User Story: Applying for Federal Grants When Internet Connectivity Is Limited

Leo - I need to apply for a federal grant, but I have to drive a couple hours from our rural community to a town with internet access. As a result, I need to be able to fill out the grant application forms offline.

Grants.gov has long been attentive to the needs of applicants like Leo. One of the key benefits of the Grants.gov Workspace platform is that it can serve a range of applicant needs, including those applicants who must work on forms offline due to slow or intermittent access to internet.

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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

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

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

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?

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

The Grants Community | #GrantChat Highlights Part 1

As our blog name suggests, we are all about connecting and supporting the federal grants community. On May 1st, we had a great time during the weekly #GrantChat on Twitter. In the #GrantChat Highlights 5-part series, we will recap key questions and share your contributions to the community.

Connect with the grants community on #grantchat

What is the “grants community”? What does it mean to you?

We refer to the grants community often, so it’s important to reflect on and define what we – and other members of the community – mean:

Continue reading The Grants Community | #GrantChat Highlights Part 1

Demystifying Funding Opportunity Announcements on Grants.gov—Grant Writing Basics

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.

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4 (More) Key Competencies for Grant Professionals

Chief Financial Officers Council logoIn October we shared 5 Key Competencies for Aspiring Federal Grants Management Pros based on the U.S. Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Council’s Financial Assistance Management Career Roadmap. Today, we are continuing with 4 more important elements to your career progression.

For all grant pros, these competencies represent important concepts and responsibilities to know and practice along your career path.

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Register for the HHS Grants Management Conference on January 9, 2018

If you are a grant professional with the federal government, or if you are involved in the grant-making process, then this conference is for you. With the focus of “Pathways to Grant Success,” this training conference by HHS’ Office of Grants and Acquisition Policy and Accountability (OGAPA) will cover the following areas:

Continue reading Register for the HHS Grants Management Conference on January 9, 2018

5 Key Competencies for Aspiring Federal Grants Management Pros

A job in Financial Assistance Management might not have topped your career wish list when you first entered the job market (unfulfilled professional basketball aspirations notwithstanding). But some people who take a government job or work for a nonprofit eventually stumble into a grant manager role – and they end up loving it.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) defines federal grants management as work that “involves implementing and managing federal grants and cooperative agreements and providing grants-related assistance and services.”

Chief Financial Officers Council logoIf a grants management role sounds like it might be up your alley, the CFO Council has identified nine functional competencies that are standard performance requirements. Below, we have highlighted our five favorites (and summarized the other four).

1. Accountability

  • Ensures that effective controls are developed and maintained to assure the integrity of the organization
  • Holds self and others accountable for rules and responsibilities
  • Can be relied upon to ensure that projects within areas of specific responsibility are completed in a timely manner and within budget
  • Monitors and evaluates plans, focuses on results, and measuring attainment of outcomes

Continue reading 5 Key Competencies for Aspiring Federal Grants Management Pros