Grant Writing 101
General grantsmanship topics to help you prepare to write and submit proposals.
Grants are not free, easy money. They come with requirements for financial and programmatic reporting. Grant funds should never be the primary source of funding for your organization. In a healthy organization, grants are one of many streams of revenue.
Create Long-Term Organizational Sustainability with Grants
- Expand your staffing model
- Address technology issues
- Pilot new programs and projects
- Create strategic partnerships to expand or strengthen services
- Fund capital projects
- Diversify revenue streams
Is Your Organization Ready to Apply for Grants?
- What are your organization’s greatest needs?
- Do you have data to support those needs? Will applying for a grant address any of those needs?
- What type of grant funding will meet your organization’s needs? (Examples: general operating funds, seed money, expansion, in-kind resources)
- Does your organization have the capacity to administer a grant?
- Do you have the right program or project in mind?
- How quickly do you need the funds? It can often take six months or more between proposal submission and award decision.
- As the grant writer, do you have the capacity to research, write, and submit a proposal?
You have asked all the tough questions. You and your organization are ready to apply for grant funding. Take time to do thorough research.
Plan Your Online Search with Keywords
Compile a list of keywords to use in online searches describing your organization’s work. Set up a Google alert for grants with your preferred keyword combination:
- Geographic area
- Type of grant (Example: program support)
- Your organizational type (Example: 501(c)(3) nonprofit)
- Problem addressed
- Type of service
- Target audience served
- Type of community you operate in (Examples: rural, urban, suburban)
Explore Funders in your Geographic Area
Review their websites to learn about their priorities and history of giving:
- Civic groups (Example - Rotary Club)
- Community groups (Example - Junior League)
- Governments (local, county, state, federal)
Use a Grant Opportunity Database
There are free and subscription services available. A quick search for “grant opportunity databases” will generate several options to research. Some grant databases will also include federal grant opportunities.
Do you need a free database resource?
- Grantmakers io is a free IRS Form 990 search tool for private foundations using the IRS electronic dataset.
- Use a zip code search of Candid’s Funding Information Network. Access is available in-person at their partner sites.
- Grants.gov to search for public funding.
Assess Your Eligibility
After an online search for funding announcements, you have found a few prospects. Requests For Proposals (RFP) reflect the funder’s interests and giving priorities. There is more research to do before you can begin writing your proposal. Check your organization’s alignment with the funder by considering the following questions:
- What type of organizations do they fund?
- What is their geographic giving area?
- What impact areas or causes do they fund?
- Does your program or project meet the specific goals of the RFP?
- What types of proposals do they fund?
- Have you reviewed their IRS Form 990? Find out giving history, gift amounts, and percentage of new grantees year to year.
Be thoughtful in your research. If there is not a clear fit between your organization and the funder, do not apply. Spend your time wisely by marking them off your list and moving on.
Organizational credibility is key to securing grant funding. There are several organizational documents often required for any type of grant proposal. Keeping digital and or physical copies in an accessible place saves time and stress. Add notes and update documents as needed. Keep your documents in whatever format works best for you – Word, Excel, PDF, Power Point, etc.
- Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws
- Bios for Executive Staff and Board of Directors
- Contact Information (mailing address, telephone, email, website)
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- IRS 501(c)(3) Tax Determination Letter
- Mission Statement, Vision, Values
- Organization History
- Strategic Plan and Annual Report
- 990 Federal Tax Form
- Audited Financial Statement
- Boilerplate language to describe donor and financial management systems
- Funding Sources (current and pending revenue streams)
- GuideStar Nonprofit Profile Link
- In-Kind Resources (Examples: volunteers, pro-bono professionals/consultants, meeting space, etc.)
- Budgets - Organization and Program
Programs and Services
- Evaluation Capacity (methods used to measure program success, client/patient databases, etc.)
- Key Program Staff Bios
- Organization Needs (wish list of programs/projects/in-kind resources to support your mission)
- Programs and Services Descriptions
- Programs and Services Goals and Objectives
- Current Grant Agreements and Contracts
- Grant Proposals (awarded and pending)
- Key Partnerships and Collaborations (names, descriptions, MOUs)
- Organization Awards and Certifications
- Social Media Channels
- Volunteer Program (demographics and how they support the organization)
You can craft a grant proposal that is innovative, well planned, and impactful. Take the time to submit an error-free application. Make your grant proposal stand out from the pack by following the funder’s guidelines. Give them exactly what they need to make a decision in your favor.
Reasons Proposals Are Rejected
- Not meeting funding eligibility guidelines
- Incomplete or incorrect application
- Unclear purpose
- Unrealistic scope or amount requested
- Missing the application deadline
- Create a comprehensive checklist of all proposal requirements. The checklist will help you break the RFP down into more manageable pieces.
- Identify information you need from others. Build that into your timeline.
- Plan for delays. Aim to complete and submit your proposal two to three business days before the deadline.
- Use correct formatting – font size, margins, line spacing, word count, headers, page limits, etc.
- Use the funder’s terminology. Make it easy for them to skim your proposal.
- Double check the math in your budget.
- Use a free online editing system like Hemingway Editor to ensure that your content is clear and easy to read.
- Ask someone uninvolved in writing the proposal to read it and offer feedback.
- Before submission, compare your proposal to the RFP page by page to catch any errors.
- Apply if you are not sure if your project is a fit for the funder.
- Immediately begin writing the proposal without understanding all RFP requirements.
- Cut and paste entire content from a previous grant proposal.
- Use jargon and buzzwords.
- Ask for more money than the funder will award.
- Wait until the last minute to collect supporting documents.
- Add extra documents that are not included in the RFP.
Plain Language is clear, concise, and understood by the reader. Writing in this style is an advantage in grant seeking. Plain Language edits your text down to be as clear and concise as possible upon a first read-through. This style is not informal, imprecise, or unprofessional. In a grant proposal with a word or character count, Plain Language is an invaluable tool.
The Funder is Your Audience
- Why do they need to read your proposal?
- What is their level of knowledge about this community need?
- What questions will they have?
- What do you need to communicate to get funded?
Plain Language Tips
- Limit acronyms and keep terminology consistent
- Write in active voice (Example: We asked former participants to identify barriers to attending workshops.)
- Use pronouns (Example: We = your organization)
- Break your content down into short sentences and paragraphs
- Use common everyday words
- Keep lists to no more than three to seven items
Getting Started with Plain Language
- Paste a writing sample into a free resource like Hemingway Editor. Rate readability, hard to read sentences, word choice, passive voice, etc.
- Review Plain Language samples at The National Institutes of Health.
- Before you submit your grant proposal, give it a listen. Choose the Read Aloud option in MS Word. Listening to your work provides another opportunity to polish your proposal.
Plain Language may feel choppy if you write in a flowery, descriptive style. With practice, it will make you a better writer. Most people scan a document instead of reading it word for word. Using Plain Language helps make your proposal more readable and understandable.
You submitted the grant proposal and now the funder wants to visit your organization. Site visits are a critical step in obtaining grant funding. While a visit does not mean that you will be funded, it does show a funder’s interest in your program. A site visit allows the funder to see your programs in action and get a feel for whether you would be a good partner.
Tips for Successful Site Visits
- Follow any instructions the funder has given for the site visit. Ask questions if you need clarification.
- Do your homework on the backgrounds of the site visit panel. Frame your presentation to include their interests and potential questions.
- Have the right people in the room. Include your executive leader, program-level personnel, and someone from your finance department. Ensure that all staff present have read the full proposal.
- Do not assume that all panelists have read your proposal in its entirety. Be prepared to hit the highlights. Provide a combination of data and stories to appeal to a variety of interests. If possible, invite a program participant to share their story by video or in-person.
- Expect questions about your budget. If the grant award will not cover 100% of your program costs, share how you will cover the gap. How will you change your budget if you are not funded the full amount of your request?
- Address sustainability. How will you keep the program going after the funding cycle ends? What will happen to the program if you do not receive funding?
- Plan and practice your presentation for timing, thoroughness, and potential questions.
- Debrief with staff after the visit. Make notes about what worked and what did not. Use that feedback to plan future visits with other funders.
Grant Proposal Components
Tips on writing each section of a typical grant proposal.
There is no one size fits all proposal. Requirements and processes vary from funder to funder. Federal grants will have more complex requirements. However, you can plan ahead with the following general proposal components.
- Organization name
- Date founded
- Organization type (nonprofit, business, government, etc.)
- Tax identification number
- Website address
- Contact name, title, telephone number, email address
Organizational credibility and expertise in identifying and serving community needs.
- Mission statement
- Brief overview of the organization and evidence of its impact
- Names and qualifications of the organization's Board of Directors and key staff
- Other major donors and dollar amount of contributions
- Number of employees (full time, part time, contract)
- Number of volunteers
Brief one page overview of the proposed program or project.
- Title, start, and end dates
- Alignment with funder’s strategy areas (Examples: education, health, human services, etc.)
- Type of funding requested (Examples: general operating support, project support, capital improvements, capacity building, etc.)
- Target population served (Examples: ethnicity, age, gender, income level, etc.)
- Geographic area to be served
- Number of beneficiaries to be served
- Amount of request
Statement of Need
Explain why your project is needed now.
- Problem or community need that the project addresses
- Other organizations addressing this need
- How your approach is unique
Describe in detail what you will do with the funds.
- Brief history of the project
- Goals and objectives
- Other partners in the project and their roles
- Timeline of activities
- Any risks or limitations and how to address
- Potential replicability
Demonstrate that you understand the finances required to accomplish the project’s work.
- Requested amount
- Line-item budget
- Budget narrative - how funds will be spent and how you determined the project request amount.
Show how you will measure your project’s results.
- Definition of success
- Project deliverables and expected outcomes
- Assessment strategies used to measure success
- Stakeholder involvement in activities (Examples: Board members, target population, community members, etc.)
Steps your organization will take to ensure the future success of the project beyond the completion of funding.
- Future financial support
- Staff requirements
- Continued community interest
Some documents may be referenced in other areas of the proposal. Include them in funder’s requested order. Do not include items that are not requested.
- 501(c)(3) IRS tax designation letter
- Total annual organizational operating budget
- 990 federal tax return
- Current audited financial statement
- List and Bios of Board of Directors and key staff
- Letters of support from key partners
A Letter of Intent (LOI) is a brief written overview of your organization and funding request. It is often required as the first step in applying for a grant. The funder uses your LOI to decide if your project aligns with their strategies. If you are eligible, they will invite you to submit a full grant proposal. The LOI is an opportunity to make a personal connection with the funder.
Before submitting a LOI, read the grant eligibility criteria and guidelines. Only proceed if your project is a good fit. A good LOI demonstrates you have already thought through the entire project.
- No more than two to three pages in length. If the funder provides a page limit, do not exceed it.
- Do not include anything you cannot support with data.
- Offer a clear, concise, and compelling overview of your proposed project.
- Avoid jargon and acronyms.
- If the funder does not provide an email or phone number for questions, do not contact them.
- Submit the LOI as the funder requests. (Examples: postal mail, email, online grants management platform)
- Summary Statement - Brief explanation of who you are, what you want to do, length of project, and amount requested.
- Statement of Need - Problem you will address, why it needs to be solved, why your project is the right approach, and your target population.
- Project Overview - Goals, objectives, timeline, key partners, and innovative aspects of your project.
- Impact - Anticipated project outcomes and evaluation methods.
- Organizational Credibility - Reasons your organization is a best investment to do the work.
- Budget Estimate - Brief list of items that need funding and total amount of request.
- Conclusion - Contact information for follow up and thanks for their consideration.
The executive summary is often a funder’s first look at your proposed project. It is a story of community change. Funders invest in things they care about. Make them care about your organization’s work. Highlight your organization’s expertise, the project’s impact, and a demonstrate a tie to the funder’s interests. You can go into more detail in other sections of the grant proposal. A good executive summary will make the funder eager to read the rest of your proposal. Be concise, persuasive, and address the following questions in no more than one page.
Introduction to Your Organization
- Mission statement
- Programs and services
- Geographic service area
Problem to Address
- Name of project
- How you know there’s a problem (include measurable supporting data)
- Project purpose
- Target population
- Number of beneficiaries to be served
- High level overview of your resources, activities, and anticipated outcomes
Program Start and End Dates
- Dates fall within the grant's funding cycle
- Type of funding requested (Examples: general operating support, project support, capital improvement, etc.)
- Total amount of request
Case for Best Investment
- Innovative or unique aspects of your project
- Why your organization will succeed
- Why your project is a good fit for the funder
The Statement of Need creates the foundation of your grant proposal. It identifies an urgent community need that your organization will address. The need must be related to both your organization’s mission and to the funder’s giving priorities. Concentrate on your main points and present a fact-based, compelling case for support. Find quantitative data sources to support your Statement of Need on our Data Resources page.
Describe the Need
- Do not assume that the funder knows anything about the need.
- Need is specific to your local community.
- Reasons the need exists (root causes).
- Support the need with data - quantitative (facts) and qualitative (human interest story).
- Cite the source of any statistics used.
Identify the Target Population
- Describe the community in which the need exists - resources and challenges.
- Identify why the need impacts this population more than other groups.
- Number of people the program will serve.
Create a Case for Urgency
- Impact of the need on the target population.
- Other organizations addressing this need and why it is not enough.
- Long-term consequences of inaction.
Confirm Your Organization's Expertise
- Experience your organization has in serving the target population - demographics, surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, etc.
- Overview of what you will do - goal, activities, community partners involved, and outcomes.
Now it is time to lay out what your organization plans to do if you get the grant. The funder may also call this a Program Plan or Statement of Work. Include a detailed description of goals, objectives, program activities, and outcomes.
Why did you choose to address the community need through this program?
- Existing program – Share past results. Include a success story about a program participant. This reinforces data from your Statement of Need. What is unique or innovative about the program?
- New program - Include your experience working with the target population. Why is this the best next step? What is unique or innovative about the new program?
- Evidence-based program – Cite research findings to provide credibility for your approach.
Goals and Objectives
- Goal - Broad statement of program purpose. Reflects any goals or priorities listed in the Request For Proposal (RFP). If you achieve your goal, will that solve the stated community need? Tie your goal to your organization’s mission.
- Objective - Quantifiable and shows how you will achieve the program goal. How many objectives you need depends upon the scope of the goal and your budget. Most big community needs cannot be addressed within the scope of a one-year grant. Good objectives are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound).
Partners and their Roles
- Who is doing what?
- Why did you choose these partners?
- How will they contribute to the success of the program?
- How is the work divided between your organization and your partners? Do you have a written agreement?
This portion is often referred to as a Logic Model. The size and detail in your timeline should only reflect the length of the grant cycle. A timeline shows that you are realistic about the planned work and intended results. If the funder permits, include a table or chart to explain your Logic Model.
- Inputs - Program Resources (Examples: Time, staff, volunteers, partners, money, facilities, equipment, technology, etc.)
- Activities - Describe the client experience from start to end. (Examples: Recruit clients, develop materials, hold workshops, provide client surveys, etc.)
- Outputs - Quantifiable results of your activities. (Examples: Number of units, clients/patients served, new partners, etc.)
- Outcomes - Short or long-term changes in knowledge, behavior, etc. (Example: Clients who complete the diabetes self-management course will increase their knowledge of healthy eating and lower their A1C levels.)
Be honest about challenges or barriers and how you will address them.
Funders like to see how their investment will make an impact beyond the end of the grant cycle. If applicable, share how your program could be a model for other communities.
A funder chooses your organization as a best investment in addressing a pressing community need. Your evaluation plan shows how you will measure program success. An evaluation plan does not need to be complicated. Measure what matters. Only collect data that helps you make decisions about your program’s effectiveness. Be realistic about what you can measure with accuracy.
Considerations in Evaluation Planning
- Have you identified useful quantitative and qualitative data to collect?
- What easy and reliable tools can you use to measure success?
- How often will you collect data? How will you store it?
- How will you protect participant confidentiality?
- Who will be responsible for collecting evaluation data? Who will analyze it?
- How will you use the data to improve your program?
- How will you disseminate evaluation results?
- Data Collection - Surveys
- Interview - Focus Groups
- Financials - Cost per unit
- Participation - Attendance
- Performance - Graduation
- Qualitative - Testimonials
- Testing - Pre and post tests
Evaluation may reveal that your program is not progressing as planned. Be honest with the funder. Identify the challenges. Perhaps you need more time or funding to fully address the community need. Use the data you collected to inform your next steps in the evolution of your program.
Your budget is more than a one-page list of expenses at the end of the proposal. It shows the funder that you know what it takes to accomplish the program’s work. Include the full cost of your program, line-item budget with reasonable costs, and budget narrative.
- Develop your budget with help from program and finance staff.
- Do not estimate your budget numbers. Be precise and ask specifically for what you need.
- Pay attention to any costs the funder will not cover, also known as non-allowable costs.
- Reference every budget item in the program narrative. Do not leave anything out.
- Include items even if they are being donated.
- For a multi-year budget, calculate each year separately, accounting for inflation. Justify in your budget narrative.
- Double check your math.
Complete picture of resources needed to support all program activities. Your line-item budget should include all revenue and expenses associated with the program.
- All types of fundraising that directly support the proposed program. This includes any other grant funding that covers some of your program’s expenses.
- In-kind resources can be included as both income and expense. Show that you have identified alternate sources of funding for some budget items. (Examples: volunteer time, meeting space, materials, pro bono services, etc.)
- Depending upon the funder, you may include in-kind resources as required matching funds.
- Your revenue should equal your expenses. Show that the amount you request from the funder is the specific amount you need.
Items or activities associated entirely with the program. Personnel may be your biggest expense. Note if an employee’s time is not covered 100% by the grant.
- Program staff salaries and fringe benefits
- In-kind volunteer and professional hours (Tip: Check Independent Sector and US Bureau of Labor Statistics for current rates.)
- Supplies (Examples: printing, workbooks, flyers, refreshments for classes, etc.)
- Technology (Examples: laptops, iPads, mobile phones, etc. used by program staff or participants)
- Paid or in-kind meeting or event space
- Mileage (Tip: Use IRS rate for per mile reimbursement.)
- Travel (Tip: For government grants, use US General Services Administration for Texas per diem rates.)
Items associated with running the organization, with costs spread across all programs. You can calculate a percentage of these costs to your program budget.
- Administrative staff salaries (Examples: CEO/Executive Director, Human Resources, Finance, etc.)
- Facilities (Examples: rent, utilities, etc.)
- Equipment (Examples: copier, printer, toner, etc.)
This is a companion piece to your line-item budget. The budget narrative is also another opportunity to highlight organizational credibility. Not all funders request a budget narrative, but it can be a helpful tool to write the proposal narrative.
- Organize your narrative in the same order as your line-item budget.
- Express fringe benefits as a percentage of staff salaries.
- Tie expenses back to your goals and objectives.
- For contractors, justify expense with credentials and figures for the going market rate.
- For staff, state position name, program-specific responsibilities, and percentage of their time.
- Provide figures from competitive bids for any large expenses, like equipment.
- Show the math behind any indirect costs.
Your program has value and community support, but the grant that funded it will not last forever. Funders want to invest in programs that can continue beyond their support. A quick answer to sustainability is that you will look for more grants. Unfortunately, a funder wants a more thoughtful response.
Keep in mind that your program does not have to look the same in the future as it does today. Some of your proposed activities may not need to continue beyond the grant.
Highlight Organizational Sustainability Throughout Your Proposal
- Budget and financials - Stable cash flow and that your organization can be trusted with funding
- Leadership credentials – Expertise of key staff and Board of Directors
- History – Successful programs and services that meet community needs
- Statement of Need – Understanding of the problem and plan to address it
- Program Narrative – Well-designed work plan with flexibility for course correction
- Evaluation – Measures of program impact that show benefits for program participants
- Community partnerships – Connections that enhance or expand program services
Make a Case for Program Success - Current and Future
- Diverse funding streams – Grants, government contracts, in-kind donations, individual giving, special events, corporate sponsorships, etc.
- Staffing resources for fundraising and programming
- Collaborations with other organizations
- Organizational strategic plan that dedicates resources for the program
A Letter of Support shows organizational credibility by highlighting community connections.
- Opening statement that identifies the project where funds are being requested
- One or two paragraphs describing the relationship of the supporter to the organization seeking funding
- Closing statement
Do not wait until the last minute to request Letters of Support. Give your contacts enough time to complete their letters at least a week before your proposal is due. Include in the appendix or supporting documents part of your grant proposal.
Instructions for Your Supporters
Make it easy for your supporters to write a Letter of Support for your organization. Provide the following instructions:
- Letter on their organizational letterhead
- Contact person and funder’s address
- Proposal details - name of project, summary, and supporter's role in the project or their history with your organization
- Deadline for returning their Letter of Support to you
Community partnerships support your organization’s credibility. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is an agreement between parties to implement a grant-funded program. This agreement defines the relationship between the lead and partner organizations. MOUs are not legally binding documents and do not typically include financial agreements. The complexity of MOUs can vary by funder, number of partners, and the scope of your grant-funded program.
- Brief description of the intent of the program or project
- Timeframe of the agreement
- Roles and responsibilities of the lead organization
- Roles and responsibilities of the partner organization
- Termination clause to explain how agreement can be ended
- Signatures of organizational representatives
- Date signed
Tips for finding, writing, and submitting grant proposals for public funding.
Public funding includes federal, state, and local government grants and contracts. They can diversify your organization’s revenue streams and create program growth and scale. They are also highly competitive and include strict rules for reimbursement and reporting.
You can find active federal grant opportunities at Grants.gov. Organizations in business for less than five years will not be able to compete for federal grants. Young organizations can build capacity by applying for lower-level government grants. Use your connections. Learn from other community organizations about their best practices in utilizing public funding.
Research what is available in your community at the city, county, and state levels. Check your city or county website or contact their offices to request information. Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) manages grant opportunities at the state level.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding supports community development activities to build stronger communities. Projects can include infrastructure, economic development, community centers, public services, code enforcement, etc. The amount of available annual funding varies by individual government entity.
Find CDBG Opportunities
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides federal CDBG funds on an annual basis. Large cities (Dallas, Houston, etc.) receive CDBG funds directly from HUD as "entitlement" areas. Small, rural cities with populations less than 50,000, and counties with non-metropolitan populations under 200,000 are categorized as "non-entitlement" areas. They must apply for CDBG funds through the State of Texas CDBG program.
Your organization's geographic location will determine whether you apply for CDBG funding through your city, county, or State government's program.
- City or County government websites
- State of Texas CDBG Announcements Listserv
- Texas Department of Agriculture
Is CDBG Right for your Organization?
HUD Exchange has created an "Explore CDBG" online technical assistance page. Learn about basic CDBG requirements and issues related to administering and implementing projects.
Common Elements of a CDBG Application
Review the CDBG's eligibility checklist before you begin writing your proposal. Take advantage of any technical assistance opportunities before submitting your proposal.
- Summary Information - your organization's contact information
- Project Proposal Overview - population served, location, funds requested, other funding sources, etc.
- Project Narrative - goals, outcomes, problem statement, project description, performance measures, timeline, etc.
- Supplemental Information - current services, organizational capacity, key staff, project and general operating budgets, financial systems
- Attachments - forms specific to the opportunity, letters of support, Board of Directors list, bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, etc.
Start your search for a federal grant through Grants.gov. Click on a State Department that you think would be a good fit for your organization. Browse the federal agency's website to find out more about active funding opportunities. Reach out to the agency's point of contact with any questions.
Health-related Federal Grant-making Agencies
- US Department of Agriculture
- US Department of Health and Human Services
- US Department of Labor
- US Department of Veterans Affairs
- National Science Foundation
Search for Federal Grant Data
USAspending is an official open data source of federal spending information, including information about federal contract and grant awards, prime award recipients, and subrecipients.
Organizations must register on SAM.gov and Grants.gov before applying for a federal grant. Thoroughly review all registration requirements. Give yourself extensive time to register and apply for federal grants.
Go-to website for federal grant opportunities. The site offers the following resources:
- Grant Learning Center
- Online User Guide
- Community Blog
- Open Funding
- Subscribe for Funding Alerts
- Track Submitted Applications
There are several forms and certifications required to be on file for your organization. You can search the Forms Repository for copies of relevant forms:
- Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424)
- Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs (SF-424A)
- Assurances for Non-Construction Programs (SF-424B)
- Drug-Free Workplace Requirements
- Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matters
- Environmental Tobacco Smoke
System for Award Management (SAM). The SAM.gov registration process can take up to 10 days to complete. Your organization will also receive a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), a 12-character alphanumeric ID. Anyone can create a user account and profile on SAM.gov. Account credentials are managed by login.gov, a service that allows you to sign in to many federal government websites with one set of credentials.
You can search for the following public information on SAM.gov without a user account:
- Federal assistance listings
- Contract opportunities
- Contract awards
- Federal hierarchy
- Wage determinations
- Entity exclusions
You need a user account to access the following functionalities:
- View entity registrations
- Save searches
- Download search results and individual records
- Follow selected records
- Manage data entry for your entity or federal agency
Many types of organizations are generally eligible to apply for federal funding opportunities. Legislation and federal agency policies define eligibility criteria for each grant.
Determine the Type of Organization You Represent
- Government Organizations – city, county, state, tribe
- Education Organizations – independent school districts and institutions of higher education
- Public Housing Organizations
- Nonprofit Organizations with 501(c)(3) IRS status
- Nonprofit Organizations without 501(c)(3) status
- For-Profit Organizations
- Small Businesses
Read the Application Thoroughly
Federal grant applications are complex and can take many weeks to complete. Before you dive into writing the proposal, make sure your organization and your project are a good fit:
- Geographic requirements
- Capacity to serve a large number of people
- Experience to manage a significant amount of funding
- Ability to meet stringent reporting requirements
Once you establish eligibility for a specific funding opportunity, you are ready to strategize and prepare your application.
Pre-Award: Funding Opportunities and Application Review
Federal Grant-maker Activities
- Plan and develop a funding opportunity
- Announce and advertise the funding opportunity
- Publish the details of the funding opportunity on Grants.gov
- Retrieve submitted applications and provide initial screening
- Formal review process and update applicants on status
- Search for funding opportunity on grants.gov and determine eligibility and mission match
- Register on Grants.gov and SAM.gov
- Download grant application package
- Set up a Grants.gov Workspace
- Complete grant application (plan for several weeks)
- Submit grant application
- Track application status
Award Phase: Award Decisions and Notifications
Federal Grant-maker Activities
- Complete review process
- Notify applicant of funding decision
- Begin working with awarded applicant to finalize funding agreement
- Fund disbursement
- Receive Notice of Award
- Begin project
- Meet all administrative, financial, and reporting requirements of award
Post Award Phase: Implementation, Reporting, and Closeout
Federal Grant-maker Activities
- Oversee awardee’s reporting compliance
- On-site visit with program director and implementation staff
- Award close out
- Other oversight activities (auditing)
- Submit final reporting
- Respond to audit requests
Disclaimer: External links to other sites are intended to be informational and are not endorsed by the Department of State Health Services. These sites may also not be accessible to persons with disabilities. External email links are provided to you as a courtesy.