How to Apply for a Mini Grant

We appreciate your interest in applying for a Humanities Iowa grant. The goal of this flexible program is to provide small matching grants, up to $3,000, for public programs in the humanities. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis but your application must reach us at least four weeks before your project activities are scheduled to begin.

On this page, you will find information on how to apply for a mini grant from Humanities Iowa, including the basic steps to follow in Application Checklist page.

Application Process

In order to complete an application for a mini grant from Humanities Iowa, you must fill out one online form with information about your proposed program and one online form detailing information about your budget needs.

The online form for your program information—Mini Grant Application: Program Details—will ask for two attachments, a PDF of your Project Narrative and a signed Agreements and Certifications form, which you will need to download, sign, and scan to a PDF. You will find instructions for drafting the Project Narrative in the following section. Download Agreements and Certifications PDF now.

Download a sample PDF of the Program Details form

The online form for your budget information—Mini Grant Application: Budget Details—will ask for two attachments, as well. The first attachment is supplemental, but important, information on funding you have thus far acquired. The spreadsheet asks you to list cash contributions from private, corporate, or government, with the donor's name, the amount contributed, and whether that contribution is projected or confirmed. You will need to download this Excel spreadsheet, enter in the requested information, and upload through the online form when asked.

Download a sample PDF of the Budget Details form

The Budget Details form will ask you to upload a PDF of your Budget Narrative at the very end. Guidelines for drafting the Budget Narrative are in the following section.

Application Details


DUNS number – This is a nine-digit number assigned by Dun & Bradstreet, as part of the Data Universal Numbering System, to all organizations that may become federal grantees or contractors. An organization does not need a DUNS number to apply for a Humanities Iowa grant, but if you are awarded a grant, you will need to obtain one. This process is free and relatively simple, and our staff will be happy to help you with it.

Project Director – The person responsible for the overall management of the project, for serving as contact to Humanities Iowa, and for preparing final reports.

Authorized Representative – The person with authority to sign the application on behalf of the organization (usually the executive director, president, or board chair). The Authorized Representative and the Project Director may be but do not need to be the same person.

Operating Budget of Applicant Organization – The dollar amount of the annual operating budget of the sponsor organization. If a board-approved budget for the current fiscal year is not available, please indicate on the form.

The Project Narrative

This is where you tell us what you are planning to do. Simply write a letter explaining the project, what will happen, who will do what, who the audience and participants will be, and why you need the funding. The letter does not need to be lengthy (1-3 pages), but it should contain enough detail to explain the project and its components, including who the humanities scholar will be and your plans for publicity.

Budget Narrative

The Budget Form and Budget Narrative, where your grant request expenses will be itemized into categories and show how grant funds will be matched by cash or in-kind contributions. The budget narrative is a separate sheet that gives details explaining more precisely how you propose to spend both grant and matching funds. The total cost share for the project (combination of cash contribution and in-kind contribution) must at least equal the amount you are requesting from Humanities Iowa. In other words, the grant may cover no more than half the total cost of a project.

Cash Contribution includes cash provided by third parties as well as all contributions made by the applicant organization to the project. Anything the applicant organization contributes, including salary for people working on the project, purchase of supplies, space to carry out project activities, and services related to the project, should be included. If it is difficult to determine exact costs, the applicant should indicate in the budget narrative that costs are estimated.

In-kind Contribution is the dollar value of services, goods and space contributed to the project by third parties only. For example, if a consultant or speaker waives his or her normal fee, it may be reflected as an in-kind contribution, provided that the contribution is adequately documented. In-kind contributions must be itemized in the budget along with cash contributions to arrive at the project’s total cost.

Deadlines and Submission Information

Mini grant applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. Applications must be submitted at least four weeks before the project activities are scheduled to begin. Humanities Iowa staff welcomes the opportunity to consult with applicants on proposals by telephone or e-mail. Please contact Tim Johnson, Grants Director, at or (319) 335-4149.

We will work with you to strengthen the application and answer questions. If you would like to submit a draft proposal for critique, please do so several weeks before the deadline and we will help you refine the document before you submit a final version.

A complete mini grant application consists of a cover sheet, budget form, budget narrative, project narrative, a one-page humanities evaluator description and the signed Agreement and Certifications form. Please do not send additional attachments, unless expressly requested by Humanities Iowa staff.