Grants.gov is THE source to FIND and APPLY for U.S. federal grants. This site is a resource for government agencies that have grants to offer and everyone seeking grants. It is managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2009, over 300,000 submissions for grants were received.
This is a legitimate and official site. With that comes what you mostly expect: thousands of listings for grant opportunities. It's about as exciting as looking through the classifieds. Grant listings are detailed but esoteric in their language.
Beware, this is not a site for anyone to post grant opportunities. This is a site operated by the U.S. government for federal grants only. If you are a grantor looking to list grants, this isn't the place for you. Only U.S. government employees can register as grantors at this site.
As Grants.gov states repeatedly, this is also not the site for individuals that need financial assistance. While individuals may apply for federal grants, the majority of those people will be contractors engaged in work-for-hire. Businesses and non-profits benefit best from Grants.gov.
If you're confused as to whether this site might be useful to you, please read our article called Grants.gov Is Not For You and that should help you understand who will get the most out of it.
The absolute best part of Grants.gov is its grants listings. This is a large database continuously updated. You can always find up-to-date information in these listings. Listings are designed in three parts: Synopsis, Full Announcement, and Application. The expected process is to disccover, investigate and apply. You may be surprised to discover that listings aren't directly from Grants.gov. There is no Department of Grants in the U.S. Government. Instead, Grants.gov aggregates thousands of opportunites from every branch of the government. Listings come from everywhere, ranging from the Department of the Army to the Food & Drug Administration. This is good news for applicants since regardless what your business is based on, there's probably support to be found here. Utilize both the browsing and searching abilities of the site for best results.
The tools provided by the site are also fantastic. In order to help you and your business, Grants.gov provides iPortal for help, advanced search facilities for applicants, email notifications on changes or updates, registration, and application tracking. The developers have gone through a lot of work to provide these fantastic features to visitors. So make use of them! The latest contribution: iPortal was developed in just the last couple years to provide specific help on opportunities.
A newsletter called “Succeed” at least sounds promising. The newsletter is published a couple times each year and contains specific information about the site. At first glance, we thought this was an awesome resource. If you go and view it for yourself you'll probably be surprised like we were: the newsletter is about the website and not about grants. If you step back, this makes sense since the main goal of Grants.gov is to connect grantors with grantees. If you're looking for more help with grants, this newsletter isn't for you. If you're really concerned about security and want updates on account management facilities, then you'll like it.
Like the newsletter, the stakeholder webcast is a very cut-and-dry presentation of where Grants.gov is headed and what improvements have occurred over the previous year. If you're looking for help, don't bother looking here. This is intended for U.S. Government grantors that are interested in having a valuable website for getting work contracted.
All-in-all the site is really cut-and-dry. It appeals much more to paper-pushers in offices than entrepreneurs or business owners. Piercing through the listings is kind of like reading through the tax code on the IRS website. Given the esoteric language used, it's not surprising that people and businesses have difficulty getting grants.
Lastly (and almost comically), as with most businesses, people love acronyms. Don't be surprised when you see these:
- OMB - Office of Management and Budget
- FFATA - Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act
- FSRS - FFATA Subaward Reporting System
- CDG - Career Development Grants
If you see an acronym you don't recognize, just punch it into Google.com. One of the titles in the search results is likely the expansion of the acronym for which you're searching.
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