Grants.gov is the go-to website for finding federal grant opportunities and submitting proposals. “The feds have transformed the initial 2002 propeller-plane version of the site into a rocket ship,” said Barbara Floersch, executive director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif. “Now it’s a powerhouse portal into the federal grants universe.”
If your organization is not registered to submit proposals through Grants.gov, start now. Go to the Grants.gov homepage (www.grants.gov) and select the “Applicants” tab on the navigation bar–the registration portal is displayed under “Applicant Resources.” Registration is a complex process involving three different systems that you’ll access from the Grants.gov site.
- First, your organization must have a DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number assigned by Dun and Bradstreet, Inc. If it doesn’t, apply at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. The process is simple and the DUNS number is usually available the day after you apply.
- Next, your organization must register in the federal System for Award Management (SAM) at www.sam.gov. You must be registered in SAM to do any sort of business with the federal government. Before diving into the online process, orient yourself by reading the PDF Quick Start Guide for New Grantee Registration. You’ll need to establish a SAM account and you’ll need the passwords, points of contact, and business information you establish in SAM to register in Grants.gov.
Registration can generally be completed in 10 business days, but could take a month if you hit a snag. You must update your SAM password every 90 days, and annually update your registration.
- Finally, register in Grants.gov. After you create an account, the person identified as the E-Business Point of Contact (EBiz POC) in the SAM system must log into Grants.gov and assign your role as an Authorized Organization Representative. To keep your account active, Grants.gov requires that you update your password every 60 days.
To enter a federal grant competition, your organization must be registered in SAM. And while not every federal grant competition requires that proposals be submitted through Grants.gov, most do. And while occasionally some types grant opportunities emerge in the Federal Register rather than on Grants.gov, those are exceptions.
If your organization is involved in federal grants or plans to be, becoming a skilled user of Grants.gov is essential. “Keep your SAM and Grants.gov registrations and passwords current,” warned Floersch. “When a grant opportunity pops up with a tight deadline, you don’t want to find that your registration has lapsed.” ©Copyright 2016 The Grantsmanship Center. All rights reserved.