FAQS

General

Does Atlas Network support individual research projects?

Our grant opportunities are limited to professional civil society organizations only, and we are unable to award grants for independent research done by individuals. 

Is my organization eligible for grants with Atlas Network?

To be eligible for Atlas Network grant opportunities, your organization must share in our vision of a free, prosperous, and peaceful world where limited governments defend the rule of law, private property, and free markets. 

 

Atlas Network partner organizations are eligible for all available grant programs. Non-partners are welcome to apply to the Think Tank Startup, International Student Project, and Translation grant programs.

 

We recommend prospective grantees carefully review all available grant opportunities and deadlines to identify the best fit.  For most opportunities, we invite your organization to first apply to become a partner if it is not already. We also highly favor organizations that participate in our Atlas Network Academy—learn more and enroll here—and, in particular, those who have completed Think Tank Navigator, a free online course offered throughout the year within the Academy.

 

Grant applications for purposes other than those listed as specific opportunities on our website should be submitted under the Project/Other Grant category. While Atlas Network is committed to championing all worthy efforts to advance liberty, grants are awarded on a highly competitive basis and in strict compliance with donor intent.

What is a business plan? How can I generate a strong one?

A business plan is a road map that outlines your organization’s goals and details how you plan to achieve those goals. It provides directions so your organization can plan its future and helps it avoid bumps in the road. The creation of a business plan allows you to establish a blueprint for how your think tank is going to run, what the heart of your mission is, and how you plan to achieve your goals.

Business plans will look different depending on organization structure, goals, and target audience. Regardless, some key elements you should include (in no particular order) are:

  • The executive summary is your statement of purpose, succinctly encapsulating your reason for writing the proposal. It needs to hit the key highlights of the plan. It should provide a quick overview of the problem your organization attempts to better, your solution to the problem, your target market, key financial highlights, and a summary of who does what on the management team. This should also include your organization’s vision and mission. 

 

  • The marketing plan details the strategies that you will use to reach your target market. This should detail who you are trying to reach. It provides an overview of how you will position your organization and how you will promote your programs.

 

  • The operations plan describes the goals of your organization and your proposal. As a think tank, you want to create social and political interaction, thus change. Therefore, your operational and impact plan needs to be accurate on how it will achieve that change. It should include details on what difference you’re seeking to make, how you’re going to make it, and how you’re going to measure it.

 

  • The milestones and metrics chapter of your business plan lays out concrete tasks that you plan to accomplish, complete with target dates. It should also detail the key metrics that you plan to use to the impact of your organization’s efforts. It should clearly define your short-term goals, your midterm goals, and your long term goals.  

 

  • In your organization overview, you should clearly describe the structure of your team and who they are. Include your experts, members, board (if applicable) and also provide their backgrounds and expertise (this can be as general or as detailed as you want). Explain the various positions of management, your existing sponsors and donors, your key partners, and other important actors. 

 

  • The programs, services & products segment should provide detailed information on what you have to offer and what you actually do. It should answer these questions: What products or services do you produce and offer? What programs do you have? How does the community benefit from your think tank? What need does your organisation meet and how is your model meeting that need?

 

  • The financial plan is a key part of your business plan. It is important to know and share your financial details, especially in an environment, where the need for transparency on where donations and funds go, is crucial. So, you need to clarify what assets you already have and how you plan to secure more funds as well as what your on-going expenses and overhead costs are. This should include: 
    1. An outline of your think tank's current and projected financial status.
    2. An income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, and financial estimates (if applicable). 
    3. A list of any grants and donations you have received, significant contributions, and any other financial support.
    4. Your fundraising plan.
    5. The gaps in your funding, and how you will manage them.
    6. A budget plan, including your start-up costs (if applicable).

 

Please contact Erik Eppig (Erik.Eppig@AtlasNetwork.org) with any questions about your business plan.  

Where do I apply for grants?

Atlas Network uses an applications portal where organizations can apply for grants. You will need to decide which grant program is the best fit for your project proposal. When you click "Apply," you'll be directed to a page where you will be asked to create an account in the applications portal before you are able to submit an application for this grant opportunity.

Please direct any questions about the portal to Jack Shannon (Jack.Shannon@AtlasNetwork.org). 

Applications

During the grant application cycle, how many grants can I apply for?

Applicants are permitted to submit up to three grants during the grant application cycle. Submitting more than one grant application does not guarantee funding nor does it increase the chances of approval.

 

Please contact Jack Shannon at Jack.Shannon@AtlasNetwork.org prior to submission to verify your eligibility.

How much is a typical grant? How much should I ask for?

When applying for grants, please keep in mind the following recommended ask amounts. For every proposal, make sure that the Total Project Budget is larger than the Amount Requested. This demonstrates that you have identified other potential funders for the project.

 

  • General support is typically awarded in amounts less than $10,000, and rarely exceeds $20,000. The vast majority of general support grants are awarded for organizations five-years old or less via our Think Tank Startup Fund.  Our other grant opportunities are unlikely to result in any kind of general support grant.

 

  • For JUMP grants - We suggest requests of roughly $15,000, though other amounts may be entertained. JUMP grants are only available for Atlas Network partners.

 

  • For Poverty and Freedom Grants - We suggest a request range of $20,000-$35,000, though other amounts may be entertained. Poverty and Freedom grants are only available for Atlas Network partners.

 

 

  • For Illiberalism Grants - Support is typically awarded in amounts less than $10,000, and rarely exceeds $20,000. Illiberalism grants are only available for Atlas Network partners.

 

  • For Economic Freedom Audit Grants - The grant amount will be $15,000. This opportunity is restricted to organizations based in countries placed in the lower half of the Economic Freedom of the World Ranking. Economic Freedom Audit grants are only available for Atlas Network partners.

 

 

  • For the Lights, Camera, Liberty grant and training program - 10 winners will be selected to receive a US$5,000 grant toward their film project to receive end-to-end consulting support for the development of their film project.

 

  • For Atlas Network Book Translations - Amounts vary depending on the scope of the proposal and the country in which the project will be taking place. Translation grants are often about $5,000. 

 

  • For the Think Tank Startup Fund - Amounts vary depending on the scope of the proposal and the country in which the project will be taking place and are almost always awarded with a matching funding requirement.
Is there a limit of approved grants an organization can have at a given time?

There is no official limit for ongoing Atlas Network supported projects, however, it is rare for grantees to be approved for multiple grants. Approval decisions depend on the type of proposal, Atlas Network budgetary constraints, an applicant's track record with previous grants, and the competitiveness of the grant program.

What advice do you have on putting together a project budget?

The project budget is an important component of any Atlas Network grant application. Please do your best to include a detailed budget breakdown. The project budget description should include any anticipated project expenditures in a line-by-line format. Please indicate which components of the project will be covered by Atlas Network funds if approved and which expenditures will be covered by other funding sources.

What advice do you have on putting together a project timeline?

Project timelines are typically between three and 18 months. Similar to the Project Budget, please include a line-by-line chronological breakdown of the project. Please include your expected output deadlines as well as any important external dates that are relevant to your project’s success.

What are outputs and outcomes? How do I write strong ones?

Outputs and Outcomes are one of the most important sections to complete in Atlas Network's grant applications. This summarizes what you are going to do and what you hope to achieve. Below we provide some working definitions that we hope help you formulate your outputs and outcomes: 

 

Outputs – these are the strategic activities or products that you are planning that you think are critically important to achieving success. 

Outcomes – these are the results of your outputs, the indicators that show evidence that you achieved success. 

 

Outputs and Outcomes set your organization up for success because you know what success looks like and help you to report on your organization’s work more accurately to donors. 

 

One way to think about Outputs vs. Outcomes is that outputs are controlled by you and outcomes tend to represent the desired response from others that your outputs are intended to inspire. Strong Outputs and Outcomes are specific and measurable.  For more information and examples of strong outputs and outcomes, please visit our guide here.

What are some tips to make my application more competitive?

Be as specific as possible! Clearly state your organization’s mission and vision statements and be transparent about your funding sources. When the time comes to explain your organization’s purpose for seeking funding, use as much detail as possible, including: 

 

Project Objectives

  • Describe the main objectives and/or outcomes for the proposed project.  
  • Include a problem statement/needs assessment to explain how data shows the importance of your project.

 

Project Description

  • Articulate clearly. 
  • Provide timelines (if applying for general support, provide a timeline for your organization over the next 12 months).
  • Include the expected number of participants, proposed budget details, institutional background, etc. What is your implementation plan? What methods will you use? 
  • Have a clear point of contact. This is essential for communication between your organization and Atlas Network. 

 

Evaluation, Assessment, and Sharing

  • What are three qualitative or quantitative milestones or goals you are planning to achieve during the project's time frame and how do you anticipate accomplishing each of them? 
  • How will you measure the impact of your work?

 

Personal Statement

  • Why is the proposed project important to your organization?  In other words, what motivates you to undertake the project?
  • Share any social media sites belonging to your organization—this helps us learn more details about your organization that may have been left out in the application.
  • Describe your organization’s current and past programs in a brief but informative manner. We want to know what you are currently working on, what you have achieved, and what outputs and outcomes you are attempting to achieve.
What is the difference between the Poverty & Freedom and the JUMP grant lines?

Poverty & Freedom 

  • Designed to support projects that address the theme of “enterprise and entrepreneurship” through policy reforms that represent local priorities and visions for  change 
  • There is no specific issue area required 
  • Ex: Lebanese Institute for Market Studies (LIMS)’s “Turn the Lights on in Lebanon” campaign to introduce competition into Lebanon’s state-owned electrical sector. 
  • Ask Amount: ~$35,000 

 

Joining Up to Minimize Poverty 

  • Designed to aid Atlas Network partner organizations that are working to spread the message that free markets are the best way to lift the world’s poor out of poverty 
  • Intended to reach new audiences through a strong storytelling component  
  • Ex: Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)’s “How We Thrive Docuseries”- Made in Mékhé video featuring Magatte Wade  
  • Ask Amount: ~$15,000 

Reports

Are progress reports optional?

No, progress reports are not optional; they are required for all Atlas Network grantees.  Failure to provide sufficient progress reports on outstanding grants may result in ineligibility for future funding opportunities.  

How do I submit a grant report?

Your grant report needs to be submitted on Atlas Network’s portal (the same one you used to apply for the grant). When you log in to your account and select the approved grant application, you will see the required report section to be completed. After you complete the required form and attach any additional documents, click on the “Submit” button to finalize.

 

Once you submit the report, a member of the Atlas Network Institute Relations team will review it in the following weeks. If the report is incomplete or missing any important information, we will reach out to you with additional questions.

How much and what kind of information should I provide in the report?

We expect grantees to be as thorough and as transparent as possible in their grant reports. Provide a detailed explanation of what you accomplished, which outputs were completed and which were not, and which outcomes you accomplished and how. You are required to report on the final approved outputs and outcomes that were included in your grant application and grant agreement. 

 

Always indicate clearly in your grant report if your project is delayed or incomplete in any way. 

 

It's important that you share with us your proudest accomplishment of the grant even if it was unexpected and therefore appears unrelated to your original project outline, outputs, and outcomes. Relatedly, know that we are always learning about how to be a better partner and donor from both your successes and your challenges: transparency in your grant reports helps us do that. Please be transparent in your grant report when project plans do not go as expected, along with why and what your organization has learned from it. 

 

When reporting on accomplishments, be as specific as possible. For example, if reporting on some sort of policy win or influence - provide details about dates that the accomplishments took place, the policy reform that took place, your organization’s role, and (very important) why that policy reform is relevant to ensuring human freedom and dignity. 

I was approved for a grant, now what?

Congratulations! If we require any revisions to your application, we included that in your approval notification email. Once your application is finalized, you can expect to receive a grant agreement within 7 business days. Your grant agreement will come via the document-signing service, Docusign, and includes important information for your review, including (a) grant amount; (b) grant report deadlines; (c) payment schedule if applicable; (d)  matching grant requirements if applicable (e) guidelines on legal restrictions for use of Atlas Network grant funds; (d) any additional requirements that come with acceptance the grant, which can include required training; and (f) promised outputs and outcomes. Read the agreement carefully before signing and take special note of grant report deadlines. 

 

Your grant agreement also includes a Payment Information form. This is where you provide the banking information that allows us to transfer grant funds to your organization. Banking details must be formally associated with your organization, not a personal bank account, and the account should be based in the same country as your organization. Pay attention to the instructions on the payment information form so that your grant funds can be processed as quickly as possible. Incorrect banking information can result in delays of a month or more. It can also mean that your organization receives less funding than expected due to bank fees for rejected and returned wires. 

 

Please contact Hunter Rauch (Hunter.Rauch@AtlasNetwork.org) with any questions about payments or grant agreements; contact Hane Crevelari (Hane Crevelari@AtlasNetwork.org) with any questions about grant reporting or deadlines.  

My project has been delayed, can I reschedule a report date?

We understand that circumstances outside of your control can change unexpectedly and impact the timeline of your grant. If that is the case, reach out to Hane Crevelari (Hane.Crevelari@AtlasNetwork.org) as soon as you are aware of the delay with the reasons for the project delay and provide a suggested revised report date. We are often able to accommodate these changes; we ask that you reach out to us about delays as soon as possible rather than the month that your report is due. 

My project strategy changed, can I modify my proposed outputs and outcomes?

Often, circumstances outside our control can change and require a significant shift in strategy. If this happens with your grant project, we would be happy to work with you on revising your proposed outputs and outcomes to better reflect your new goals. Please reach out to Hane Crevelari (Hane.Crevelari@AtlasNetwork.org) or Jack Shannon (Jack.Shannon@AtlasNetwork.org) as soon as you are aware of a change in project strategy and goals with suggested revisions, and we will be in touch to come to a workable solution. 

What are some components of good reporting that Atlas Network looks for in its grantees?
  1. On-time reporting
  2. Intentional, thorough, and descriptive responses
  3. Honest and transparent reporting
What are the consequences of missing a report deadline or not reporting back on grants?

Late reporting is taken into serious consideration when making grant decisions. Frequently, our grants committee chooses not to fund an otherwise strong application due to the applicant's consistently late or unimpressive grant reporting track record. 

 

If your organization is currently considered "delinquent" on grant reporting—meaning you have not reported back on your grant despite numerous reminder attempts from our team—your organization is not eligible for grant funding with Atlas Network. 

What do deadlines in the applications portal mean?

The deadline you see in the portal is unrelated to your report - instead, it reflects the current application deadline for our quarterly grant programs. The reporting deadline included in your grant agreement is the correct one. Please use that and if you are still unsure, confirm your grant report deadline with Hane Crevelari (Hane.Crevelari@AtlasNetwork.org). 

When are my grant reports due?

Grant reports are assigned based on the project timeline provided in your grant application and can be found in your grant agreement. You may have several grant reports due or you may have only one. Take careful note of your grant report deadlines and let Hane Crevelari (Hane.Crevelari@AtlasNetwork.org) know if the report dates are not appropriate for your project timeline. The point of contact for your grant application will receive an emailed report reminder one month before it is due, but it is important for you to keep your own record of report deadlines in case the point of contact for your grant application is on vacation, no longer with the organization, or somehow misses that email. 

 

If your point of contact has changed for grant reporting purposes, please contact Hane Crevelari (Hane.Crevelari@AtlasNetwork.org) as soon as possible to inform us of the new name and email address the report reminders should be sent to. 

Why should I report on time?

Reporting on time is essential for your prospects of continued grant support from Atlas Network. Our organization is not endowed, and we fundraise for every dollar that we grant out to organizations like yours. This means that we are required to report on the results of our grant-giving to the donors who so generously support our grant programs. When we do not receive grant reports on time, this means we lack the information necessary to report to our own donors on whether their funds were well spent. We are also required to report to our board members the rate of "grantee compliance" (on-time reporting) among our grantees. 

 

For that reason, Atlas Network tracks grantee compliance for each of our grantees, and late reporting is taken into serious consideration when making future grant decisions. Frequently, our grants committee chooses not to fund an otherwise strong application due to the applicant's consistently late or unimpressive grant reporting track record. 

Partnership

How can I connect other pro-liberty organizations with Atlas Network?

We’d be grateful for an introduction or a referral here.  You may also connect them via email to Erik Eppig (Erik.Eppig@AtlasNetwork.org

How can my organization qualify for partnership?

The mission of Atlas Network is to increase opportunity and prosperity by strengthening a global network of independent civil society organizations that promote individual freedom and remove barriers to human flourishing. To fulfill that mission, it is fundamental that Atlas Network maintains an inclusive network, based on principles of respect and the dignity of the individual. We do that by opposing discrimination, antagonism, and intolerance based on professional status, sexual orientation, gender, age, race, marital status, ethnicity, or religion.  Any Atlas Network partner that takes a public position advocating the restriction of the rights of members of any group based on those characteristics is subject to removal from Atlas Network's global partner directory. 

 

Atlas Network observes commonly accepted standards of professional behavior at our international events and training opportunities. Observation of those standards is a precondition for membership within the network at large. 

 

In addition, qualifying for partnership with Atlas Network means your organization: 

  • Has a mission that supports our shared vision 
  • Operates independently (meaning you pursue a diverse base of support from voluntary sources) 
  • Has a regularly updated online presence (when appropriate) 
  • Has an institutional commitment to full-time or near-full operation  
  • A budget that supports at least one full-time staff  

If you meet only some of these criteria but you share our vision, we are still eager to support your efforts particularly if your ambition is to meet all partner criteria. View our events, grants, and training pages to find Atlas Network opportunities available to non-partner organizations. 

 

If you have any questions about qualifying for partnership, please contact Erik Eppig (Erik.Eppig@AtlasNetwork.org). 

My organization is not a think tank, can we still be a partner?

While Atlas Network collaborates with many individuals or organizations that share in our vision, guidelines set by our board limit our scope to formal partnerships with independent civil society organizations, predominantly non-profit NGOs or think tanks. 

 

If you have any questions about your organization's eligibility, please contact Erik Eppig (Erik.Eppig@AtlasNetwork.org).

What are the benefits of becoming a partner?

By joining Atlas Network, you will have access to apply for training, grants, and award opportunities throughout the year. Your organization will be listed in the Atlas Network Global Directory and many of your success stories will be shared and promoted throughout our international community of donors, partners, and the media. 

What are the costs of being a partner?

There is no fee to join Atlas Network and there are no obligations (Atlas Network does not direct or influence the work of its partners). We only ask that you represent well the principles of liberty we espouse and that you notify us immediately if your organization's mission changes. We also ask that you make a good faith effort to participate actively in the network and that you take advantage of as many Atlas Network programs and services as you find valuable to your organization.  To become a partner please visit our Applications Portal and complete our new partner application. 

What does it mean to be a partner?

It means your organization shares our vision of a free, prosperous, and peaceful world where limited governments defend the rule of law, private property, and free markets. It also means you welcome professional opportunities to broaden your network and to share ideas and best practices with like minded organizations around the world. 

When is the best time to apply for partnership?

While there is no “best time” to apply for partnership, we encourage all interested applicants to review our partnership criteria to ensure that your organization qualifies prior to submitting an application.  

 

If you meet only some of these criteria but you share our vision, we are still eager to support your efforts particularly if your ambition is to become a full-time professional organization that meets all partner criteria. View our events, grants, and training pages to find Atlas Network opportunities available to non-partner organizations. 

 

If you have any questions about qualifying for partnership, please contact Erik Eppig (Erik.Eppig@AtlasNetwork.org). 

HAVE ANOTHER QUESTION?