|November 4, 2008|
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 www.grants.gov 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 www.grants.gov. The process for registering may take a couple of weeks; therefore your organization might choose to register at www.grants.gov 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 www.grants.gov.
Some federal funding opportunities are available through a contract. These opportunities are listed through www.fedbizopps.gov In the case of the Department of Labor, contract opportunities related to Job Corps are published on www.fedbizopps.gov. 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 www.fedbizopps.gov.
Copies of old solicitations for grant applications can be viewed at www.dol.gov/cfbci/funding-past.htm. 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.
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.
You may also find grant opportunities at Grants.gov, which provides a secure and reliable source for applying for federal grants online, simplifying the grant application process and reducing paperwork.
We recommend reviewing the online video
workshop on DOL Grant Application and Grants Management
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.
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 http://www.dol.gov/cfbci/online_training_explanatory.htm 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.