It is easy to be intimidated when you first encounter a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) on Grants.gov.
There are the four tabs of content. The technical language culled from industry and government programs. Application forms, some of which may require file attachments. And, of course, there is the shiver-inducing closing date.
We have developed the following tips to help applicants (especially those new to the federal grant application process) demystify the FOA and position themselves for a solid submission:
1) Register with Grants.gov and assign roles to your team before digging into an FOA or creating a workspace. If you don’t set up your account properly, you risk facing delays when you are ready to begin work on the application.
2) Read the FOA’s eligibility requirements carefully. After all, you don’t want to spend hours on an application only to realize later that you are not eligible to apply.
3) Preview the forms that you will need to fill out, including any optional ones that might require extra work or file attachments. Identify information or agreements you need that will take a while to track down.
4) Try to visualize what a successful application will look like. Break it down into its component parts – budget data, narrative and storytelling, standard form data, etc.
5) Jot down the agency contact listed in the opportunity. And if you need to, establish a line of communication early in the process so that if you have any program-related questions you can quickly reach out.
6) Plan to submit the final application at least a few days before the closing date, allowing yourself time to fix errors if any are encountered when you click submit.
Do you have other tips for first-time federal grant applicants? Share them below and we will highlight our favorites in a future blog post.