How to Get a Grant from NEH

By Hindley, Meredith | Humanities, July/August 2008 | Go to article overview

How to Get a Grant from NEH


Hindley, Meredith, Humanities


A PUBLIC SERVICE MESSAGE

In 2007, NEH received 4,498 applications for projects ranging from documentary filmmaking to the preservation of artifacts to institutes for schoolteachers to scholarly research. Most of these applications were turned down. Is it so hard to get a grant from NEH? In a word, yes. We can fund only a small portion of the applications we receive, and the competition is stiff.

Given the odds, some applicants have wondered if there is a secret to getting a grant. A magic formula or maybe a special handshake? Well, actually, no. Successful applicants, however, do tend to hit certain marks. And a number of unsuccessful applicants, though not all, tend to miss those same marks.

So, for the sake of new and returning applicants, we've been talking to program officers and division heads, collecting positive and negative lessons, along with a few of the more telling details about how NEH's review process works. This article, of course, is not intended to supplant any instructions found in NEH's application guidelines, but rather to supplement them. We have tried here to give prospective applicants the kind of information they might learn from a short but informative conversation with an NEH officer.

Got humanities?

Does my project have a strong humanities component? That's the first question you should ask yourself if you're thinking about applying for an NEH grant. We hate to belabor the obvious, but if a major portion of your project is not devoted to some area or topic in the humanities, it won't be funded.

So what are the humanities? NEH's founding legislation offers an expansive definition: "The term 'humanities' includes, but is not limited to, the study of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life."

We sometimes get applications seeking support for projects that aspire to "benefit humanity," such as yoga studios, community centers, and UFO investigations (yes, really). That's not us. NEH is interested in helping people study, tell, interpret, analyze, and document the course of human history and culture-ancient, modern, and in-between.

Read the guidelines!

Application guidelines for all NEH grant programs are available on the agency's website (neh.gov). They contain everything you need to know about applying for a grant. Each set of guidelines begins with a program description that explains the purpose and goals of the grant program and lists what types of activities it supports. This section lets you know if your project is a good fit for a particular program. If you're uncertain whether your project fits, please contact an NEH program officer.

You should also carefully read the eligibility section, making sure that you or your organization are eligible to receive that particular grant. The last thing you want to do is spend time and energy preparing an application only to be declared ineligible. (For what it's worth, NEH staffers hate declaring applications ineligible.)

The meat of your application is the narrative and supporting documents. In writing your narrative, you need to clearly outline your project. {Psst if there's a secret to getting a grant, this is it.) What do you want funding to do? Don't make the reviewers guess.

You should make the project's contribution to the humanities explicit. The importance of your subject is not self-evident. There may be ten projects about your topic during a particular grant cycle. Why is yours better than the others? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

How to Get a Grant from NEH
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.