Grant Writing Basics: Understand the Funder before Writing

Whether you are writing an email, blog post, or lengthy proposal, you need to consider the question, “Who is my audience?” In the grants world, your audience will usually be the agency awarding funds and the people reviewing your application.

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The process of learning about a grant-making agency is closely related to evaluating mission alignment, so this next installment of the Grant Writing Basics series assumes that (1) your organization’s mission aligns with that of the grant-making agency and that (2) you are actively preparing to write a grant application.

Why Is It Important to Understand Your Audience?

Continue reading Grant Writing Basics: Understand the Funder before Writing

Pop Quiz: Do You Really Know What a Grant Is?

Thousands of you have read the What Is a Grant? blog series, but did you retain the information? We hope to make all the teachers out there proud with a friendly pop-quiz.

Instructions: Click the response you think is correct. Every response provides feedback. You may use the blog search for hints.

Continue reading Pop Quiz: Do You Really Know What a Grant Is?

User Story: Designing a Strategy for Finding Federal Grants

Over the last few weeks, we have begun featuring user scenarios from across the Grants.gov user experience. Click the User Story tag for all the posts in the series.

Susan's scenario: As a staff member in a university’s Office of Sponsored Research, I need to start searching for federal grants and sending opportunity reports to different departments.

Now that Susan is up to speed on the phases of the federal grant lifecycle, she feels better equipped to begin scouring Grants.gov for grant opportunities that hold promise for her organization. To complicate things a bit, Susan’s university is looking for grants across a range of different categories.

So for each grouping of opportunities, she will need to use a different combination of keywords and search parameters. Of course, it would be great to be able to save these different search queries and receive emails when a grant comes up in them.

Let’s look at a three-part strategy Susan has designed for finding opportunities that may help you find the grants you are looking for.

Continue reading User Story: Designing a Strategy for Finding Federal Grants

Federal Program Manager – The Beginning of Trish’s Grantor Story

Trish: As a federal program manager, I need to publish a grant forecast and Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the public to apply for.

Before anyone can apply for this HHS grant, Trish needs to coordinate the design and posting of the FOA. To allow prospective applicants more time to plan, Trish would also like to publish a grant forecast.

Continue reading Federal Program Manager – The Beginning of Trish’s Grantor Story

Grant Writing Basics: How to Start Working on Future Funding Opportunities

As with many projects in life, it is best to begin your planning and writing as early as you can. When applying for federal grants, the OMB Uniform Guidance sets forth a 30 to 60 day range for federal funding opportunities to be open:

“(b) The Federal awarding agency must generally make all funding opportunities available for application for at least 60 calendar days. The Federal awarding agency may make a determination to have a less than 60 calendar day availability period but no funding opportunity should be available for less than 30 calendar days unless exigent circumstances require as determined by the Federal awarding agency head or delegate.” §200.203(b)

A reasonable follow-up question to this is what to do if you would like to begin working on a grant application more than two months in advance.

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New Hire to a University – The Beginning of Susan’s Applicant Story

Text in the speech bubble: As a new hire in a university’s Office of Sponsored Research, I’m supposed to get up to speed on “grants” and start sending opportunity reports to different departments.

You’ve probably been in Susan’s circumstance at some point in your career. You’re starting a new job, and it has something to do with grants but don’t know exactly what that means. Now you need to quickly learn about federals grants so that you can get one and manage it.

How Can Susan Learn about Grants?

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What Is a CFDA Number?

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA), an E-Gov initiative managed by the General Services Administration (GSA), is a list of all federal financial assistance and nonfinancial assistance programs available to a variety of applicants.

The CFDA, now called Assistance Listings on beta.SAM.gov, helps users find general information about the assistance, identify program objectives, eligibility requirements, and links to current opportunities on Grants.gov related to a particular assistance listing.

CFDA numbers are the system for identifying and sorting the 2,000+ federal programs. Each CFDA number contains five digits and appears in the following format: ##.### (e.g., 10.001 or 98.102).

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GSA recently moved the CFDA from the now retired CFDA.gov to beta.SAM.gov, and it is now referred to as Assistance Listings.

To search the Assistance Listings, go to beta.SAM.gov, select the “Assistance Listings” option from the search drop-down menu, then type a keyword or number and click the Search button. Here’s a direct link to the Assistance Listings as well.

Continue reading What Is a CFDA Number?

Connecting In the Discussion Forum | #GrantChat Highlights Part 5

Have you ever wanted to ask other grant applicants for help or resources? The new Discussion Forum is a place for Grants.gov users to do just that. We asked the grant professionals on #GrantChat how they think the forum could be useful to users.

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In what ways does the #grantchat community think the forum could be beneficial to federal grant applicants?

Continue reading Connecting In the Discussion Forum | #GrantChat Highlights Part 5

Questions about the Grants.gov Mobile App | #GrantChat Highlights Part 4

The Grants.gov Mobile App launched in the App Store and Google Play in April, so we asked for early feedback from the #grantchat community. Share any feedback you have in the comments section below.

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Have you downloaded the Grants.gov Mobile App yet? If so, when do you like to hop on the app?

Continue reading Questions about the Grants.gov Mobile App | #GrantChat Highlights Part 4

Feedback to Improve Grants.gov | #GrantChat Highlights Part 3

We value your feedback and want to improve Grants.gov, so we currently have two website usability activities—card sorting and tree test—open for your input until this Friday, May 25, 2018. We asked the #GrantChat community for their feedback:

feedback to improve Grants.gov from #grantchat

Continue reading Feedback to Improve Grants.gov | #GrantChat Highlights Part 3