Federal government grants are complex creatures that can take quiet a bit of expertise to understand. The applications are not for the faint of heart, and it often takes weeks of coordinated efforts to complete one.
But the payoffs of federal government grants are big, so here are three things you should know before you apply:
Federal government grants tend to favor replicatable projects; that is, if the project you’re proposing can be scaled up or serve as a prototype for others to copy. This isn’t necessarily a written requirement for a federal grant, but it can help your application.
Sooner is better. You’ll want to register your agency as soon as possible within the government’s SAM and DUNS systems. These registrations can take time to process, and the submission deadlines are often short-term. If your organization is even considering applying for federal government grants at some point, you should complete these registrations. Then, when you’re ready to apply, you’ll have them on hand.
Be prepared for reporting on your outcome measurements. Government grants will be very strict about what they want to see reported and you may have strict deadlines to meet. The government does occasionally audit nonprofits to make sure everything is on the up and up. If your nonprofit is not prepared to keep careful records—or hire an outside company to do so—all bets are off.
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