Seeking grants from federal and local or state governments is a different animal than finding and applying for grants from foundations. Here are some basics:
Where to Find Government Grants
Government agencies publish requests for proposals (RFPs) to which organizations can apply. Grants.gov is an official government site where you can find information about these RFPs. It is managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The site has a database of grant programs adminstered by 26 federal grantmaking agencies. You can search by agency, category, eligibility or CFDA number (see Catalog of Federal Domestifc Assistance below). You can also browse listings of grant opportunities by agency or category.
Grants.gov provides guides, tutorials, and answers to frequently asked questions, as well as other resources. It is required that organizations and individuals register in order to apply for funding through Grants.gov.
See A Guide to Finding Government Grants for more specifics about using Grants.gov.
Other sources of information about government funding include:
- Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)
- The Federal Register
- Individual agency websites
- USA.gov for Nonprofits
Information about state and local government grants is not as easily come by. It differs by state and even by municipality. Your best bet is to check directly with local government officials and/or congressional offices for more specific information.
Points to Remember When Considering Applying for Government Funds
- Federal funders prefer projects that can serve as prototypes or models for other organizations. Does your project show promise as a replicable program?
- Local government funders want to see strong evidence of community support for the project.
- Government grants are awarded primarily to state agencies and qualified nonprofit organizations...not individuals.
- When researching government funding, take note of all the details such as the guidelines, deadlines, contact information, what the review process is, and what grants have been given in the past.
- Be sure your organization can fulfill the often very strict reporting requirements for a government grant.