What Is a Budget Narrative?

The What is… Blog Series is designed to serve as an entry point for readers who are new to federal grants, or who might just need a refresher. Click here to read more posts in this series.

Grants.gov's What is... Blog Series

What Is a Budget Narrative?

A budget narrative provides explanations about line items from the grant applicant’s standard budget. In federal grant applications, a budget narrative is sometimes called a budget justification or a budget detail.

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OMB Issues Version 1 of the Standard Grants Management Data Elements

The Office of Management and Budget recently issued Version 1.0 of the Standard Grants Management Data Elements. The data elements had previously been made available for public comment from November 2018 to February 2019.

As part of the announcement, OMB, on behalf of the Cross-Agency Priority Goal: Results-Oriented Accountability for Grants Executive Steering Committee (ESC), also published an infosheet explaining how the  Standard Grants Management Data Elements fits within the broader federal government goal of “maximizing the value of grant funding by applying a risk-based, data-driven framework that balances compliance requirements with demonstrating successful results for the American taxpayer.”

Continue reading OMB Issues Version 1 of the Standard Grants Management Data Elements

What Is a Research Grant?

This post was originally published on December 6, 2016 and updated on October 7, 2019.

Within the realm of federal government grants, research and development grants are some of the most numerous and diverse. What types of research grants does the Federal government support?

When you search for “research” on Grants.gov, there are currently over 1,600 open grant opportunities! Each of these diverse assistance programs and grant opportunities are legislatively authorized federal assistance programs that federal grant-making agencies use to support research.

Grants.gov's What is... Blog Series

What do you mean by “research”?

A simple definition of research is the “careful study that is done to find and report new knowledge about something” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). While many of us may picture scientists in white coats performing lab experiments, the range of research grants is far wider.

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Resource: GSA Publishes Q&A About Upcoming Entity ID Rollout

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently published a set of questions fielded from users, along with answers, about upcoming changes to the unique entity identifier used to do business with the government.

Beginning in December 2020, the D-U-N-S® number will be replaced by a “new, non-proprietary identifier” requested in, and assigned by, the System for Award Management. This new identifier is being called the Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), or the Entity ID.

Q&A Resource

Learn more about the Entity ID rolloutBelow are some examples from the new GSA Q&A resource:

Q: Will the GSA automatically assign the new UEI or does the vendor have to take action to register?
A: Existing registrants will be automatically assigned a new UEI. New registrants will be assigned a UEI as part of their SAM registration.

Q: For entities that receive a subgrant from a recipient of a federal award, will they be required to obtain a unique identifier from SAM.gov?
A: Yes. Sub-awardees will need to obtain a UEI to adhere to regulations. Instead of going to D&B for a DUNS number like they do today, the sub-awardee would go to SAM.gov to request a UEI. They will not be required to complete the full entity registration process.

Continue reading Resource: GSA Publishes Q&A About Upcoming Entity ID Rollout

What Is a Need Statement?

The What is… Blog Series is designed to serve as a gentle entry point for readers who are new to federal grants, or who might just need a refresher on a particular term. Previous installments have focused mainly on defining types of federal funding. Here, and in several forthcoming series posts, we will explore terminology within the federal grant application itself, beginning with something that is sometimes called the “heart” of the federal grant proposal – the statement of need, or need(s) statement.

Grants.gov's What is... Blog Series 

Q: What is a Need Statement?

A need statement outlines a public or community need that the federal grant applicant’s proposed project aims to address.

The need statement may be a few sentences, or a few paragraphs, in length. It is typically one part – a very important part – of the larger project narrative that carries the reader from the defined need into discussion of specifically how the applicant aims to address that need.

“The need statement should … tell a story that conveys the applicant’s knowledge and insight, and demonstrate that the organization understands the issue well enough to address the problem,” reads guidance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In the context of federal grants, the “problem” can be anything from the need to digitize and preserve historically significant photographs to the need to protect a habitat or an endangered species, or the need to investigate a scientific finding that promises health benefits for people with cancer, or the need to support efforts to re-train workers from fading industries.

The need statement, then, conveys that the applicant is both familiar and equipped to address a problem according to the specifics outlined in the federal agency’s funding opportunity announcement published on Grants.gov.

Want to Go Deeper?

We have devoted a separate blog post focused on how to write a good need statement.

Some federal agencies also publish successful proposals on their website. Dig into these and you will find some great examples of need statements. We recommend starting with the Institute of Museum and Library Services application database.

What Is a Government Contract? And How Does a Contract Differ from a Grant?

This post was originally published on May 9, 2018 and updated on August 28, 2019.

We expect to hit some turbulence in this blog post, so we have turned on the proverbial fasten seat belt light.

The seemingly simple question, “What is a government contract?”, requires a complex answer. We have divided this blog post into four sections: (1) basic definitions, (2) five differences between grants and contracts, (3) examples of a grant and contract to illustrate these differences, and (4) resources for more information.

Grants.gov's What is... Blog Series

 

Continue reading What Is a Government Contract? And How Does a Contract Differ from a Grant?

Applicant Resource: NIH’s ‘All About Grants’ Podcast

Do you enjoy making time in your day for podcasts, whether during a commute, over lunch or after a long day at work? If you’re a grant pro – or if you’re on your way to becoming one – you might want to add the National Institutes of Health (NIH) All About Grants podcast to your listening queue.

Applicant Resources

While the podcast’s episodes are often geared towards NIH programs and policies, applicants to other federal agencies will still find a good amount of wisdom and insight.

Continue reading Applicant Resource: NIH’s ‘All About Grants’ Podcast

GSA Provides Projected Timeline for Implementation of New Unique Entity Identifier Replacing D-U-N-S® Number

The time is coming to say goodbye to the D-U-N-S® number.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently published a resource page that outlines upcoming changes to the unique entity identifier used to do business with the government.

Beginning in December 2020, the D-U-N-S® number will be replaced by a “new, non-proprietary identifier” requested in, and assigned by, the System for Award Management (SAM.gov). This new identifier is being called the Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), or the Entity ID.

Learn more about the Entity ID rollout

Continue reading GSA Provides Projected Timeline for Implementation of New Unique Entity Identifier Replacing D-U-N-S® Number

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

This post was originally published on May 1, 2017 and updated on July 23, 2019.

The 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 (WhiteHouse.gov – OMB). This relates to the grant programs implemented by federal agencies and affects how they are managed, their budgets, and the forms applicants complete when applying for a grant.

Grants.gov's What is... Blog Series
Continue reading What Is the Office of Management and Budget? (And How Does It Relate to Federal Grants?)

Grant Writing: How to Build Credibility with Your Budget Narrative

Need statements, program narratives, and discussions of impact aren’t the only parts of a federal grant application that require the touch of a good writer. The budget narrative – sometimes called the budget justification or budget detail – can also benefit from a skilled wordsmith.

Here, though, the burden carried by the writer weighs heaviest in the areas of precision, thoroughness and organization – and less so in the areas of color and creativity.

What follows are budget narrative writing tips that have been curated from a wide range of federal agency resources.

Grant Writing Tips

Continue reading Grant Writing: How to Build Credibility with Your Budget Narrative