Often, identifying the grants that an individual, small business or organization is both interested in and qualified for is one of the biggest hurdles in the federal grant process. After all, with thousands of grants to apply for, narrowing down the field can take up an understandingly significant portion of a potential applicant's time, (although a detailed search can certainly streamline this process dramatically.)
The good news is that determining how to apply for a federal grant, once the desired grant is identified, is a far simpler process, made even easier with the resources available at the federal government grants' website, http://www.grants.gov/. Obviously, there will still be paperwork and most likely a grant proposal involved, but once selected, figuring out the initial application procedures is fairly easily accomplished.
The first step that a potential grantee will most likely need to take is to get registered. In order to apply online for a grant, an individual and / or organization must complete the federal government's registration process. Registration can take between 3 business days to two full weeks, depending on if the specific steps of registration are appropriately completed. Applicants can register online at http://www.grants.gov/applicants/apply-for-grants.html.
The next step for potential grantees is to download the Grant Application package, which is also available online at http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/download-application-package.html. Applicants will need their CFDA Number, a number assigned to the program the grantee is applying for, the Funding Opportunity Number, and the Funding Opportunity Competition ID. All of these identifying numbers should be listed in correlation with the grant an applicant is applying for.
Once the application is downloaded, it is up to the applicant to peruse through the pages of questions and to save changes as they go. (Grants.gov does not automatically save the application so users can pick up where they left off.) Instructions and requirements to apply, which may include additional materials such as grant proposals, will be clearly spelled out in the first pages of the grant application. However, as an extra precaution, grants will not be allowed to be submitted online until fully complete, to save both the applicant and the federal government department reviewing the grant hours of time.
Once the grant application is finished, all an online applicant has to do is click "save and submit" on the cover page to send the application to grants.gov, where it will be transferred to the proper department and personnel. A confirmation screen will appear indicating that a submission is complete, and a tracking number will be provided in case of support or online submission questions.
Remember that if you have questions about the criteria for a specific grant, the best resource is the federal government department that is distributing the grant. Contact that department first, and for general online submission questions that don't entail the qualifications for an individual grant, contact grants.gov at 1-800-518-4726 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Generally, each individual grant has a highly detailed application which outlines everything an applicant needs to know before and during the application process. Thanks to the presence of online registration and federal grant applications, as well as detailed instructions, potential grant recipients should find that the process of obtaining and submitting an application is one of the easiest aspects of applying for and receiving a federal grant.