FAQ for grant recipients

1. Why do calls for funds have to be submitted at least four weeks in advance?

Stiftung Mercator invests its funds in assets so as to achieve a return even in times of low interest rates. Four weeks’ notice must be given to ensure that the requested funds will be available at the time of drawdown.

2. How can I draw up a realistic payment schedule?

A realistic payment schedule reflects the project partner’s expected funding requirements. It should be based on the dates upon which expenditure will be necessary, and on the liquidity requirements of the project partner. (When will the project partner require how much money?)

3. What happens if the payment schedule changes?

If the project partner’s requirements change, resulting in a change to the payment schedule, the latter should be revised as quickly as possible and submitted to Stiftung Mercator. This can also be done independently of the next call for funds.

4. Do funds have to be drawn down on 1 January and 1 June?

No. The dates of drawdown should be chosen by the project partner such as to ensure continued liquidity as needed during the course of the project. (Stiftung Mercator requests however that funding not be drawn down monthly as this significantly increases the administrative workload.)

5. Can funds that have been drawn down but not spent by year’s end be carried over into the following year?

Yes. Any remaining funds that are not needed do not have to be repaid until the end of the project term. However, the payment schedule should be revised in such cases.

6. Does Stiftung Mercator impose penalty interest on funds that have been drawn down but not used?

No. Stiftung Mercator requests however that the project partner submit a needs-based liquidity plan in the form of a payment schedule with a view to avoiding an excessive bank balance on the part of the project partner.

7. Which exchange rate must be used when documenting the use of funds on the Funds Allocation Statement?

To ensure that the funds paid out by Stiftung Mercator are properly documented, the exchange rate that was used to convert the funds (usually drawn down in €) to the respective national currency (i.e. the exchange rate on the day of transfer) should be used. This exchange rate must be stated by the project partner’s bank (please take into account any bank charges that may have been incurred).

8. When must an application for a reallocation of funds be submitted?

An application for a reallocation of funds must be submitted as soon as the project partner can foresee that such a reallocation is necessary. In any case it is imperative that it be submitted before payment of those expenses of the project partner that would exceed the amount allocated to a particular cost item. In other words, the application for a reallocation of funds must be submitted before additional expenditure is incurred for a particular cost item. Reasons must be provided to explain why this is necessary.

9. In which cases does an application for a reallocation of funds need to be submitted? In which cases may cost items be exceeded without the need to consult Stiftung Mercator?

Applications for a reallocation of funds must be submitted in all cases where the percentage deviation contractually laid down in the funding agreement is exceeded. No consultation is necessary for as long as the percentage deviation remains below the contractually agreed percentage deviation.

10. Does the finance plan change every time a reallocation of funds is approved?

No. The finance plan remains the finance plan laid down in the funding agreement. Deviations are merely defined that are agreed by both parties. The finance plan can only be modified by agreeing to amend the funding agreement, in which case it will be completely redefined.

11. Keeping track of the development of costs within the project’s cost structure

Where a project partner obtains different funds from different funding sources, it may be helpful to set up dedicated cost units for the respective funds and funding sources in order to be able to provide the necessary evidence of the allocation of funds.

12. At what point can an application for a cost-neutral extension be submitted?

An application for a cost-neutral extension can be submitted as soon as it becomes clear that the project cannot be duly brought to a close by the originally agreed date. However, the application for extension must in all cases be submitted before the end of the actual project term.

13. What form should an application for a cost-neutral extension take?

An application for a cost-neutral extension can be submitted in writing to the project manager responsible at Stiftung Mercator. Reasons for the extension must be provided in all cases.

14. When does a Funds Allocation Statement have to be submitted?

A Funds Allocation Statement must always be submitted if a funding agreement has been concluded with Stiftung Mercator. Details of the frequency and scope of the Funds Allocation Statement are laid down in the funding agreement.

15. What happens if no Funds Allocation Statement is submitted?

In this case it is possible that no further funds will be paid out to the project partner. This can also affect more than one project if a project partner has several projects at Stiftung Mercator.

16. Where can the form for the Funds Allocation Statement be found and which fields have to be completed on the cover sheet?

The pre-completed form is provided to the project partner by the project manager. The project partner must complete all fields on the cover sheet that are highlighted in yellow. “Instructions for the Funds Allocation Statement” are available to help the project partner complete the form.

17. Is it sufficient to submit only the cover sheet as evidence of the allocation of funds?

The cover sheet itself is not valid evidence of the allocation of funds. A list of individual receipts must be attached, where the subtotals of the individual cost items from the cover sheet are visible in the list of individual receipts.

18. Which information must be contained in the list of individual receipts at the least?

At least the following points must be stated on the basis of the list of individual receipts:

  • Payment date on the receipt
  • Amount in euros (in the case of foreign currencies: day’s exchange rate)
  • Meaningful description
  • Recipient of funds
  • Finance plan item
  • Subtotal per finance plan item

19. Can evidence also be provided for expenses incurred after the end of the project term?

No. Evidence can only be provided for expenses incurred during the project term. If necessary expenses are incurred outside the project term, an application for a cost-neutral project extension must be submitted in advance.

20. Is it compulsory to send a donation receipt?

In the case of donations, yes. The forms provided by the Federal Ministry of Finance must be used (https://www.formulare-bfinv.de/). If no donation receipts are submitted, further payments to the project partner may be refused. In the case of project funding with a funding agreement, it may be possible to agree on an alternative procedure following consultation with the project manager responsible at Stiftung Mercator.