What We Do

​Application Guidelines for NFWF Conservation Programs with a Business Plan

General Information

NFWF maintains a core portfolio of multi-year programs through which the Foundation and its partners seek to achieve measurable outcomes. Specific goals and strategies are identified for each.

Outcomes are continuously evaluated and objectives refined as the program evolves. Conservation Programs with a business plan are selected by NFWF’s Board of Directors, based on recommendations from staff.

Business plans include logic frameworks that provide a visual representation of desired outcomes, primary threats, and strategies. They also provide specific guidance on the types of projects that will be considered for funding to fulfill the objectives of the program.

All applications submitted for funding should explicitly reference how proposed projects fit within business plans and logic frameworks, or why they do not. They will be considered through a competitive process.

Applicants interested in funding should review the business plans and prepare their application materials accordingly. To help ensure the relevance of funding requests, prospective applicants should contact the appropriate NFWF Director (listed on the right) to discuss project ideas prior to submitting proposals.


These programs run twice annually (see general grant cycle dates). All applications will be made through a two-stage process, which includes a pre-proposal and a full proposal.

Only electronic pre-proposals submitted through the online form will be considered. Following a review period of about four weeks, appropriate pre-proposals will be selected and applicants will be invited to submit fll proposals. After a review of about three months, final funding decisions will be made by the NFWF Board of Directors. The entire application process, from the time a pe-proposal is submitted until a final decision is made, is approximately six months.

General Grant Cycles

Fall Cycle 

  • Pre-proposal: June 1, 2016
  • Full Proposal: August 4, 2016
  • Board Decision: November 2016

Spring Cycle

  • Pre-proposal: October 13, 2016
  • Full Proposal: December 1, 2016
  • Board Decision: March 2017

How to Apply

Start an application by clicking on the following link: easygrants.nfwf.org (Note: the internet browser pop-up blocker must be disabled prior to beginning the application process). New users to the system will be prompted to register before starting their application. Once an application has been initiated, it may be saved and then modified and submitted at a later time, up until the application deadline. Other useful information for applicants can be found here.


The ratio of matching funds offered is one criterion considered during the review process, and projects that meet or exceed a 1:1 match ratio tend to be more competitive. Matching funds may include cash, in-kind contributions of staff and volunteer time, work performed, materials and services donated, or other tangible contributions to the project objectives and outcomes. The cost of recent land acquisition or easement may also qualify as match for a project involving work at the acquired site. In addition, if they would not be paid with requested grant funding, indirect costs may be applied as match by an applicant with a federally approved indirect rate (more information about using indirect costs as match can be found here).

To be eligible, matching contributions must be:

  • non-Federal (U.S.) in origin (federally appropriated or managed funds are ineligible);
  • raised and dedicated specifically for the project;
  • voluntary in nature (mitigation, restitution, or other permit or court-ordered settlements are ineligible);
  • applied only to the grant and not to any other matching program(s); and
  • spent/applied between the project start and end dates designated in the grant application (the start date may be back-dated up to 1 year prior to the proposal deadline to allow recent work directed to the project to be applied as match).

General Procedures for Grant Recipients

After project selection, NFWF staff will work with applicants to prepare grant agreements and other necessary paperwork, all of which will be completed electronically using the Easygrants system. Additional information about the grantee's organization and its finances may be solicited during this time.

Please note that preparation of grant agreements will require approximately 2 to 6 weeks after NFWF receives the additional required information from the grantee. Once grant agreements are finalized, funds will be advanced to qualified grantees based on cash needs of the project; some awards may be made on a reimbursable basis. Grantees will be required to submit Interim and Final Financial and Programmatic reports.

Application Assistance

If you have any questions, please contact the staff representative listed on the program page.


 Staff Representatives


 Related Links