (see below for more information on indirect cost rates).

9. First Time Applicants: First time applicant organizations and organizations which have not received an assistance award (grant or cooperative agreement) from DRL during the past three years must submit as an attachment to the application the following: a) one copy of their Charter or Articles of Incorporation; b) a list of the current Board of Directors; and c) most recent financial statements.

Note: DRL retains the right to ask for additional documentation of those items not included on this form.

Note: To ensure all applications receive a balanced evaluation, the Department of State Review Committee will review the first page of the requested section up to the page limit and no further. DRL encourages organizations to use the given space effectively.


Organizations must also fill out and submit SF-424, SF-424A, and SF-424B forms as directed on or In addition, please refer to the following guidelines as you fill out the SF-424:

1. Type of Submission: Application
2. Type of Application: New
3. Date Received: Leave blank. This will automatically be assigned.
4. Applicant Identifier: Leave blank
5a. Federal Entity Identifier: Leave blank
5b. Federal Award Identifier: Leave blank
6. Date Received by State: Leave blank. This will automatically be assigned
7. State Application Identified: Leave blank. This will automatically be assigned
8a. Enter the legal name of the applicant organization. Do NOT list abbreviations or acronyms unless they are part of the organization’s legal name.
8b. Employer/Taxpayer ID Number: Non-U.S. organizations enter 44-4444444
8c. Enter organizational DUNS number (Data Universal Numbering System). Organizations can request a DUNS number at
8d. Enter the address of the applicant
8e. Enter the name of the primary organizational unit (and department or division, if applicable) that will undertake the assistance activity, if applicable
8f. Enter the name, title, and all contact information of the person to be contacted on matters involving this application
9. Select an applicant type (type of organization)
10. Enter: Department of State
11. The CFDA number is 19.345
12. Enter the Funding Opportunity Number and title. This number will already be entered on electronic applications.
13. Enter the Competition Identification Number and title. This number will already be entered on electronic applications.
14. Areas Affected by Project: List the country or countries where project activities will take place in alphabetical order; for projects that will take place in more than one region enter “Global”
15. Enter the title of your proposed project (if necessary, delete pre-printed wording)
16. Congressional districts of Applicant and Program: Applicant if based in the U.S. please enter congressional district; if unknown or a foreign applicant please enter “90.” In box 16(b) for congressional district of program please enter “90.”
17. Please refer to the solicitation for the estimated start date and enter your projected end date
18. (18a) Enter the amount requested for the project described in the proposal under “Federal”; (18b) enter any cost-share under “Applicant”. Otherwise, use zeros.
19. Enter “c”
20. Select the appropriate box. If you answer “yes” to this question you will be required to provide an explanation.
21. Enter the name, title, and all contact information of the individual authorized to sign for the application on behalf of the applicant organization.

Please fill in the highlighted fields of the SF 424A with information from your proposed budget.

Please fill in the highlighted fields of the SF-424B: Page 2 - Complete applicant organization and title of authorized official sections. The Authorized Official is generally the grant signator at the organization or business.


Organizations should be familiar with OMB Circulars A-110 (Revised) 22 CFR 145 (Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and Other Nonprofit Organizations), A-122/A-21 (Cost Principles for Nonprofit Organizations; Indirect Costs), and A-133/A-128 (Audits of Institutions of Higher Education and Other Nonprofit Organizations) on cost accounting principles. For a copy of the OMB circulars cited, please contact Government Publications or download from


The recipient's proposal should include the cost of an audit that:

1) Complies with the requirements of OMB Circular No. A-133, "Audits for Institutions of Higher Education and Other Nonprofit Institutions";

2) Complies with the requirements of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Statement of Position (SOP) No. 92-9, "Audits of Not-for-Profit Organizations Receiving Federal Awards";

3) Complies with AICPA Codification of Statements on Auditing Standards AU Section 551, "Reporting on Information Accompanying the Basic Financial Statements in Auditor-Submitted Documents," where applicable. When the U.S. Department of State is the largest direct source of Federal financial assistance (i.e., the cognizant Federal Agency) and indirect costs are charged to Federal grants, a supplemental schedule of indirect cost computation is required.

4) Organizations that expend more than $500,000 per yearin U.S. government funds are required to have an A-133 audit.

The audit costs shall be identified for: the audit of the basic financial statements, and supplemental reports and schedules required by A-133.


An organization with a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement (NICRA) from a cognizant federal government agency other than the U.S. Department of State should include a copy of the cost-rate agreement. Applicants should indicate in the proposal budget how the rate is applied and if any of the rate will be cost-shared. DRL generally does not pay indirect costs against participant expenses, but each case may vary. Organizations claiming indirect costs should have an established NICRA. If subgrantees are claiming indirect costs, they should have an established NICRA that is also submitted with the proposal package.


Submissions should address the six specific criteria outlined in the solicitation described below:

Quality of Program Idea (30 points)

Proposals should be responsive to the solicitation,appropriate in the country/regional context, and should exhibit originality, substance, precision, and relevance to the Bureau's mission of promoting human rights and democracy. The bureau typically does not fund programs that continue an organization’s ongoing work (funded by the Bureau or other sources), but prioritizes innovative, stand-alone programs. In countries where similar activities are already taking place, an explanation should be provided as to how new activities will not duplicate or merely add to existing activities.

DRL strives to ensure its programs advance the rights and uphold the dignity of the most at risk and vulnerable populations, including women, people with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, religious minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. To the extent possible, organizations should identify and address considerations to support these populations in all proposed program activities and objectives, and should provide specific means, measures, and corresponding targets to include them as appropriate.

Program Planning/Ability to Achieve Objectives (20 points)

A strong proposal will include a clear articulation of how the proposed program activities contribute to the overall program objectives, and each activity will be clearly developed and detailed. A relevant work plan should demonstrate substantive undertakings and the logistical capacity of the organization. Objectives should be ambitious, yet measurable and achievable. For complete proposals, applicants should also provide a monthly timeline of project activities and a logic model to demonstrate how the program will have an impact on its proposed objectives. Proposals should address how the program will engage relevant stakeholders and should identify local partners as appropriate. If local partners have been identified, the Bureau strongly encourages applicants to submit letters of support from proposed in-country partners. Additionally, applicants should describe the division of labor among the direct applicant and any local partners. If applicable, proposals should identify target areas for activities, target participant groups or selection criteria for participants, and the specific roles of subgrantees, among other pertinent details. In particularly challenging operating environments, proposals should include contingency plans for overcoming potential difficulties in executing the original work plan and address any operational or programmatic security concerns and how they will be addressed.

Logic Model: A logic model is a useful tool to help one “map” a project and keep track of activities (outputs) and results (outcomes) by specifying strategic objectives, identifying what resources are needed, outlining proposed activities and beneficiaries, and illustrating its relationship to the proposed results. The components of a basic logic model include:

• Needs: The community need or problem as identified by the organization.

• Inputs: Human and financial resources used for the program implementation.

• Activities: Actions taken or work performed through which inputs are mobilized to produce outputs.

• Participation: The individuals who participate or are targeted through the activities.

• Pathways: Linkages that specify how activities of a program lead to the expected outputs, outcomes, and impact of a program through each step of the logic model.

• Expected Outputs: Direct and measurable results expected from program activities. They should be tangible, visible and measurable products of program work. If they are sustainable beyond the activity, they may turn into program outcomes.

• Expected Outcomes: The short-term and medium-term effects of a program’s outputs. Outcomes should reflect the results of program’s activities and their near-term effects on program goals.

• Expected Impact: The long-term effects of a program, which is linked closely to the overall program objective. Such an objective could be as ambitious as reducing human rights violations in an authoritarian society, or it could be less ambitious, though equally important, such as adding greater female representation to a country’s political parties.

· Assumptions: Hypotheses about factors or risks which could affect the progress or success of a program intervention. Our underlying beliefs about the program, the stakeholders or beneficiaries.

• External Factors: Factors which are not explicitly in the control of the program but which can have an important effect on the intended outcomes and impact, such as government policies or changes in the political situation in the country.

While the logic model is represented in a linear trajectory, the relationship between factors may not always be unidirectional. Sometimes factors can mutually affect each other. Thus, the logic model should be viewed as a dynamic and evolving process, which should be re-evaluated and adjusted when conditions change. More information about the logic model, including sample templates, can be found on the DRL Logic Model Primer.

Cost Effectiveness (15 points)

DRL strongly encourages applicants to clearly demonstrate program cost-effectiveness in their proposal submissions, including examples of leveraging institutional and other resources. Additional information on cost-effectiveness as a review criterion can be found in the Request for Statements of Interest/Proposals.

Cost-sharing is the portion of program cost not borne by the sponsor. DRL encourages cost-sharing, which may be in the form of allowable direct or indirect costs and offered by the applicant and/or in-country partners. Applicants should consider all types of cost-sharing. Examples include the use of office space owned by other entities; donated or borrowed supplies and equipment; (non-federal) sponsored travel costs; waived indirect costs; and program activities, translations, or consultations conducted by qualified volunteers. The values of offered cost-share should be reported in accordance with (the applicable cost principles outlined in) OMB Circular A-110 (Revised) Subpart C (23) “Cost-sharing or Matching.” Other federal funding does not constitute cost-sharing.

The recipient of an assistance award must maintain written records to support all allowable costs that are claimed as its contribution to cost-share, as well as costs to be paid by the Federal government. Such records are subject to audit. In the event the recipient does not meet the minimum amount of cost-sharing as stipulated in the recipient’s budget, the Bureau’s contribution will be reduced in proportion to the recipient’s contribution.

Program Monitoring and Evaluation (15 points)

A monitoring and evaluation plan (M&E plan) is a systematic and objective approach or process for determining project performance toward its objectives over time. Complete proposals should include a detailed plan (both a narrative and table) of how the project’s progress and impact will be monitored and evaluated throughout the project. Incorporating a well-designed monitoring and evaluation component into a project is one of the most efficient methods of documenting the progress and potential success of a program. Successful monitoring and evaluation depend on the following:

•  Setting strategic objectives that are clear, specific, attainable, measurable, results-focused, and placed in a reasonable time frame;

•  Linking program activities to stated strategic objectives;

•  Developing key performance indicators that include baselines and targets and measure realistic progress towards all strategic objectives and program activities.

Strong monitoring and evaluation plans incorporate performance indicators for all program objectives and activities and include baselines and targets for each indicator. Performance indicators are ways to objectively observe program progress and measure the degree of success a program’s planned activities have had in achieving the stated objectives. Performance indicators should address the direct products and services delivered by a program (defined as outputs), and the results of those products and services (defined as outcomes). Findings on outputs and outcomes should both be reported.

Outputs, which are products and services delivered from the program activities, are often stated as an amount. Output data show the scope or size of project activities, but they cannot replace information about progress towards the project’s outcomes or impact. Examples of program outputs include: 100 civil society organization members trained in organizational fundraising and 60 radio programs produced.

Outcomes, in contrast, represent the specific, realistic results of a project and are often measured as an extent of change. Outcomes may include progress toward expected program objectives or other results of the program. For example, a program’s objective could be to increase the participation of female candidates in elections. One outcome of the program would be that after receiving training on effective engagement in the political process, 40% of the female participants ran for a seat on the Parliament.

The Bureau recommends that applicants include a clear description of the methodology and data collection strategies and tools to be employed (e.g., pre- and post-test surveys, interviews, focus groups). The Bureau expects that the grantee will track participants or partners as appropriate and be able to respond to key evaluation questions, including satisfaction with the program, information learned as a result of the program, changes in attitude, behavior, or skills as a result of the program, and the effects of the program on institutions or organizations where participants work. To address gender considerations, applicants should also track and disaggregate data of participants by sex, where applicable, and include indicators that capture gender sensitivity. Similarly, projects that address issues affecting other traditionally marginalized populations, such as the disabled, LGBTs, and ethnic and religious minorities, should track and disaggregate data of participants by those target populations, where applicable and appropriate. Applicants should include indicators that measure support for issues affecting marginalized populations. Lastly, applicants should include the monitoring and evaluation process in their timeline.

Overall, the quality of your monitoring and evaluation plan will be judged on how well it incorporates the abovementioned components into a coherent whole. Since a quality evaluation should be as objective and unbiased as possible, DRL highly encourages all applicants to include a mid-term and final independent evaluation. Ideally the outside evaluator should be involved with the program evaluation from the program’s inception. Costs for an outside evaluation may be charged to the DRL grant.

Grantees will be required to provide reports with an analysis and summary of their findings, both quantitatively and qualitatively, in their quarterly progress and final reports to DRL. It is recommended that grantees refer back to their M&E plan in these reports. All data collected, including survey responses and contact information, must be maintained for a minimum of three years after the project ends and provided upon request. DRL conducts quarterly reviews of every program in order to meet OMB reporting requirements and to ensure that grants are being administered and implemented successfully. During these reviews, DRL uses the M&E plan as one way to compare the actual progress and impact of a program against the proposed activities and objectives.

In summary, it is recommended that an M&E plan should include a brief narrative explaining how the monitoring and evaluation will be carried out (e.g., the primary methodologies to be used), and who will be responsible for monitoring and evaluation activities. The M&E plan should also include a table with output- and outcome-based performance indicators, including the baselines and quarterly targets for each indicator; type of data disaggregation for the indicator, if applicable (disaggregation by sex, disability status, ethnic or religious minority status, or sexual orientation is required where applicable and appropriate); monitoring and evaluation data collection tools; data source; and frequency of monitoring and evaluation. For a more detailed explanation of what DRL is looking for in the M&E plan, please review the DRL Monitoring and Evaluation Primer.

*Note: The Office of the Director of Foreign Assistance (F) requires all DRL grantees to report on standard indicators at the appropriate F Framework Governing Justly and Democratically (GJD) Element level. Therefore, applicants are requested to review the F Framework GJD Indicators and to include in the M&E plan at least one of these indicators, which is relevant to their program. Information on and the list of standard indicators is provided at Please denote these indicators in the M&E plan with an asterisk.

Multiplier Effect/Sustainability (10 points)

Proposals should clearly delineate how elements of the program will have a multiplier effect and be sustainable beyond the life of the grant. A good multiplier effect will have an impact beyond the direct beneficiaries of the grant (e.g. participants trained under a grant go on to train other people, workshop participants use skills from a workshop to enhance a national level election that affects the entire populace). A strong sustainability plan may include demonstrating continuing impact beyond the life of a project or garnering other donor support after DRL funding ceases.

Institution’s Record and Capacity (10 points)

The Bureau will consider the past performance of prior recipients and the demonstrated potential of new applicants. Proposals should demonstrate an institutional record of successful democracy and human rights programs, including responsible fiscal management and full compliance with all reporting requirements for past grants. Proposed personnel and institutional resources should be adequate and appropriate to achieve the project's objectives.


Applications will not be considered complete unless they include budgets that respond to the solicitation guidelines. Complete budgets will provide a detailed line-item budget outlining specific cost requirements for proposed activities. A minimum of three columns should be used to delineate the bureau funding request, cost-share by applicant, and total project funding. Complete applications will include a budget narrative to clarify and justify individual line-items (i.e., calculations of how the costs were derived per month or year, their necessity, and overall contribution to the program’s cost-effectiveness).

Note: Grantees under Bureau-funded projects are responsible for complying with all applicable tax treaties and federal, state, and local laws on tax withholding and reporting for project participants.

The three-column proposal line item budget should include the following components, in the suggested format below:

1. Summary Budget

2. Line-Item Budget

Note: This budget is designed to serve as an example of the format for complete budget submissions and is NOT exhaustive. Individual line items included in each applicant’s budget should reflect specific program activities.

Before grants are awarded, the Bureau reserves the right to reduce, revise, or increase proposal budgets in accordance with the needs of the Bureau’s program and availability of funds.


Please include the applicant organization name, title and duration of the project, and the following:

All organizations, including those not offering any cost - sharing, should submit a budget, formatted to include three columns for each line item: DRL funding request, cost-share offered, and total funding. Sources of all cost-share offered in the application should be identified and explained in the budget narrative. When organizations have made a reasonable, good-faith effort to obtain cost sharing or are pursuing avenues to cost share, DRL encourages applicants to note this in the proposal.

Budgets should be arranged according to the format below to clearly delineate cost-share:


DRL Request

Cost Share


A. Personnel


B. Fringe Benefits


C. Travel


D. Equipment


E. Supplies


F. Contractual


G. Construction



H. Other


I. Total Direct Charges (sum A-H)


J. Indirect Charges


K. Total (sum I-J)



A. Personnel – In general, employees receiving benefits from the applicant organization are considered staff. Consultants hired to assist with the program, who do not receive benefits, should be included under other direct costs. Identify staffing requirements by each position title and brief description of duties. For clarity, please list the annual salary of each position, percentage of time and number of months devoted to the project. (e.g., Administrative Director: $30,000/year x 25% x 8.5 months; calculation: $30,000/12 = $2,500 x 25% x 8.5 months = $5,312.).

B. Fringe Benefits - State benefit costs separately from salary costs and explain how benefits are computed for each category of employee (specify type and rate).

C. Travel - Staff and any participant travel:

1) International airfare

2) In-country travel overseas

3) Domestic travel in the United States, if any

4) per diem/maintenance: includes lodging, meals and incidentals for both participant and staff travel. Rates of maximum allowances for U.S. and foreign travel are available from the following website: and . Per diem rates may not exceed the published U.S. government allowance rates; however, institutions may use per diem rates lower than official government rates.

Please explain differences in fares among travelers on the same routes (e.g., project staff member traveling for three weeks whose fare is higher than that of staff member traveling for four months). Please note that all travel, where applicable, must be in compliance with the Fly America Act. For more information see .

D. Equipment – Equipment is defined as having a per unit cost of $5,000 and a service life of more than one year. If the item meets these criteria than all federal procurement policies and procedures must be followed. If an item does not meet these criteria it is considered a supply. Please provide justification for any equipment purchase/rental.

E. Supplies - List items separately using unit costs (and the percentage of each unit cost being charged to the grant) for photocopying, postage, telephone/fax, printing, and office supplies (for example, Telephone: $50/month x 50% = $25/month x 12 months).

F. Contractual

a) Subgrants. For each subgrant/contract please provide a detailed line item breakdown explaining specific services. In the subgrant budgets, provide the same level of detail for personnel, travel, supplies, equipment, direct costs, and fringe benefits required of the direct applicant. If indirect is charged on a subgrant please include a NICRA. Please note that a subgrantee who receives equal to or more than $25,000 is required to have a DUNS number. Please visit for more information.

b) Consultant Fees. For example lecture fees, honoraria, travel, and per diem for outside speakers or external evaluators: list number of people and rates per day (for example, 2 x $150/day x 2 days).

G. Construction – Due to the nature of DRL programs, construction costs are not allowable or applicable.

H. Other Direct Costs- these will vary depending on the nature of the project. The inclusion of each should be justified in the budget narrative. A-133 audit costs can be included if they are not part of the indirect pool and only the portion of the cost associated with this program.

J. Indirect Charges - See OMB Circular A-122, "Cost Principles for Non-profit Organizations"

1) If your organization has a NICRA, please include a copy of this agreement in the proposal. An applicant must indicate in the proposal budget how the rate is applied.

2) If your organization does not have a NICRA, the proposal budget should not have a line item for indirect cost charges. Rather, any costs that may be considered as indirect costs should be included in specific budget line items as direct costs.

Cost Share - Explanation of contributions should be included, whether cash or in-kind. Assign a monetary value in U.S. dollars to each in-kind contribution. If the proposed project is a component of a larger program, identify other funding sources for the proposal and indicate the specific funding amount to be provided by those sources. In addition, it is recommended that the budget narrative address the overall cost-effectiveness of the proposal, including leveraging of institutional or other resources.

Other Budget Guidelines

The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor will consider budgeted line-items for the following:

•  External evaluations to assess the project’s impact (costs must be built into the overall original budget proposal and must be reasonable);

•  Costs associated with an internal evaluation conducted by the grantee (costs must be built into the overall original budget proposal and must be reasonable).

•  Visa fees and immunizations associated with program travel.

The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor does not pay for the following, under any circumstances:

•  Publication of materials for distribution within the United States;

•   Administration of a program that will make a profit;

•  Expenses incurred before or after the specified dates of the grant (unless prior approval received);

•  Projects designed to advocate policy views or positions of foreign governments or views of a particular political faction;

•  Entertainment expenses, including alcoholic beverages;

•  Contingency funds to cover unexpected costs, including inflationary factors.


Once the Request for Statements of Interest or Request for Proposals deadline has passed, U.S. Department of State staff in Washington and overseas may not discuss competing proposals with applicants until the review process has been completed.

Applicants should be aware that DRL considers submitted proposals proprietary and will make all efforts to protect information contained in the application. While DRL will not voluntarily provide the documents nor divulge their contents outside the U.S. Government, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to shield them from disclosure if faced with a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or other disclosure statutes. While we will try to assert FOIA exemptions where defensible, FOIA denials can be challenged in court and we cannot guarantee that the documents will ultimately be protected from public disclosure requirements.


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