3 Steps to Prepare for a Successful Federal Grant Season


Spring tends to be a busy time to apply for federal grant opportunities. There are several reasons why this time of year is so busy, but the main reason is based around the start of the federal fiscal year.

The majority of available and new competitive grants are from discretionary federal funds that are annually approved and appropriated. The federal fiscal year begins October 1st (of course, assuming that Congress passes appropriations and there is not a government shutdown!). As a result, the federal government is working against a fall start date to issue the federal awards. The timeline typically looks something like this:

  • Spring (March – May): Federal agencies release requests for funds (RFP) and/or notice of funding available (NOFA) via www.grants.gov and their internal agency’s funding announcement page.
  • Summer (May – July): Application proposals are submitted to the appropriate federal agency for review.
  • Late Summer (July – August): Proposals are reviewed by a panel of external experts and scores/comments are returned to federal agency.
  • Early Fall (September): Federal agency officials make final award decisions, issue award letters, and finalize contract agreements.
  • Fall (October): Federal grantees receive their grant awards and begin implementation of their program/service/research.

If your organization is considering applying for a federal grant, there are some simple steps that you should consider to be prepared.

  1. Search for grant opportunities here. All discretionary grants offered by the 26 federal grant-making agencies can be found on Grants.gov. You do not have to be registered to search for grants.
  2. Subscribe to receive updates on grant postings and other news. You can manage your subscription here.
  3. Register your organization here. In order to apply for a grant, your organization must complete the Grants.gov registration process. There are four steps involved to complete your registration, which include obtaining a DUNS #, registering with the System for Award Management (SAM), creating a username/passcode, and identifying an Authorized Organization Representative. The registration process can take up to four weeks if all steps are not completed in a timely manner.

Grants.gov has prepared a new training video to explain the registration and application process. By implementing these three steps, your organization will be ahead of the game when it is time to apply for a federal grant opportunity.

If the process seems intimidating or overwhelming, consider bringing an external expert on federal grant opportunities. Transform Consulting Group is experienced in submitting successful federal grant applications and is available to work with your organization to navigate the federal grant process. Contact us today for a free consultation!