What You Need to Know Before Competing for a Federal Grant!
Newbie's, visit the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance at cfda.gov for an extensive overview of grants for which you may be eligible. Grant descriptions include the objective of the grant, its uses and restrictions, eligibility requirements, and other correlated information. On the CFDA website they have grant application process information. It is good reference material.
Veteran applicants, who have a clear idea of what type of grant they need, may prefer to go directly to grants.gov which provides specific details and also allows you to apply online.
Prepare to apply.
There is no application fee, but you must obtain a DUNS number and a System for Award Management (SAM, formerly CCR) and registering at SAM may take up to a week or more. If you want to receive a grant by a particular time, plan accordingly. Also, do not wait until the last minute to try and submit your award electronically.
• Obtain a DUNS number
Federal policy requires anyone doing business with the federal government to have a DUNS number. Go to http://www.dnb.com and click "D & B DUNS Number" in the upper-right tab. On the next page, click "Next" tab in the "For US Government Contractors, Vendors, and Grant Recipients" box on the right side of the page. Follow the instructions. There is no charge for this number.
• Register with SAM.gov (System for Award Management).
Federal policy also requires anyone doing business with the federal government, including those seeking grants, to be registered with the SAM. Go to sam.gov Follow the instructions.
• Documents you need if you are applying for a federal grant for the first time:
Letter of intent. As an Individual this would be your resume and why you would be appropriate to receive funding. A business or organization should include an Organizational Resume as well as why the grant would be appropriate.
References. These should be professionals able to speak to your qualifications for the grant. Support Letter's are perfect. You will want to make friends with political support staff, because it holds a lot of weight when you have a support letter from your Congressional delegation.
• When you have all your documents in order, a DUNS number and are registered at SAM, you can now register at Grants.gov to submit a grant application electronically. Whatever you do, do not wait until the last minute to submit your grant, give yourself at least 48 hours.
One last piece of advice, if you do not have your DUN's number or your SAM give yourself up to three weeks to obtain those items.