Determining your eligibility for federal grants is an important first step in the federal grant application process.
Funding opportunity eligibility requirements are defined by legislation and federal agency policies. To receive a grant, you must meet an opportunity’s eligibility requirements.
Here are some tips for finding federal funding opportunities for which you may be eligible:
1. Know Your Applicant Entity Type
Are you a nonprofit organization? A township? A research lab associated with a university? Knowing this allows you to better narrow your search for funding opportunities.
2. Search by Keyword, Then Narrow Your Results
Every funding opportunity has unique eligibility requirements, so using Grants.gov Search is an important part of the process for determining an entity’s eligibility for funding. Begin by going to the Grants.gov Search page and search by keyword. Be as specific as possible. After conducting a keyword search, narrow the results on the left side of the screen by selecting the Funding Instrument Type, Eligibility, or Category. Here, “City or township governments” is selected under Eligibility, narrowing the list of available funding opportunities to only those open to city or township governments. (Note: The number in parentheses refers to the number of funding opportunities that fit this entity eligibility type.) Finally, be sure to save your search so that you can receive notifications of new funding opportunities matching this criteria as they are posted in the future.
3. Get into the Details of Each Funding Opportunity
Once you have identified a group of funding opportunities that you appear to be eligible for, it’s time to closely review the official eligibility requirements of each one. You want to do this before you begin significant work on the application, so that you can be sure that the program is a good match for your applicant entity. The funding opportunity’s eligibility requirements may be listed in the Eligibility section of the grant Synopsis. But often the requirements are discussed in much greater detail in the official funding opportunity announcement (FOA) document created by the federal grant-making agency. On Grants.gov, this document is usually found under the Related Documents tab. You can also use the Link to Additional Information field on the Synopsis Tab.
(Note: Some agencies may post eligibility information in the package instructions.)
4. Reach out to the Agency Point of Contact
If, after reading the FOA, you still have any questions about eligibility, contact the federal agency point of contact listed in the FOA. There are two places where contact information can be listed by the grant-making agency:
- Under the Synopsis tab, in the Additional Information section, look for the Grantor Contact Information field (pictured below)
- Under the Package tab, click the preview link. Look for the Agency Contact Information listed in the pop-up window under the Opportunity Package Details section.
Once you are sure you are eligible to apply for the grant, you are ready to begin strategizing and preparing the application.