NEFE Research Funding FAQs

Am I eligible to apply for a NEFE grant? -

NEFE will award funds only to nonprofit organizations in the United States with 501(c)(3) status or the equivalent designation documented by a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). No other designation in Section 501 of the IRS code is qualified. Also, NEFE does not award grants to organizations whose 501(c)(3) status is pending. Further, NEFE does not award grants to individuals. However, grant requests generally are prepared by the project principal (i.e., the person responsible for performing the project work if a grant is awarded). For more information on eligibility, please review the NEFE Grant Guidelines.

What costs and expenses are permissible under a NEFE grant? What isn’t funded? -

The NEFE Grant Guidelines state the types of expenses that are allowed. Generally, NEFE funds expenses directly related to development of the research project. NEFE expects an organization's infrastructure to have the necessary equipment and software to develop a project. Therefore, we generally do not fund capital or equipment expenditures. Payment for indirect costs cannot exceed 15 percent of the total grant. NEFE also does not fund budget deficits; organizational operating, personnel, and administrative expenses; costs associated with new or ongoing financial education programs; donations or sponsorships; tuition expenses; scholarships; pass-through funding; re-grant of NEFE funds; and seminars, conferences, campaigns and similar events. Also, due to the emphasis on research, NEFE does not fund writing and graphic design expenses for curricula, websites, or other materials for classroom or individual self-study use. We do not fund programs and/or the evaluation of a single program.

What is the deadline for submitting grant requests? -

NEFE considers grant requests twice each year. Be aware of the submission deadline for each funding process, which is provided in the NEFE grant guidelines. To submit a Letter of Inquiry after a submission deadline, you must enter it into the next process.

Will NEFE provide a sample Letter of Inquiry from a successful applicant? -

No. Each successful NEFE project request is created as a unique approach to solving an unmet financial literacy need. Therefore, it is NEFE's practice not to share the content of another organization's inquiry with other prospective applicants. The guidelines are structured to help applicants prepare their Letter of Inquiry in a manner that presents the essential information about their project.

Our nonprofit organization's clients are an underserved population who has an unmet need for financial education. How can I get NEFE funding that will pay for financial education classes? -

NEFE does not fund new or ongoing financial education programs or the administrative and operating expenses used to conduct financial education classes, seminars or workshops. If you seek materials to provide financial education programs to your constituents, please visit the For Educators area of this site. NEFE offers several educational materials that are readily available for use with a broad cross section of underserved populations. All of our materials are offered at no cost.

Who can I talk to about a specific project idea? -

While we do not provide advice or topic ideas to applicants, we will answer questions you have about the grants program and funding priorities. Additionally, we host webinars for potential applicants.

Orientation webinars are scheduled about one month before each grant cycle deadline. During this time, NEFE Grants staff provides an overview of the process and responds to questions about the grant guidelines and how to submit applications. Potential applicants are not required to participate in a webinar. However, those who plan to participate must register for the call at least 48 hours in advance so NEFE can gauge volume and have sufficient time to transmit webinar instructions. 

You can find more information about what NEFE grant reviewers look for when assessing a Letter of Inquiry here.

How will I know whether my Letter of Inquiry will be funded? -

The Principal Contact person listed on the completed Letter of Inquiry will receive an email from NEFE within 10 business days following the Board committee’s decision for the May and November cycles. Principal Contacts who have not received an email by the second week of May or November should send an e-mail, which should include your organization’s name, the full name of the Principal Contact person, and the project title. Responses will be sent only to the Principal Contact person listed on the completed Letter of Inquiry.

Will NEFE provide feedback to applicants whose requests are declined? -

Yes, but only by request.

If my request is approved, how soon would I receive funding? -

It depends. Generally, applicants are notified of the Board committee's action within 10 business days of the decision. Project approval is the first step in negotiating a grant agreement, which can take several months. Funding is not awarded unless a grant agreement is executed. The grant agreement includes a performance timeline upon which installment payments are based. Within 10 days of executing a grant agreement, the first installment is mailed, unless other provisions are made in the grant agreement.

Can I submit more than one Letter of Inquiry to NEFE? -

Yes, though it is not recommended. If you submit more than one request, do so only if you have the resources and staffing to develop and complete each proposed project at the same time. NEFE strongly prefers that applicants put forth their best effort by submitting a single inquiry about a high-quality project of strong interest to the applicant that fully fits within NEFE's funding priorities and parameters. Applicants who decide to submit multiple requests should send them on separate Letters of Inquiry.

Where can I find an application form to request a NEFE grant? -

As the first step in the NEFE Grants Process, all applicants must complete a two-page Letter of Inquiry and submit it to NEFE using our new online application system. The fields in the Letter of Inquiry are limited to character count and requires applicants to present their ideas clearly and concisely in response to the questions asked.

Will I ever be asked to provide additional detail or information about my inquiry? -

It depends. Applicants whose Letter of Inquiry appear to have strong potential for meeting NEFE’s funding priorities may be contacted for additional information. At the time NEFE staff communicates with these applicants, instructions for additional information will be shared.

I noticed on NEFE’s website that other program areas offer curricula and materials on topics targeted to specific populations. Does NEFE fund these materials through its grants program? -

No. It’s a good idea for potential applicants to review NEFE’s website to learn about the programs that NEFE itself develops, rather than funding through grants. As an example, in the Education action area, visitors to NEFE’s website may find out about the High School Financial Planning Program®.

Because NEFE generously funds the High School Program through its operating budget, a grant request to develop a program for high school students will not be considered. Unless otherwise directed, grant funding focuses on research that is beyond the scope of other NEFE departments. Please do not submit Letters of Inquiry that duplicate or conflict with content-driven activities of NEFE’s other program areas.

How will I know that NEFE received my Letter of Inquiry? -

The Primary Contact person listed on the completed Letter of Inquiry will receive an email from NEFE within 10 business days to acknowledge receipt of the Letter of Inquiry.

If I have been awarded a grant from NEFE, am I eligible to apply for another grant? -

If you complete the first grant project successfully, NEFE will consider another request. While NEFE may fund concurrent projects from the same 501(c)(3) organization, it is unlikely that concurrent projects conducted by the same project principal (the person responsible for performing the project work) would be funded. Therefore, project principals with multiple project ideas are encouraged to complete one project successfully before making requests for another grant on behalf of their organization.

The Submittal Instructions and Letter of Inquiry state that I cannot alter the form, but I want to send more information about my request. Can I send a cover letter and/or attachments? -

No. Do not send any additional information or alter the form. Please present the inquiry in the concise style and with the information requested in the Letter of Inquiry. If you are invited to submit a full application, you will have the opportunity to include more information.

I'm having difficulty downloading the NEFE Grant Guidelines. How may I get a copy? -

Please send an email and allow up to five business days for response. The information will be sent to the email address that initiated the request.