Project Director Guide

The Michigan Humanities Council (MHC) is pleased to welcome you as a Project Director for a Third Coast Conversation grant award.  Made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Third Coast Conversation grants use history and the humanities to promote a deeper understanding of water’s role in our 21st century society. The following information has been developed to help you successfully administer and implement your organization’s project. Referring to the information and using the guide to check your progress will help make your job easier.

If you have any questions during the development, administration, or implementation of your project, please do not hesitate to contact MHC staff.

Contents:

  1. PROJECT CONTENT AND FORMAT
  2. PERSONNEL
  3. PROMOTION
  4. EVALUATION
  5. GRANT-CREATED PRODUCTS
  6. FINANCES
  7. PROJECT DIRECTOR CHECKLIST
  8. APPENDIX: PROJECT RESOURCES

Project Content

  1. Emphasize how the project addresses attempts to heighten the general public’s knowledge of water and its ability to contribute to conversations about its history, relevance, and challenges in our contemporary society. Projects should aim to contribute new narratives about people and places in Michigan.
  2. Conversations should be firmly grounded in rigorous scholarship and thoughtful analysis; conducted without partisan advocacy; respectful divergent views; free of ad hominem remarks; and devoid of bias based on ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, or race.
  3. Strive to make the historical content relevant to people in the present day by making connections, promoting dialogue, and bringing new voices to the surface.
  4. Ensure the project has an archival component. This should be a portion of the project’s content that is representative of the conversations being conducted and a piece of the project that will be preserved as a reference for future generations.
  5. When appropriate, look for opportunities to involve the media, not only for publicity purposes, but also as an integral part of the project (i.e., interviews, local talk shows, etc.).
  6. Notify MHC well in advance of public program and event dates, and of any changes in schedule.
  7. Check all of the physical facilities you plan to use to ensure accessibility.
  8. Ensure that audience evaluations are readily available for those participating in your programs, and ask them to complete the form prior to leaving the program.
  9. Set up participant registration, if appropriate.
  10. There should be no cost or nominal cost to attend events open to the general public.
  11. Check that programs do not promote lobbying or advocate any particular viewpoint.

Personnel

  1. Notify MHC of any changes in project personnel as they occur. Changes that considerably alter the focus of your project must be discussed with MHC staff. A written request for approval of personnel changes may be required.
  2. Arrange a meeting with the project’s advisor(s) to discuss their role(s) in the project. Ensure that the advisors are involved from the beginning in both project planning and implementation as needed.
  3. Arrange a meeting of all program participants to discuss details of the program prior to the date of each scheduled activity.
  4. Arrange housing, transportation, and hospitality for speakers, if applicable.
  5. Project Directors should take responsibility for encouraging an ethos of openness and respect, upholding the basic norms of civil discourse.

 Promotion

  1. A communications and publicity plan can help share stories intended for the general public with a wider audience. Refer to Publicity Requirements for Third Coast Conversation Grants available on the MHC website for more information about requirements and strategies for publicizing your project.
  2. Submit information about all public events associated with the project to MHC so they can be included on our state-wide calendar of events.
  1. Provide visible acknowledgement of MHC funding and MHC affiliation with the National Endowment for the Humanities. Use the MHC logo on all promotional materials and on project deliverables/resources.
  2. Provide copies of all promotional materials to the MHC office when they become available.
  3. Provide copies (print or web links) of all publicity (newspaper articles, etc.) to the MHC office as soon as possible. Be sure to indicate the source of the publicity and the date.
  4. Invite media representatives to attend events open to the general public as your guests.
  5. If possible, arrange for someone to photograph your project’s events and provide photos to MHC.
  6. The individual introducing programs should acknowledge funding from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Evaluation

MHC views evaluation as an important learning tool.  Third Coast Conversation projects require a section discussing evaluation results within the project’s final report.  Materials are available on the Third Coast Conversation Grants website and in the Project Director’s Guide to assist you with evaluation.  At minimum, grantees must address the following questions through their evaluation:

  1. Who did you serve through your project? Please describe the number of people in the categories below.
    a) Those who collected/organized/displayed information (e.g., students, researchers, project managers, exhibit administrators)
    b) Those who shared/furnished/provided information (e.g., individuals who gave interviews, recorded their oral histories),
    c) Those who received information (e.g., individuals, parents, families, members of the general public, audiences who attended events, exhibits, forums, school plays, etc.).
  2. What were the primary intended outcomes of your effort?  To what extent were these achieved?  Please elaborate so that readers understand what was intended, what evaluation methods were used, and what findings emerged from your evaluation.
  3. If not explicitly addressed in #2, how did you attempt to heighten the general public’s knowledge of water and its ability to contribute to conversations about its history, relevance, and challenges in contemporary society through your project?  To what extent were your efforts successful, and how do you know?
  4. Describe the intellectual content and significance of the project, identifying the major humanities ideas, themes, and questions explored.
  5. Did you note any unintended outcomes of your work?  If so, please explain.
  6. Keep records of the dates and locations of your programs along with a list of the scholars involved, and a tally of the audience numbers for the final report.
  7. Audience Evaluation/Survey forms are most effective if they are distributed prior to the program, possibly placed on the chairs in the room.  Be sure to mention the evaluation at the beginning of the event and request that audience members complete the forms and return them to you at the end of the program.
  8. Submit the Project Director Evaluation report form and a compilation of the Audience Survey forms, along with the Final Financial Report and copies of project materials to the MHC by the date indicated on your grant contract.  All forms are available on the Third Coast Conversations program page of the MHC website. The final payment cannot be released until all of these reports are received and approved by MHC.

Grant-Created Projects

Please include the MHC grant number given to your project when submitting print and digital materials – either as part of the file name, on a label, or as a cover sheet.

VIDEOTAPES/DVDs:

  • Should be broadcast quality.
  • Descriptive labels must be included on media and their cases. ALL labels should be typewritten, including title, running time, and grant number. Videotapes must be in an archival videocassette case, not paper or plastic dust jacket.
  • Any printed guides accompanying videos should be submitted in the manner described below.

AUDIO CDs:

  • Should be broadcast quality
  • Must be in a case.
  • Descriptive labels must be included on cases. ALL labels should be typewritten, including title, running time, and grant number.
  • Any printed guides accompanying media should be submitted as described below.

PRINTED MATERIALS:

  •  Books, Curriculum Guides, Information Packets: PRINTED MATERIAL MUST BE BOUND (Ring Binders, report covers, etc. All printed materials must have covers that are of at least card stock quality); no staples, paper clips, rubber bands, or manila folders please.
  • Photographs: Any printed photographs should include the grant number, date photographs were taken, and location on the back.
  • Posters: Posters should be rolled in mailing tubes or submitted flat, labeled on back. Do not crease.

Podcasts:  A podcast is a multimedia file (including audio and video files) distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds (such as RSS), for playback on mobile devices and personal computers.

  • If you plan to create a multimedia file for your project and distribute it as a podcast, please include credit for the Michigan Humanities Council within the file so that those listening or watching the podcast are made aware of MHC support for the project.

Digital Photographs: Should be submitted on a CD or through a file sharing website (i.e. Drop Box) with descriptive label/file names that include grant number, date photographs were taken, and location

Digital Components: should be submitted through a file sharing website (i.e. Drop Box), on a CD, or zip drive. Please contact MHC staff if you have questions about the best way to submit your files.

Finances and Reporting

  1. Return one copy of the signed Grant Agreement to MHC by the date indicated in the agreement. Be sure to address in writing any Special Conditions specified on the cover page of the Grant Agreement.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the MHC fiscal reporting requirements as outlined in the MHC Handbook of Financial Procedures.
  3. Grant funds will be distributed as follows: 60% after receipt of signed grant agreements, 30% after receipt and approval of Interim Financial Report, and 10% after receipt of Final Financial Report and Project Director’s Final Report.
  4. Work closely with your project’s Fiscal Officer and set up an appropriate bookkeeping system for grant funds.
  5. Keep accurate records of all expenses. Be certain you save all vouchers and invoices to verify expenses. All accounting records must be kept on file for at least four years since they are subject to a possible audit on behalf of MHC. Project expenses incurred 90 days prior to the grant award date are eligible to be covered by grant funds.
  6. Seek approval from MHC staff if it becomes necessary to make changes in your project (either in project content, form, or financing). Note the rules pertaining to written approval related to project revisions.
  7. Submit an Interim Financial Report following the schedule specified in your grant agreement. The second payment (30% of grant award) will be released only upon receipt and approval of the Interim Report.
  8. Submit Final Reports by the date indicated on your grant contract. The final grant payment (10%) will be released only upon receipt and approval of the Final Financial Report and all evaluation reports and resources.

All reporting forms are available on the MHC website

Michigan Humanities Council Project Director Checklist:

Contract Processing:

  • Address any Special Conditions specified on the cover page of the grant agreement.
  • Return a signed copy of the grant agreement to MHC and retain two for your organization files (one copy for the Project Director and one copy for the Fiscal Officer).
  • Set up a separate accounting system to manage your project and grant funds.

Promotion:

  • Credit MHC on all publicly available resources and promotional pieces.
  • When appropriate, share events and project progress on social media (i.e Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to broaden reach. Remember to tag MHC!
  • If you deem it appropriate, invite local, state, and federal representatives to project events and openings.
  • Invite/notify MHC and MHC board members about upcoming project activities and events open to the general public.
  • Submit copies of all promotional materials to MHC.
  • If possible, arrange for someone to photograph project events; send digital photos to MHC and share them on social media.

Budgetary Concerns:

  • Submit an interim report to MHC when second payment is needed or by date indicated on Grant Agreement.
  • Notify MHC of any changes in the project budget that exceed 20% between line items.
  • Consistently and accurately record all expenses.
  • Keep receipts for four years.

Project Execution:

  • Keep a record of the dates and locations of your project activities and events
  • Estimate the audience numbers and profile(s) for reporting purposes at each event
  • Notify MHC of any project changes (format, advisors, dates, etc.)
  • Copy, distribute, and collect evaluation materials at each event and compile a synopsis of audience responses for your final report.
  • Copies of all printed resources created as a result of the project for submission to MHC.
  • Create digital component(s) and submit to MHC at conclusion of the project.
  • As part of the project director’s final report, submit the following:
  • Evaluation report/audience survey compliation;
  • Copies of resources created;
  • Copies of any promotional pieces; and
  • Final financial report

The project director’s evaluation/report should be completed by the date indicated on the grant contract cover page.

Appendix:  Project Resources

The resources in this section are intended to assist you in your endeavors to document, preserve, evaluate, and share your stories. These materials should be adapted to your specific project needs.

If you have specific questions about implementing or evaluating your project, contact MHC staff. We will do our best to try and connect you with subject or method experts.

Any project that is collecting content (oral histories, video, scans of historic materials, etc.) from individuals not associated with your organization (i.e. the general public or members of an outside group) should get the informed consent of participants or permission to use any images not in the public domain.