Recent Comments & Replies from the Community Blog

This blog supports a growing community made up of applicants, grantors, and individuals who are exploring the world of federal grants – sometimes for the very first time. Here we share a few of the most recent questions and comments posed by community members and readers.

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Commenting on “It’s Going Away: The Legacy PDF Application Package Will Be Retired

“As a Grantor, what does this mean for the application packages that we download and process? Our software expects to see a zip file containing the SF424, attachments, manifest, etc. Thanks in advance for any guidance you can provide.” –Kevin

Hi Kevin, Thanks for the question! Nothing will change on your end. You will still get the same zip file containing the SF424, attachments, manifest, etc. –

Continue reading Recent Comments & Replies from the Community Blog

Using Data for Grant Applications

The passage of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) has unlocked a wider array of U.S. government spending data for public consumption. Among the beneficiaries of this data are federal grant applicants and the new beta version of (Note: The data is still being migrated, so more historical data is available here.) Homepage

How Could This Data Help?

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Tips & Highlights from #GrantChat This Week

We had a great time talking with you all in the grants community on Twitter Tuesday. #GrantChat is a great way for grant professionals to connect, share resources, and discuss questions. We started by sharing a few bad grant puns and jokes, but also shared a number of resources:

Continue reading Tips & Highlights from #GrantChat This Week

Join on #GrantChat Today at Noon!

There are lots of online resources available for those new to federal grants as well as for those that are more experienced. Community Blog and the #grantchat community on Twitter are focused on bringing those resources to you.

Today, has invited us to be a guest on their weekly #grantchat Twitter discussion. Here is a preview of today’s chat discussion topics:

Continue reading Join on #GrantChat Today at Noon!

‘Harmonizing’ U.S. Federal Grant Terminology

The U.S. federal government is in the midst of an effort to fix inconsistencies in the terminology used across federal financial assistance application forms. The home for the newly “harmonized” terms is the Common Data Element Repository Library, or CDER Library.

CDER Library logo

Over the years, synonymous data elements on federal grant forms have sometimes been used interchangeably. For example, forms from different systems and applications have listed “address” as “Street 1”, as “Address Line 1” or as “Street Address Line 1”.

Continue reading ‘Harmonizing’ U.S. Federal Grant Terminology

Read This Before You Respond to SAM-Related Spam

If you have been in the federal grants community for any time at all, you probably know that your organization needs an account with the System for Award Management (SAM), or, to do business (e.g., receive grants) from the U.S. government.

SAM registration is relatively simple (you’ll need a DUNS number), and it’s free. However, there is no shortage of spam calls and emails offering paid services to register and maintain your registration. These can cost hundreds of dollars, but be cautious when responding to such appeals. Registering, renewing, and updating your SAM registration is absolutely free.

Continue reading Read This Before You Respond to SAM-Related Spam

Is This a Grant Scam?

“You are eligible for FREE grants! Just fill out this quick application: First & Last Name, Home Address, Birthdate, Social Security Number (SSN), and Bank Account & Routing Numbers to receive the grant” — that is a grant scam.

You answer a phone call: “Hi, this is Greg McCaffrey from the Federal Bureau of Grant Awards. Based on your tax records, you qualify for a federal grant of $5,300. You just have to pay the service fee of $125 via wire transfer” — that is a grant scam.

Unfortunately, a lot of people attempt to scam us out of our hard-earned money, and they often use the guise of government grants. The specific tactics, questions, and circumstances scam artists use will continue to change, so we have to remain aware and cautious. How do we avoid being a victim of a scam?

Three Tips to Avoid Scams:

Continue reading Is This a Grant Scam?

What Is a Block Grant? [Updated]

A block grant is a specific type of federal financial assistance for a broadly defined function. Before getting into the nuance of block grants, it may be helpful to know what we mean by the terms “federal financial assistance” and “grant.”

Block grants are primarily awarded by the federal government to U.S. state or territory governments, although some block grants are awarded directly to local governments (e.g., Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Entitlement Program to cities and counties on a formula basis). The block grant recipients then implement the programs within those broadly defined functions (i.e., the purpose & parameters defined by legislation).

Continue reading What Is a Block Grant? [Updated]

What Is the Office of Management and Budget? (And How Does It Relate to Grants?)

What is blog series logoThe Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is an Executive Branch office that oversees the implementation of the President of the United States’ vision across government agencies ( – OMB).

This relates to the grant programs implemented by federal agencies, how they are managed, their budgets, and the forms applicants complete when applying for a grant.
Continue reading What Is the Office of Management and Budget? (And How Does It Relate to Grants?)

What Is Federal Financial Assistance?

Federal financial assistance is the transfer of anything of value, most often money, from a federal agency to a non-federal entity. In the most general sense, federal financial assistance is a tool the government uses to serve public purposes as defined by Congress.

Federal financial assistance is a very broad term, and it can take on a variety of more precise forms. One of the most common forms is a grant, which we write about quite often on this blog. Continue reading What Is Federal Financial Assistance?