The 2017 fiscal year has been an important one for federal government grants. Milestones include the completion of a Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) pilot program and the release of the OMB M-17-26 Reducing Burden for Federal Agencies by Rescinding and Modifying OMB Memorandum.
Many federal agencies conduct similar types of work, such as awarding federal grants. While the mission and specific goals of each grant program vary, many of the processes for posting, applying for, managing, and reporting on federal grants are the same. This is where federal shared services come in. Rather than each agency developing & maintaining the same services, the costs and benefits are shared. In this role, Grants.gov serves its purpose—to be a shared service for both the public and federal agencies.
The Exploring Eligibility blog series previously covered the general availability of federal grants for home repairs, among other topics. This follow-up post focuses on grants and other forms of financial assistance associated with federally-declared disaster zones.
Hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, forest fires and other natural disasters can leave deep scars on the communities they impact. Homes and property can be damaged or destroyed. Jobs and businesses can be lost. Lives can be upended.
When a natural disaster strikes and a region is declared a federal disaster zone, the U.S. government can authorize several forms of assistance designed to help impacted communities recover and rebuild.
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.
“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. –Grants.gov
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 USAspending.gov. (Note: The data is still being migrated, so more historical data is available here.)
How Could This Data Help?
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:
— #GrantChat (@Grant_Chat) July 25, 2017
— Grants.gov (@grantsdotgov) July 25, 2017
There are lots of online resources available for those new to federal grants as well as for those that are more experienced. Grants.gov Community Blog and the #grantchat community on Twitter are focused on bringing those resources to you.
Today, GrantChat.org has invited us to be a guest on their weekly #grantchat Twitter discussion. Here is a preview of today’s chat discussion topics:
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.
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”.
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 SAM.gov, 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.
“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?