Many state and local governments, nonprofit groups, and community action organizations are eligible for grants. A "grant" is a general term that covers thousands of federal and private funding programs. These programs are available to help organizations that are generally not self-sustaining entities. This assistance takes many forms, including direct funding, low-interest loans, surplus property, technical advice and assistance and resources. Individuals needing assistance with their personal finances are not eligible. Although some small business owners may seek some forms of assistance, grants typically are not awarded to businesses. However, loans may be available to individuals seeking to start a business or students needing help covering the cost of their education.
Although Max is unable to influence the awarding of grant money, here are some resources to help you find funding for your project. Max can also provide a letter of support, in most cases, which you can include in your grant application. To request a letter of support, please visit my Request a Grant Letter of Support page.
How Best to Find Information
- Find out Who is eligible for a Grant? Other government websites may be more suitable for personal need, student loans, small business assistance, or other business opportunities such as government contracting. The website Government Benefits, Grants, and Financial Aid may also be of help.
- If eligible, search for programs in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). Includes grants, loans, business and nonfinancial help.
- Contact federal office given in CFDA program description: if state or local office is indicated, check Regional Agency Offices at top of CFDA website for addresses.
- Go to federal websites given in each CFDA program description for more information and for state administering agencies responsible for managing these programs.
- Check current federal grants opportunities at Grants.gov, obtain a Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) number, register with System for Award Management (SAM), and apply online (links and instructions given at the website). Additional notices appear at FedConnect.
- Search foundations for project funding: use the Foundation Center website or Foundation Center Cooperating Collections in libraries to identify national, state, and community foundations.
- Learn how to write grant proposals: follow CFDA's Developing and Writing Grant ProposalsWriting Grants Proposals, or take the free online Foundation Center Proposal Writing Short Course.
Key Federal Funding Sources
- Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
- State Single Points of Contact
- CFDA in Local Libraries
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (General Services
The CFDA, issued annually and updated continuously on the Web, describes some 1600 federal grants and non-financial assistance programs. Grantseekers can identify programs that might support their projects and can learn the program's objectives, requirements, application procedures and contacts. For current notices of funding availability, see Grants.gov or FedConnect.
Grants.gov (via Dept.
of Health and Human Services)
Federal grants website that allows eligible grantseekers (see Who is eligible for a Grant?) to find and apply for current competitive grant opportunities from ALL federal agencies. Grantseekers can check on notices of funding availability (NOFAs) posted in the last 7 days; access RSS feeds of grant opportunities; and apply for federal grants through a unified process by downloading the application and submitting online. The website guides grantseekers in obtaining a Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) number, registering with System for Award Management (SAM), and registering with Grants.gov to apply and to track applications. For full federal program descriptions, see CFDA below. See also website FedConnect for additional grants and contracts opportunities.
'Single Points of Contact' (Office of Management and Budget)
Under Executive Order 12372, some states require federal grants applicants to submit a copy of their application for state government level review and comment. The state offices listed here coordinate federal financial assistance and may direct federal development. For help in identifying state-level grants, other state government agencies websites may be found at State and Local Agencies.
CFDA in Local Libraries (Government Printing Office)
Although CFDA is available full-text on the Internet, some may prefer a print edition. However, only the Web version is continuously updated-- the published volume is annual with no supplements. The CFDA is available in all states in Federal Depository Libraries.
Related Federal Resources
- A-Z Index Departments & Agencies
- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
- Homeland Security Grants
- USA.gov for Business
- USA.gov for Nonprofits
- Student Aid on the Web
- FTC Consumer Alert
- OMB Circulars
Index of U.S. Department and Agencies
(General Services Administration)
To better develop a grant proposal, search a department or agency's Home Page to learn more about its programs and objectives. The site USA.gov also links to Government Benefits, Grants and Financial Aid.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (Department of Energy)
Grants are EERE's primary funding vehicle for businesses, industries, universities and others. Most EERE grants are awarded on merit on a competitive basis. EERE financial assistance opportunities are listed in the Financial Opportunities by Audience database and on Grants.gov or FedConnect. For state-by-state information on state, local. utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, search DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency).
DHS Financial Assistance (Department of Homeland Security)
Most Homeland Security non-disaster grant programs are designated for state and local governments and specific entities such as colleges, etc. Unsolicited applications from individuals are generally not accepted. Includes Urban Area Security Initiative, Citizens Corps, Medical Response System, Operation Stonegarden (border security), Infrastructure Protection. Contact homeland security State Offices. Programs for firefighters may be found at Assistance to Firefighters.
USA.gov for Business (GSA)
Includes contracting with the federal government, international trade and exporting, and small business. See also financial assistance links at the Small Business Administration website.
for Nonprofits (GSA)
Links to federal department and agency information and service for nonprofit organizations, including fundraising and outreach, grants, loans and other assistance, laws and regulations, management and operations, online services, registration and licensing, and tax information. The White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships includes information on Grants and Resources.
Student Aid on the Web (Department of Education)
Financial assistance for education beyond high school is generally "needs-based" and often includes loans and work-study, in addition to some grants. College and university applications, websites, and brochures usually include financial aid information for prospective and incoming students.
GovBenefits.gov (via Department of Labor)
Government grants are not direct assistance to individuals, but fund state and local programs providing help to those in need. This online screening site can be used to identify state and local government benefits and how to apply. Covers direct payments, loans, insurance, training, or other services.
Consumer Alert (Federal Trade Commission)
The FTC warns consumers to beware of paying "processing fees" for information that is available free to the public. Ads claiming federal grants are available for home repairs, home business, unpaid bills, or other personal expenses are often a scam.
OMB Grants Management Web Site
(Office of Management and Budget)
OMB establishes government-wide grants management policies and guidelines through circulars and common rules. OMB Circulars are cited in CFDA program descriptions and may be printed out fulltext.
Private and Corporate Funding Sources
The Foundation Center
Gateway to information about private funding sources, the grantseeking process, guidelines on writing a grant proposal, addresses of state libraries with grants reference collections, and links to other useful Internet websites. The Center maintains a comprehensive database on foundations; produces print and electronic directories and guides; conducts research and publishes studies in the field; and offers a variety of training and educational seminars.
- Welcome Legislators and Policy Makers Covers policy development, constituent services, and other helpful nonprofit resources.
- Proposal Writing Short Course (also in Spanish, French, and other languages)
- Foundation Finder Search for information about more than 70,000 private and community foundations.
- Requests for Proposals Daily postings of requests for proposals (RFPs) from private funding sources by broad subject category.
- Foundation Center Cooperating Collections (by state) Free funding information available in libraries, community foundations, and other nonprofit centers nationwide.
Grants Resources by State
Click on state map to find links to information about a state's foundations, community foundations, corporate giving programs and the state's home page.
Information gateway, prepared by the Congressional Research Service for the U.S. Senate, provides guidance and online procurement procedures for doing business with the federal government, updated February 2014.
- Information and Training
- Registration Requirements
- Federal Business Opportunities
- Subcontracting Opportunities
- Selling to the Military and Department of Defense
Information and Training
Learning how to sell successfully to the U.S. government, the world's largest buyer of goods and services, can be daunting. Most of the process is conducted online: using a computer is essential. Here are suggested approaches:
- Update your company's business plan, highlighting special skills and expertise that might be of interest to government agencies.
- Review your company's marketing strategy and goals.
- Learn federal procurement processes and terms
- Government Contracting (SBA)
Resources to help you sell your products and services to the federal government.
Business Administration (SBA)
Provides a step-by-step guide for selling to the government, with tips on bidding, marketing, and competing for government contracts, and links to free online courses.
- Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
Provides an on-line system that allows minority business firms to register the company with the MBDA ’s database to access contract opportunities and other resources.
General Services Administration (GSA)
As the government's chief acquisitions agency, GSA spends billions of dollars annually on products and services offered to all federal agencies.
Business with GSA
Covers government procedures, marketing strategies, and bidding procedures for contracts. Also lists important contacts, such as the 11 GSA regional centers and technical advisors for small businesses.
of Small Business Utilization
Through outreach activities in regional offices, promotes increased access to GSA's nationwide procurement opportunities for small, minority, veteran, HUBZone, and women business owners.
Online and onsite courses for vendors and small business, for federal employees, and for state and local government officials.
- Contact offices in your state or region
- Speak with a procurement specialist or contracting officer about federal government buying procedures.
- Ask questions about application procedures, technical requirements, and marketing suggestions.
- Attend procurement programs, which provide opportunities for business people to meet directly with government officials and to learn from other companies involved in federal contracting.
Business Development Centers
Located in every state, these centers advise and train businesses in financial matters, including certification procedures for small and minority businesses. They are an excellent first stop for any business, especially those with little or no previous experience in dealing with federal procurement.
- Minority Business Development Agency
MBDA Network regional enterprise centers provide resources for minority-owned firms.
Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC)
Although the main focus is providing technical assistance on selling to the military, the centers cover marketing to all government agencies through counseling, training, and procurement programs.
The contracting officers are familiar with the procurement needs of the federal facilities located in their region.
Registration is required to compete for federal government procurement and contracts.
- Obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, a unique 9-digit identification number.
- Register with System for Awards Management (SAM).
Review Small Business Certification and Audiences. If your business is classified as a small or disadvantaged business, this certification may lead to more business opportunities.
Additional statistical codes, required for many government forms:
- North American Industrial Classification Code (NAICS) identifies products or services for more than 1,000 industries.
- Federal Supply Classification (FSC) are codes used to classify products and services purchased by the military and many civilian agencies.
Federal Business Opportunities
(Federal Business Opportunities)
Single point of entry for announcements of federal contract opportunities over $25,000, both civilian and military. Serves both federal agencies as buyers and businesses as vendors.
For continuing business, apply to be a GSA Schedule contractor. Under the GSA Schedules Program, also referred to as Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) and Federal Supply Schedules (FSS), GSA establishes long-term government-wide contracts with commercial firms. The GSA application and approval process "to get on the Schedule" may take considerable time but may be worth it for future business with government agencies.
Application and approval process "to get on the Schedule" can take considerable time but may be worth it for future business with government agencies.
Includes Training for Vendors, such as Need Help Getting on Schedule?
A federal contract may be so large that a single company might have difficulty in providing the products or services required to meet the terms of the contract. A prime contractor may need to use subcontractors to complete contractual obligations.
Identify subcontract opportunities by reviewing the postings of prime contractors.
Identify prime contractors through a listing of contractors, with addresses and phone numbers, by state.
- Subcontracting Directory (GSA)
GSA contrators with subcontracting plans and goals. Companies are listed within each of the eleven GSA regions. For each, gives products and services offered, and the small business contact within the company.
Selling to the Military and DOD
Specialized Information on Selling to the Military
Many of the DOD contract announcements and registration requirements for businesses have been incorporated into FedBizOpps (Federal Business Opportunities), with registration at System for Awards Management (SAM). However, there are often special requirements for selling to the military. The vast majority of DOD contracts are awarded by DOD field organizations, or specific mission-oriented agencies within an organization.
of Small Business Programs (OSBP)
DOD provides information, publications, and programs to assist small, disadvantaged, or minority businesses to compete for DOD contracts, including Guide to Marketing to DoD.
Provides links to government websites with information for small businesses wanting to sell to the military. Also there is a link to the listings of local Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, which provide information and counseling to business wanting to sell to the government.