Table of contents:
- Project preparation
- Application form/project proposal
- Project selection
- Contractual terms
- Project implementation
- Reporting and reimbursement
Note: These guidelines are applicable to Flagship Projects submitted in 2014 and later and Extended Standard Grants submitted from 2015 on.
1. PROJECT PREPARATION
Extended Standard Grants—Any legal entity or natural person with registered seat in (or citizenship of) the V4 or Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries is eligible for funding, provided that the given project proposal complies with the rules and priorities of the program and the given call for proposals and promotes cooperation between project partners in both regions.
Flagship Projects—Any applicant worldwide can apply, provided that the given project proposal complies with the rules and priorities of the Flagship Projects and the given call for proposals and promotes cooperation between project partners in both regions.
Preference is generally given to applicants from non-governmental civil society organizations, municipalities and local governments, public schools and universities, research and scientific bodies and public institutions in general with the exception of state administration organizations directly funded from a state budget (ministries, embassies, or official cultural institutes such as Instytut Polski, České centrum, etc).
1.2 Project partners
For Extended Standard Grants it is compulsory to secure participation of subjects from at least three V4 countries (3 x V4) and a single EaP country (1 x EaP) but preference will be given to projects involving more partners.
For Flagship Projects it is necessary to involve all four V4 countries (4x V4) and at least two EaP countries (2x EaP). Similarly as with applicants, organizations directly funded from state budget cannot be considered valid project partners—e.g., institutions of state administration, ministries, embassies, government-run cultural institutes, etc.
1.3 Project topic
Projects submitted within the Extended Standard Grants and Flagship Projects programs must adhere to the given call for proposal posted on the fund’s website.
Applicants may apply for grant support within the V4EaP program in parallel to other grant programs offered by the fund. Only a single application within a deadline, however, is possible.
In case of multiple applications from the same applicant, the first registered application will be considered, while all other will be disregarded. Applicants for Flagship Projects may re-apply for grant support at any point, only if all their previous Flagship Projects have been concluded (i.e., their final reports have been duly approved by the fund). Applicants for Extended Standard Grants projects may implement simultaneously more Extended Standard Grant projects.
1.5 Consulting the fund
Applicants can freely consult the staff of the fund in writing (e-mail), by telephone or in person. Visitors to the fund are kindly requested to make an appointment. Unannounced visits or consultations within 10 working days of the given deadline are discouraged.
English is the official language of the Visegrad cooperation, as well as of the International Visegrad Fund—application forms, as well as all official correspondence with the fund can be accepted only in English.
2. APPLICATION FORM/PROJECT PROPOSAL
Deadlines are set in the given calls for proposals available on the fund’s website.
Application forms are to be submitted on-line by 11:59:59 CET (noon) on given deadline date. Hard-copy versions (signed printouts) with relevant accompanying documents shall be either sent by registered post on the deadline day or delivered to the fund personally by 16:30 CET at the latest (unless stipulated otherwise).
If the given deadline falls on the weekend or a public holiday (when postal services might be closed for business), hard-copy applications are usually accepted with the postmark of the nearest business day following the deadline, or can be delivered in person to the fund by 16:30 CET on that day (electronic submission is, however, not postponed). Any deadline delay is duly communicated on the fund’s website.
2.2 On-line application system
Application forms are available on-line at http://my.visegradfund.org/. The system usually opens 30 days prior to given deadline. Applicants need to register with a valid e-mail address to start a new application form. Each form is then password protected and can therefore be saved and edited later. Every application form has its unique 8-digit number (application ID)—applicants shall use this number whenever communicating agenda related to the project.
2.3 Hard-copy version and accompanying documentation
Application form can be printed out from the system only once it has been submitted on-line. The following documents must also be delivered to the fund in a single package with the originalapplication form (separately delivered documents cannot be considered):
- copies of letters of intent (see paragraph 2.4)
- copies of ID or registration documents of the applicant and project partners (see paragraph 2.5)
- copies of confirmations about co-financing (copies or scans of documents proving other confirmed financial contributions to the project from other donors or sponsors)
2.4 Letters of intent
Letters of intent are an important part of the application. They serve as a proof of the involvement of project partners and describe their concrete role in the project. There is no template for such letters—the statutory representative of the partner organization (or the natural person) shall in the letter formally declare their intention to actively participate in the project and describe their role in it. They can also comment on their past project experience with the applicant. Letters of intent shall be:
- have the form of photocopies/scan printouts of the original documents
- be printed on an official letterhead paper(where applicable)
- be written in English
- refer to the project by its official name(as registered in the application form)
- signed by the project partner’s statutory representative (or by natural person if the project partner is not a legal entity)
- delivered to the fund as part of the application form (separate submission cannot be considered)
- dated no earlier than 3 months prior to a given deadline
Photocopies/scan printouts of identification documents shall confirm to the fund the legal statusof the applicant and of the project partners.
The ID documents of V4 applicants are accepted in the original languages; non-V4 applicants shall, in adition, add an English translation of such documents (unofficial translations are acceptable).
Please note that a statute of an organization, founding documents or deed of foundation cannot substitute the ID documents and are therefore not required.
If the applicant or project partner is an organization (legal entity), the ID must have the form of an extract (printout, scan or copy)from relevant registry which is not older than 3 months (see below). The abstract must contain the following data:
- name of the organization
- seat of the organization
- ID number—tax number/registration number (e.g. IČO, DIČ, adószám, NIP, REGON, etc.)
- legal form
- name of the statutory representative (can be a separate document, e.g. a nomination decree)
Such documents have the form of an abstract from relevant registry (national statistical office, district court, interior ministry, etc.) and cannot be older than 3 months—see the following links:
- AM: https://www.e-register.am/en/search
- CZ: https://www.czso.cz/csu/czso/databaze-registry
- GE: https://naprweb.reestri.gov.ge/
- HU: http://www.ksh.hu/apps/vb.szlek.main1
- PL: http://www.stat.gov.pl/regon/ or http://krs.ms.gov.pl
- SK: http://www.statistics.sk/pls/wregis/dotaz
- UA: http://irc.gov.ua/ua/Poshuk-v-YeDR.html
The fund covers up to 80% of total project costs within Flagship Projects, and up to 90%within the Extended Standard Grants. The remaining 10–20% of the budget shall consist of other financial (the applicant’s, partners’ or other donors’ financial contributions) or non-financial contributions. The organization or volunteer work of the applicant and the partners, as well as other operational costs (e.g. use of one’s own premises, equipment, cars, etc.) are considered a non-financial (in-kind) contribution and shall be included in the budget (Table A in the application form).
A well-planned budget shall be simple and realistic. The budget should include approximations of project’s future expenditures in EUR (€) based on average prices in the region. Applicants shall use the average exchange rates available at the given national bank.
When planning the budget, it is important to adhere to the following list of eligible cost categories, i.e., costs that can be covered by the fund (for further details please see paragraph 6.3):
- Printing and publishing, delivery of the printed/published materials
- Rent of premises and related technical services
- Fees for artists
- Fees for experts
- Accommodation and board
- Transportation costs
- Translations and interpreting costs
- Awards and prizes
- Office supplies and promotional material
- Public relations costs (advertising, promotion)
- Website design and update
- Overhead costs—7 or 15% of the granted sum in case of Extended Standard Grants or Flagship Projects respectively
- Tangible/intangible asset purchases (goods or services related to the project)—max. 7%, out of which at least 60% should benefit the EaP grantees or project partners (only applicable to Extended Standard Grants)
The following costs cannot be covered (with the exception of overhead costs):
- capital investments
- applicant’s own indirect costs (e.g. utilities, telephone bills)
- internal costs (rent of one’s own premises, accommodation in one’s own premises, one’s own work)
- salaries or financial remuneration of employees (or any expenses related employment based on the labor code, including allowances and part-time work, per-diems, etc.)
2.7 Calendar—project phases and lists of events
Calendar of events shall include as many details as available to the applicant when preparing the project. Project phases refer to distinct phases or periods from the start of the project (preparation) to the implementation and settlement and conclusion. If approved, the calendar of events becomes the project’s crucial tool in keeping the fund up-to-date with its activities, be it public events or closed sessions (please see paragraph 5.1 for more details).
3. PROJECT SELECTION
3.1 Evaluation period
Evaluation period lasts up to 40 workdays (Extended Standard Grants), or 60 workdays (Flagship Projects) after given deadline. Applicants shall take this into account when planning project events, as no project can be scheduled to start before its prospective approval.
3.2 Selection criteria
Every project is reviewed on its own as well as in the context of other projects within the given deadline (with emphasis on the context of other projects in similar topic areas). Preference is given to those projects which contribute to the development of civil society and promote cross-border regional cooperation (see 1.3).
Selection committee is assembled for each deadline and is headed by the fund’s Executive Director. The Executive Director makes his/her recommendations based on the discussion within the committee and passes the recommendations to the Council of Ambassadors. The Council decides on the 40th or 60th working day (see paragraph 3.1) at the latest when the final results are also published on the fund’s website. Decisions made by the Council are final and shall present no grounds for any form of appeal, nor do they require any detailed reasoning.
3.4 Announcement of results
Lists of approved projects within a deadline is published on the website of the fund on the day of the approval by the Council of Ambassadors. All applicants—whose projects were approved or rejected—are also informed by e-mail.
4. CONTRACTUAL TERMS
The contract between the grantee and the fund shall be concluded before the start of the project. The contract is concluded once the grantee has fulfilled the following conditions: (1) allocating a bank account which will serve the purposes of the project (an existing or new account); (2) setting up a project website (see paragraph 4.2); and (3) acceptance of the contract draft by the grantee.
4.1 Bank account
The grantee shall specify the bank account for the purposes the disbursement of the given grant. All project payments must be carried through the said bank account (registered by the grantee). The bank account must be made available within 20 workdays (ca. 4 weeks) after the approval of a project.
4.2 Project website
Project website must be set up and made available within 20 workdays (ca. 1 month) after the approval of a project and must be active for at least the whole contractual period. Each project website must have its own address. Alternatively such website can have the form of a sub-site within an existing website, or a website on a social networking site. Each project website must contain the logo of the fund with a direct link to the fund’s website (www.visegradfund.org), as well as direct links to the websites of all project partners.
When publicly communicating through social networking sites (Facebook or Twitter), grantees are requested to make references to the fund’s active accounts:
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/visegradfund
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/visegradfund (when using hashtags, “#Visegrad” and “#V4” are recommended)
4.3 Contractual period
The maximum time frame for each Extended Standard Grants project is 18 months and for Flagship Project it is 36 months. Only those costs that occurred during a given contractual period are legitimate and can be covered by the fund. After the implementation period of a project (i.e., the period during which the project as such takes place) there are additional 20 workdays (ca. 1 month) during which the grantee shall finalize and submit the final report. Each project is successfully concluded only after the fund’s approval of a given final report—within 30 additional workdays(ca. 1½ month).
5. PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION
Once a project gets approved, grantees shall remain in contact with the fund through the on-line system. All official correspondence (questions, comments, requests for prolongations of up to 60 workdays) must be conducted through the system: e-mail correspondence or telephony is possible but cannot be considered in case of disputes. Any contractual changes (i.e., prolongations longer than 60 workdays, changes of project partners, etc.) must be requested in writing—i.e., on letterhead paper with the signature of the statutory representative.
5.1 Calendar of events
The calendar of events is an on-line tool for communicating progress of a project between the grantee and the fund. It is necessary to keep all events up-to-date since the calendar serves the purpose of project evaluation and extends the public relations of an event as the entries get published on the fund’s website. Dates and sites for each event must be confirmed in the on-line calendar only 10 workdays before the event takes place but 3 workdays at the latest. Exact dates and times of events need to be in the list of events, as well as exact cities, where the events take place.
5.2 Press releases
Grantees are requested to publish at least a single (one) press release or public invitation per project. Such releases or invitations can be written in any language, submitted in the on-line system, and disseminated to relevant media and through other relevant channels (grantee’s own mailing lists, newsletters, Facebook events, etc.). Press releases or public invitations serve the fund for the purpose of project evaluation and enable public oversight of given project events.
6. REPORTING AND DISBURSEMENT
6.1 Project disbursement—Tranches
Grants are disbursed in two tranches within the Extended Standard Grants, and in up to three tranches within Flagship Projects. The number and volume of tranches is decided during the evaluation process and specified in the contract.
The first tranche is transferred to the grantee within 15 workdays after the delivery of the signed contract to the fund. Subsequent tranches are disbursed upon the delivery and approval of complete and duly prepared Interim Report/(Interim) Financial Report, and the last tranche is disbursed upon the delivery and approval of the Final Report/Financial Report/Audit Report. Before submitting these reports—i.e., before claiming the second tranche (within Flagship Projects)—grantees are requested to have utilized approximately 4/5 (or 80%) of the first tranche.
The last tranche makes usually about 20% of the grant’s total sum. The sum of the last tranche must be first covered from the grantee’s resources and gets reimbursed only after the approval of the Final and Financial Report and the Audit Report. The grantee must therefore have this portion pre-financed (covered from other sources) when submitting the Final and Financial Report and the Audit Report.
6.2 Interim and final reports
Please note that the final Financial Report shall only cover those items that were not included in the previous interim report. The narrative Final Report, however, refers to the whole project.
The interim and final reports are to be delivered to the fund by the deadlines stipulated in the contract. The Interim report shall consist of the (1) narrative report, (2) financial report and (3) payment confirmation (bank statement or petty cash voucher). Final report must always consist of the (1) narrative report, (2) financial report and (3) audit report. All the reports must be sent together at the respective contracted deadlines (both narrative and financial reports must be signed by statutory representative of the grantee). Processing of the reports by the fund may take up to 30 working days.
All costs claimed for reimbursement must be (1) realized during the contracted implementation period, (2) paid by the Grantee during the contracted implementation period and (3) recorded into the bookkeeping of the Grantee.
Financial report consists of an overview of expenditures within a project accompanied by relevant outputs related to each listed cost (if applicable):
- Printing and publishing/Delivery of printed materials:
samples of the printed materials containing the fund’s logo (books, magazines, posters, bulletins, etc.);
- Fees for artists/experts:
relevant output sample of the piece of art/expertise related to the given cost. Contracts/invoices regarding the Artist/Expert Fee cannot be based on Labor Code;
- Accommodation and board:
list of participants provided with such service and dates;
- Transportation costs:
list of participants provided with such service and dates;
- Translation and interpreting costs:
samples of translated texts (printouts or digital copies);
- Awards and prizes:
brief report on the award-giving (list of awarded persons including their names, signatures and dates);
- Office supplies/Consumption and promotional materials:
samples of each item with the fund’s logo (T-shirts, bags, CDs/DVDs, memory sticks, etc.);
- Advertising and promotion:
samples of the advertisements in the print media, digital copies of audiovisual advertisements or on-line banners, photos of billboards;
- Website design and update:
full website link (URL);
- Overhead costs (max. 7 or 15% of the granted sum in case of Extended Standard Grants or Flagship Projects respectively):
- Tangible/intangible asset purchases (max. 7%)—only applies to the Extended Standard Grants: purchases of office equipment, hardware or software, etc. related to the project implementation. 60% of the purchased tangible and/or intangible assets used for project implementation shall become a property of the relevant EaP project partner (e.g. upon a donation agreement, etc.).
6.4 Audit report
- The audit report shall cover all project costs, i.e. approved grant + grantee’ contribution (10–20% financial or in-kind obligatory contribution).
- The audit report shall verify conformity with the (1) relevant national legislation of the grantee (e.g. Accounting Law, Tax Law, etc.), (2) contracted conditions stipulated in the contract, rules, and guidelines.
- The audit report shall determine the methodology providing the auditor’s approach on how the the audit objectives were accomplished.
- The audit report shall include Balance Sheet and Income Statement of the project and their compliance with the financial report provided by the grantee.
- The audit report shall verify compliance of the Financial Report and costs registered into the bookkeeping of the grantee and their efficient use.
- The costs of the audit report can be covered from the grant within the budget category “overhead costs”.
- The audit report shall be prepared in English by a certified auditor registered in a Chamber of Auditors of the country of the Grantee’s residence.
See the following links for references:
6.5 Frequent mistakes in the Financial Report
The following are frequently made mistakes made in the Financial Report:
- missing compulsory documents (i.e., Financial Report table, Interim/Final report form, Audit report prepared by a certified auditor registered in the Chamber of Auditors, etc.)
- Financial Report table and/or Final/Interim reports not signed by the grantee’s statutory representative
- submitting Financial Report including all project costs, instead of only those covered by the fund
- late submission of any of the contracted reports
- submitting incomplete documents (missing additional required documents, such as the list of participants, samples of translated texts—see paragraph 6.3)
- improperly filled Financial report table
- requesting reimbursements of more than 80% or 90% of total project costs (Flagships Projects or Extended Standard Grants respectively)
- requesting reimbursements of non-eligible costs
- requesting reimbursements of goods for long-term use (e.g. books, etc.)
- requesting reimbursements of unacceptable costs (internal invoices, contracts ruled by the Labor Code, etc.)
- missing logo of the fund in the print or other promotional materials
- payments not falling into the contranted implementation period range
- wrong EUR exchange rate (the exchange rate must adhere to that of the respective national bank on the day of FS preparation)
- exceeding cash limit—10 or 20% of the granted sum in case of Extended Standard Grants of Flagship Projects respectively
6.6 Project conclusion
Project is deemed concluded only when two conditions are fulfilled—(1)approval of the final report and (2) disbursement of the last tranche. Project is concluded only once the Final Report, Financial Report and Audit Report are approved by the fund and the last tranche is transfered onto the grantee’s bank account.
- Can a private company be an applicant?
Any legal entity or natural person can apply; priority is, however, given to public and non-profit institutions.
- Can I apply if I am not from the V4/EaP region?
Applicants from non-V4/non-EaP countries are eligible for applying within the Flagship Projects provided that their projects involve partners from countries as stipulated in the paragraph 1.2 and that they adhere to the given project topic (see paragraph 1.3). Only applicants from the V4 and EaP regions are eligible to apply for the Extended Standard Grants. Any applicant worldwide can apply for Flagship Projects (see paragraph 1.1).
- When can my project start?
Theoretically, a project can start once it has been approved and the contract has been signed between the grantee and the fund. Only those costs that occurred during a given contractual period are legitimate and can be covered by the fund. This means that applicant should carefully consider (1) the evaluation period of projects (see paragraph 3.1) and (2) the necessary time for completion of other contractual terms, such as defining a project website, bank account, etc. (see paragraph 4).
- What is a Financial Report?
A Financial Report is the previously used Financial Settlement (FS) table filled in by the Grantee. The FS table is available on the website. The form and layout of the FS table and all the other reports shall not be changed by the Grantee.
- Which types of costs cannot be covered from a grant?
The grant cannot be used to cover the following costs (for a list of eligible cost categories please see paragraph 2.6): internal costs (e.g. renting one’s own premises), VAT refunds, or one’s own internal indirect costs or running costs (e.g. utility bills, project coordination or accounting) exceeding 7 or 15% of the granted sum (overhead costs) by Extended Standard Grants and Flagship Projects respectively. Tangible and intangible assets (goods or services related to the project) are allowed up to 7% of the granted sum in Extended Standard Grants.
- What are overhead costs?
Overhead costs refer to any indirect or operating costs linked to the project (e.g. project coordination and accounting, one’s own work on the project or other running expenses, bank costs traceable in the project bank statement)—the fund’s limit per grant is 7 or 15% of the granted sum by Extended Standard Grants and Flagship projects respectively. Overhead costs do not need to be documented through invoices, receipts or bills; these costs should be documented by bank statements (bank transactions) or petty cash vouchers (cash transaction) and described in the Financial Report.
- How much does a project audit usually cost and from which budget chapter can it be covered?
Project audit (Audit Report) is expected not to exceed 2–3% of the grant sum; in some cases, however, audits can be costlier. It is up to the grantee to find a suitable auditor,of his/her choice, provided that a given auditor is certified and is a member of a chamber of auditors in a given country (i.e., a country of grantee’s residence). Auditing costs can be covered from the overhead costs.
- Are cash operations allowed?
Bank transactions (wire transfers) are recommended, where possible. Cash operations are possible but are limited to 20% in the case of Flagship Projects, 10% in the case of Extended Standard Grants.
- Which currency shall I use when preparing the Financial Report? Shall I use the amount displayed on the invoice/contract/bill, or the amount of the bank/cash transaction of the respective cost item?
Use the currency of the project bank account in the case of bank transactions and on the petty cash voucher in the case of cash transactions.
- Which EUR exchange rate shall I use?
Use the middle exchange rate of the respective national bank (according to the currency displayed on the project bank statement and petty cash vouchers) on the date of the preparation of the Financial Report.
- How shall I deal with severe currency exchange rate changes during the project implementation? It is recommended to consult your specific case with the respective Program Manager in order to prepare a separate FS tables applying individual rates corresponding with the relevant implementation period phase.
- What do I do if I don’t use the whole advance payment (the first tranche) by the end of the given project phase? Can I obtain further installments? (only within Flagship Projects)
You should spend around 80% of the first tranche before preparing the interim report and claiming further funds (see paragraph 6.1).
- When do I have to send the Interim/Final Report and the Financial Report?
One can submit the Final and Financial Reports immediately once a given project phase is finished, no later than on a given deadline (stipulated in the Attachment 3 of the grant contract).
- Does the Financial Report have to include all project costs or only those covered by the fund?
FS shall contain only those costs that are (to be) covered by the fund.
- Do we claim for reimbursement only 80 or 90% of every single cost?
No, the 80/90% limit applies to the sum of all project costs, i.e., the fund can cover up to 100% of all your accommodation costs, etc., but in sum max. 80/90% of total project costs.
- Can we claim for reimbursements the costs of preparation of the application form, its translation into English and the project accounting?
No, such costs are your internal costs and cannot be refunded. You may, however, use the overhead costs to cover such expenses.
- Can food vouchers be reimbursed?
No, food vouchers, as well as per-diems are non-eligible costs. The only way to cover board or catering is through a separate invoice or a bill.
- Who can be considered an “expert” to have their fees covered?
Expert is a person who contributes to the project with his/her professional work (research, study, lecture, etc.). Contracts with experts cannot be ruled by Labor Code but only by other legislature, e.g. Commercial or Civic Code. This means that salaries of the grantee’s employees or his or her own work cannot be considered expert work and refunded.
- Which invoices are internal?
Internal invoices are invoices issued by units within an organization operating under the same ID number. The fund can refund these costs upon request only in cases when the internal costs are more economical than their commercial alternatives and have actually been invoiced and paid—e.g., participants of a university-held workshop are accommodated in university-owned hotel (dormitory) which is cheaper than commercial hotels on similar level, and the accommodation was actually paid (documented in the bank statement).
- Which accounting legislature shall I follow while reporting the project?
Follow the valid accounting legislature in your country.
- Can we claim for reimbursement fuel consumed when using private car for business purposes?
The fund does not reimburse bills for fuel as such. But when using private car for business purposes you can calculate the transportation costs according to valid legislature in your country (based on average distances and average consumption for the given car). Use of official, company cars cannot be refunded.
- Is it possible to transfer certain amount of the grant to the project partner within a sub-grant agreement or to provide third organizations with “mini-grants” from the grant sum?
This type of transactions is not prohibited but the grantees are not encouraged to do so. The grantee shall administer the grant on his/ her own and shall avoid providing the third organisations with “mini-grants” from the grant sum. In the case the sub grant agreements are inevitable to secure the project implementation in the project partner’s country, re-invoicing of all costs covered by the project partner to the grantee and providing all contracts/invoices/bills issued for those costs are required.
- Can I use the IVF grant for providing grants or sub-grants to third parties?
No, the IVF grant is not set up to be provided to third parties.
- Can I cover the partners’ project costs from the grant?
Yes, provided the partner issues a document of taxable supply (contract, invoice, receipt, bill, etc.) towards the grantee (attaching the original invoices) and he covers the respective costs from the grant resources afterwards. No advance payments to the project partners shall be realized prior to receiving their invoice related to the project implementation.
- How shall the audit report verify the conformity with the contracted conditions stipulated in the contract, the grant rules and guidelines?
The auditor shall declare in his report that:
- the grant did not exceed 80%/90% of total project costs within the Flagship/Extended Standard Grant respectively
- the contracted cash limit was not exceeded
- the contracted overhead costs were not exceeded
- the cost items listed in the Financial Report (FS table) agree with the costs registered into the grantees’ bookkeeping
- all the project costs were issued and paid within the contracted implementation period
- all the bank transfers of the project were realised from the bank accounts owned by the grantee
- the Financial Report was prepared by using a correct exchange rate (middle exchange rate of the respective national bank on the date of the preparation of the Financial Report).