National Historical Publications & Records Commission

Narrative Reporting

As specified in the Award Reporting Requirements document that was sent with your award letter, you must submit Narrative Progress reports. Due dates are shown on the document. Please note them at the beginning of your project. If you receive a no-cost extension, a revised document will indicate new dates for reports. Timely submission of all narrative reports is required of all grantees.

What should be included in narrative reports?

Using your project's performance objectives (which were sent to you with your award letter) as a template, provide a summary of project activities undertaken during the reporting period. Analyze in detail the goals met during the reporting period. Note any goals for the period that were not accomplished and explain why these objectives were not achieved and how this will affect the anticipated completion date of the project. Note whether there is a need to revise the work plan, staffing pattern, or budget.

Note significant developments, such as the publication of volumes or the completion of finding aids, as well as any work that is pending with presses. If the project has established a website or a social media account for the project, please provide the appropriate information so your program officer can explore it.

Project directors are encouraged to offer frank assessments of their projects.

  • Were the goals set in the original proposal realistic? If not, what alternative goals might have been accomplished during the grant period?
  • Did the project staff face unexpected problems? If so, how did the project address them? Were the problems solved? Could similar problems be avoided in the future?
  • Has the project led to unanticipated benefits? If so, what were they?

A full discussion of these matters in your narrative report will aid the Commission in assessing future grant applications and providing guidance to other projects.

Discuss the project's impact, if any, on the grant recipient or others who may have used project materials or benefited from the project. Mention any publicity or interest generated because of the project. Please note project-related publications, speaking engagements, or professional development efforts undertaken by the staff during the grant period or planned for the future. We urge grant recipients to prepare and distribute press releases regarding their NHPRC grants (for suggestions see

Final reports should cover the entire grant period.In addition to the above materials, indicate whether all or part of the project activities will be continued after the end of the NHPRC grant. Will institutional funds or other grant funds provide ongoing support for any of these activities? Was the NHPRC grant instrumental in obtaining these funds.

If your project is a records project, send one copy of all narrative reports to the state or territorial coordinator(s) whose states or territories are involved in or affected by the project. Send another copy via email to the NHPRC program officer assigned to your grant. When submitting your report to the Commission staff, please indicate the names of individuals to whom additional copies have been sent. Also, please include your grant number on all correspondence and reports. Your program officer will contact you if additional information or clarification is needed.

Please note that all reports are Federal records, and are subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

What additional information should be submitted to the NHPRC?

The results of any work supported by a grant or award by the Commission may be published. Publications or other written products resulting from the project must acknowledge the assistance of the Commission.

For records-related projects, grant recipients are required to send the Commission one copy of any printed finding aids, reports, manuals, guides, forms, and other materials produced by the project at the time that the final narrative report is submitted. If materials are only available online, contact your program officer for submission requirements. These products then can be shared with others interested in similar projects and can be used in evaluating more fully the results of projects supported by the Commission. Please note that mail irradiation may damage the quality of items, so final products should be sent via Fed-Ex/UPS.

Documentary editing projects should send the Commission 3 copies of any book edition.


The Commission encourages grant project directors and staff members to submit articles on the project to appropriate journals and newsletters, especially when the methodology or results of a project might be of broad interest. The project director should inform journals, newsletters, and listservs of the completion of the project and the availability of any publications, reports, finding aids, and manuals produced through a grant. NHPRC maintains an active social media presence and frequently promotes grant projects on various platforms including Twitter and Facebook.

For use in its publicity, the NHPRC would welcome digital images of project activities or historical photographs relating to the project's work. Please contact Keith Donohue, Director of Communications at

[Updated June 2021]