How to Apply for Grants

By Jonathan Bales , last updated July 24, 2011
Grants are funds provided to nonprofit companies, businesses or educational institutions for use in a particular project. Receiving a grant can be extremely difficult due to the volume of requests made each year. To be seriously considered for a grant, it is crucial to properly fill out the grant application. The application process can vary based on the grant type, but there are a few steps which are common to all types of grants. Read below for information on how to properly apply for a grant.
First, you need to download a grant application at grants.gov. To do so, you will need to enter a Funding Opportunity Number. This number is provided by grants.gov and it relates to the type of grant for which you are seeking. In order for grants.gov to provide you with the correct forms, they need to know the exact type of grant you want. If you select the wrong Funding Opportunity Number, you will receive the wrong application and your grant request will be denied. Thus, it is imperative you search grants.gov for the correct number before downloading your grant application.
To download the application, you will need Adobe software. If you do not have this on your computer, you will need to download the program. Once you download your grant application forms, there will be a cover sheet with instructions on how to open and fill out the forms. Once you sort through this information, you can print the application and submit it to other members of your company or business. Together, you can work on filling out the forms in the most appropriate manner.
Once you have finished filling out the forms offline, you can transfer this information online. Visit grants.gov and visit the online application area after you have submitted your login information. Fill out the forms just as you did in your printed papers. The website has an area that will instruct you through the process if you need help. Be sure to save all of your work as you go. This step is crucial, as grants.gov does not automatically save your input. If your computer shuts off or the internet stops working, you could lose all unsaved work. Because the application can be somewhat long, you may also want to fill it out in more than one sitting.
Make sure you fill out all necessary areas of the application, as it cannot be submitted until you do so. Proofread your work when you have finished, and then submit the application. The button to submit your application is called "Save and Submit" and it is located on the application's cover page. Once you do this, a confirmation page will come up if your application was successfully submitted. Be sure to save the tracking number provided on this page. This will allow you to check the progress of your grant application as the process moves forward. More importantly, you will need the number in the event that you must contact grants.gov for support regarding your application.
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