Apply for a Grant

A grant is money that does not need to be repaid given by one party to another. Grants are typically given by a government agency or philanthropic organization to fund specific projects by a nonprofit entity, educational institution, a business or an individual. By locating, applying for and winning relevant grants, you or your organization may get the funding to support your project. Although each grant requires different processes, the sample documents below provide a good overview for the documents that may be required for applying to grants.


Sample Grant Documents

Doc:Grant Cover Letter,Grant Proposal,Grant Follow Up Email,Letter of Inquiry for Grant,Submission Checklist

Applying for US Federal Government Grants

  1. Identify potential grants. You can identify potential grant funding opportunities by searching the federal government’s grant website located at:
    • The website allows you to search by keyword, funding opportunity number or CFDA (Catalog for Federal Domestic Assistance) Number, which is the five-digit number assigned to the grant by the federal government.
    • If you are searching for new grant opportunities, perform a keyword search that best reflects your business products, research areas or business needs.
    • Quickly review the search results by clicking on the Funding Opportunity Number, which is a hyperlink that will redirect you to additional information about the grant. There will be four hyperlink tabs (Synopsis, Version History, Related Documents and Package), read through the description of the grant to determine whether it meets your needs.
    • Once you have preliminarily identified a list of potential grants, closely read the grant’s eligibility section and the full announcement to determine whether you meet the requirements, scope of work or research parameters of the grant. You can review the full announcement and other supporting documents by selection the Related Documents Tab and then clicking on the relevant documents.
  2. Download a Grant Application Package. Once you have determined that you meet the eligibility and scope of work requirements, download the grant application.
    • You can download the grant application by selecting the Application tab and then by selection the “select package” hyperlink listed under “Actions.” You will be prompted to provide your email address to receive grant updates and then given the option to download the materials.
    • You can also download grant application packages by entering the grant’s Funding Opportunity Number or CFDA Number here:
    • The benefit of downloading a grant application package is that it allows you to complete and review your materials offline before submitting the finished application.[1]
  3. Register with In order to submit a grant application, you must register with as either an individual or business applicant. You can register online at: Generally, you will need to provide the following information:
    • As an individual registrant, you must know funding number of the grant for which you are applying. You can enter the funding number at this website: and then click the “register” button. You will be redirected to a registration form which you will fill out and that will prompt you to create a username and password.[2]
    • Organizations registering with the grant website must first obtain a DUNS number, which is a nine-digit business identifying number. You can register online at: or call 1-866-705-5711.[3] You will need the following information to get your DUNS number: your legal name; the name and address of your business headquarters; any other organization names used by your business; the mailing address if different from the physical or business address; and a business telephone number, contact name and title. You may also need to provide the number of employees at your organization.[4]
    • Organizations must also register with the System Award Management (SAM). You can register at by providing the name of your organization’s authorizing official of your organization and an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
    • Organizations can complete their Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) profile and create a username and password by using their DUNS number to register here:
    • You must then use your username and password to log into in order to request access and approval. Once you complete these steps and you are approved, your organization will be registered with and able to submit grant applications.[3]
  4. Review instructions. Each grant will provide you with instructions in addition to the grant application materials. You must closely review the instructions when preparing your grant proposal.
    • Instructions on how to open and use the forms in the package are on the application package cover sheet. #*Agency specific instructions can be downloaded with your application and will include information required for your submission.
  5. Write your grant materials. Most grants require that you submit a grant proposal that clearly shows how you meet all of the grant’s requirements, a budget and what you intend to accomplish with the grant money. You can review sample documents provided above. Generally, your proposal should include:
    • Information that meets all of the requirements of the grant.
    • A typo-free and grammatically correct document that persuasively sets forth your project aims.
    • Check for formatting requirements, such as font and page limits, and be sure to follow those requirements exactly.
    • Any documents that were required or that support your grant application such as tax documents or business documents.
  6. Submit the completed Grant Application Package. Once you have finalized your materials, you are ready to submit your grant.
    • Open the finalized grant application and click the “save” button located on the grant application cover page.
    • Next, click “save” button on the cover page.
    • You will have the opportunity to click a “Check Package for Errors” button. You should use this option as the system will let you know if you have included all of the required information. Correct any errors that the system finds.
    • Click the “Save & Submit” button and save the application. You will only have this option once all errors have been rectified. You must save the application in order to begin the submission process.
    • Once you select “Save & Submit,” you will be prompted to enter your username and password. You will be provided instructions on how to finalize your submission.
    • Once your submission is complete, the system will provide you with confirmation information and a tracking number for your submission. Be sure to save this information.[5]
  7. Track your application. You can track the status of your application by entering the tracking number at the following website: The system will tell you if your application was received but will not tell you whether you were awarded the grant. This information will come directly from the agency awarding the grant money.[6]

Applying for a Federal Pell Grant

  1. Choose a college that is a right fit and accepts Pell grants. Choosing the right college is an important decision. The amount of financial aid you receive may help you narrow down your choices. Pell grants are financial awards given based on economic need to low-income undergraduates and some students seeking degrees beyond college.[7] If you think that you may qualify for a Pell grant, consider the following:
    • Pell grants do not need to be repaid like student loans. Therefore, if you qualify for a Pell grant you can significantly reduce the amount of your college tuition with no further financial repayment obligation.
    • When choosing a college, you should check with the school’s financial aid office to make sure that they participate in the Pell grant program.
    • When researching schools, be sure to identify the Federal School Code for each school so that you can include it on your financial aid application. By identifying this information before filling your application, you ensure that your financial aid information is sent directly to those schools.[8] You can locate Federal School Codes at here.
  2. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The U.S. Department of Education uses a student’s FAFSA to decide a student’s eligibility for federal student aid. In order to be eligible for a Pell grant or numerous other federal student aid funding possibilities, you must complete a FAFSA. You can apply for FAFSA online at and will be required to provide the following information:
    • Your social security number or, if you are not a U.S. citizen, your alien registration number;
    • Your most recent federal income tax returns, W-2s and other documents showing your income;
    • Bank statements and/or investment information;
    • Information showing any un-taxed income, if applicable; and
    • Your FSA id. If you do not have an FSA id, you can register for one at
    • If you are a dependent student, you will need to provide the above information for your parents.
    • You can include the college codes for up to 10 schools to which you plan to apply.
  3. Receive your Student Aid Report (SAR). Once your FAFSA is reviewed, you will receive a Student Aid Report that is based on the financial information included in your FAFSA. Your SAR will provide you and the colleges to which you apply the following information:
    • The information that you included on your FAFSA.
    • The Expected Family Contribution, which is the financial amount the government expects you to contribute to your education. This number is used by colleges to determine the amount of your eligibility for financial aid.[9]
    • Your SAR will indicate whether you are eligible for a Pell grant.[7]
  4. Submit your college applications and wait for your financial aid package. After you submit your college applications and you are accepted, the school will provide you with your financial aid package. If you were eligible for a Pell grant and the school participates in the program, then the Pell grant should be included in your aid package.
    • You can also apply to schools before filling out the FAFSA.

Applying for Grants in the European Union

  1. Locate relevant grant programs. Similar to the website in the United States, the European Union created a centralized website where users could search for grants and public contracts. Grants are used to co-finance specific projects or missions and usually hold open calls for proposals.[10] The grant website is located at
    • Rather than providing a keyword search function, the European Commission created categories for grants such as “Culture, Education and Youth,” and Employment and Social Rights.
    • After clicking on the link identified above, you will be redirected to the grant category list. Identify the category that most closely relates to your business or project and click on the category name.
    • You will be redirected to open grants, also referred to as call for proposals. This page will show you all of the available grants under the selected category.
  2. Review the materials. Select each grant under the subheading and closely read the materials related to the grant to determine whether your project or business meets the grant’s requirements.
    • Closely read the document entitled “call for proposals” (CFP). Occasionally, there will be multiple CFPs and you should review each one, paying particular attention to the most recent.
    • CFPs will outline the grant application process. Your proposal must address each grant requirement in order to be considered.
  3. Understand the limitations of EU grants. All EU grants are a form of complementary financing, meaning that they do not finance projects up to 100%. Only projects taking place outside the European Union have the possibility to be financed in full.
    • The purpose of EU grants is to allow grant beneficiaries to break-even financially and they are not meant to help generate a profit.
    • Typically, grants are awarded to public or private organizations, and on rare occasions they are awarded to individuals.[11]
  4. Apply for a grant. There are a variety of agencies that manage grants and each grant has different application policies and procedures. An organization that intends to apply for grants should consider the following:.
    • You must identify the agency or E.U. State that is managing a particular grant. Each agency publishes information about the grant programs that they offer and it is important to review these materials. You can locate a list of managing agencies through a search option at:
    • You must determine whether there are regional limitations to funding by determining which agency manages grants in your region and then contact them to receive specific information about the grants for which you are interested. You can locate contact information for managing agencies through the above link.[12]
    • Once you have determined that you are eligible, follow the specific grant instructions for applying and include all requested information.

Applying for Carnegie Corporation Grants

  1. Determine if your project meets the funding criteria. The Carnegie Corporation always accepts requests for funding, however it only welcomes inquiries from potential grantee organizations whose work fits within their grant-making programs: education; democracy; higher education and research in Africa; and International peace and security. Carnegie grants are available to universities, colleges, and institutions related to higher learning and citizenship. They do not offer grants to:
    • Individuals.
    • Religious organizations.
    • Political campaigns.
    • Scholarships and endowments.
  2. Send a letter of inquiry. Write a letter of inquiry that addresses the following points in five pages or less:
    • What problem does your project address and why is this issue significant?
    • Explain how the project meets the current programs’ requirements.
    • Set forth the strengths and skills that your organization and personnel bring to the project.
    • Identify who will lead the project, key personnel and attach their resumes.
    • What will the project prove and what methods will you use? If the project is already under way, what have you accomplished so far? What outcomes do you expect, both immediate and long term?
    • If you are requesting funding from Carnegie Corporation for a component(s) of a larger project, describe the specific activities that you are requesting the Corporation to fund and how they relate to the larger project.
    • List all sources of potential support.
    • What plans do you have to disseminate information to the public about your project?[13]
  3. Wait for a response. If the proposed project fits the Foundation's guidelines, you may be contacted within six weeks and asked to submit a proposal in the Corporation's format.


  • To download a federal government grant application package, you'll need an Adobe software version is compatible with

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