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November 4, 2008    DOL Home > CFBCI > How Do I Apply for Grants?   

How Do I Apply for Federal Grants?

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1. How do I apply for federal grants?

Throughout the year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and other department and agencies publish different grant opportunities in a format that could be called a Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA), a Request for Proposals (RFP), or Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). SGA, RFP and NOFA are published online at and the Department of Labor Web site. Potential grantees usually have 30-60 days to submit their applications.

In order to apply for a federal grant, it is crucial that your organization register at The process for registering may take a couple of weeks; therefore your organization might choose to register at even before you identify an SGA, RFP or NOFA that you would want to respond to. Once your organization is registered, you will be able to apply for grants directly online when they become available throughout the year. While some agencies may also still accept paper copies of grant applications, it is best to apply directly online at

Some federal funding opportunities are available through a contract. These opportunities are listed through In the case of the Department of Labor, contract opportunities related to Job Corps are published on Additionally, the Social Security Administration offers the opportunity for organizations to join the “Employment Network,” help people with disabilities return to work, and receive funding for meeting certain benchmarks.  This opportunity is also published on

2. What grants are available?

Open DOL grants can be viewed at Currently, no USDOL grants are available. However, we have highlighted other federal opportunities.

Copies of old solicitations for grant applications can be viewed at Reviewing previous SGA's which are not currently open can be useful to help you familiarize yourself with opportunities that may be republished again so that your organization can prepare.

3. How do I stay up to date on government grant opportunities?

In order to stay up-to-date on these and other grants as well as grant writing training and other important events, you can sign up for e-mail notification and regularly check the Web sites listed below. These Web sites can also provide information about previous grants that may be released again. The following are the Web sites and the e-mail list registration pages for the Centers for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (CFBCI) in the various federal agencies.

White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

U.S. Department of Labor

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Department of Justice

U.S. Department of Commerce

You may also find grant opportunities at, which provides a secure and reliable source for applying for federal grants online, simplifying the grant application process and reducing paperwork.

4. What grant writing assistance is available?

Every DOL Solicitation for Grant Opportunities share common elements. Understanding these grant elements will help applicants write an effective proposal.

We recommend reviewing the online video workshop on DOL Grant Application and Grants Management
This workshop takes you from the application process through the management of a DOL grant. The workshop addresses how to read the solicitation for grant applications, how to organize your application, what the review process is for the grants, and finally, information about proper grants management for organizations who have received Department of Labor grants. Grants management topics include: calculating in-kind donations, fiscal and administrative requirements, financial and cash management, cost principles, and information about working with the Grant Officer Technical Representative (recently renamed Federal Project Officer). To access this video, please visit

You can also listen to the CFBCI Conference Call Series on Understanding the Basics of Grants and Program Design for Employment and Training Administration (ETA) Small Grassroots Grant.

Call 1:
Date of Call: February 8, 2005
Summary: In this first conference call for grassroots faith-based and community organizations, ETA Grants Officer, Jim Stockton, gave a presentation on Applying for ETA Grants. Mr. Stockton reviewed the key elements of the Solicitation for Grants Application (SGA) and the entire grants process here at DOL, including what happens after they submit the application, the review panel process, and the elements that make their applications strong. Mr. Stockton's presentation, along with the Web site information he and CFBCI's Dori Rutherford discussed, is posted on the site under a folder about the call series.
Format: (WAV; 32,870 KB)

Call 2:
Date of Call: February 22, 2005
Summary: This final call reviewed the components of a sample program design from a 2004 grantee. Jim Underwood and Cheryl Busby from Iowa Comprehensive Human Services presented their program design and outcome measures.
Format: (WAV; 26,701 KB)

5. How do I apply for private funding?

Our mission is to empower you as you serve your community and to ensure that you have a level playing field as you apply for funds. However, it is crucial that you don't wait to get a grant to pursue your mission so that you be unstoppable in completing your goals.

To seek private resources, we encourage you to review our on-line technical assistance videos called the "Touching Lives and Communities Video Workshop Series." These videos discuss capacity building, strategic planning, corporate, foundation and private giving as well as grants management. You can find these videos at or you can order them on CD-ROM by calling CFBCI at 202-693-6450.

Two topics within the series may be particularly useful for private fundraising:

Corporation and Foundation Giving

Non-profit leaders must both appeal to the interests of potential funders (including corporations and foundations) and effectively communicate the value of their program to attract funding. This workshop shares information about researching foundations and pursuing corporate donations. It also gives concrete strategies for raising the value of your program in the eyes of potential funders.

Board Development and Individual Giving

This workshop includes presentations about building a strong and effective board and about effectively soliciting individual donations. Both efforts require an organization to gain the commitment and investment of individuals within the community. The workshop addresses building, diversifying, and purging your board to provide the most effective leadership for your organization. Because individual giving represents more than 75.8% of non-profit funding, non-profit organizations must rely upon effective individual fundraising strategies. Your organization can use the tools provided in the workshop to effectively solicit and plan for individual giving.


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