Navigating the maze of federal government grants can be daunting. However, once you understand how the system works, federal grants become a powerful tool for funding.
In this blog post, we will demystify the process of locating and applying for these grants.
The fundamentals of federal government grants and their significance to nonprofits.
The process of finding federal grants.
An effective way to find and save these grants within Instrumentl
What Are Federal Government Grants?
Federal government grants are monetary funds allocated by various federal agencies. They play a crucial role in enabling organizations to perform their essential work effectively.
Here's what you need to know about federal grants:
Their Purpose: The primary purpose of these grants is to provide financial aid to nonprofits that are contributing to society in myriad ways, like promoting education, healthcare, social welfare, environmental conservation, and more.
They’re Non-Repayable: Unlike loans, these grants do not need to be repaid, making them a reliable source of funding for nonprofits.
They have stricter guidelines than other types of grants: To access these grants, nonprofits must adhere to a particular set of guidelines and complete a detailed application process.
Remember, finding and applying for federal government grants can be a detailed and intensive process. However, the financial support and stability they offer merit the effort.
Related: Check out our Free Grant 101 class with Patrice Davis, a grant professional with 15 years of experience applying for federal grants. In her 60-minute class, she unpacks the 5 Steps to Get Government Grant Ready.
Why Are Federal Government Grants Important?
Many nonprofits pursue federal government grants because they offer sizable awards. For that reason, these opportunities make up a large portion of their yearly fundraising.
They are a key component of many nonprofits’ funding strategies for several reasons:
Diversification of Funding: Federal government grants help diversify your funding sources, ensuring that your nonprofit maintains financial stability even if one source falls short.
Magnitude of Grants: The federal government often allocates substantial sums for grantmaking across numerous focus areas, allowing your nonprofit to secure significantly larger grants than those typically offered by family foundations.
Long-Term and Multi-Year Support: Federal government grants frequently fund projects over multiple years and foster long-term affiliations with the grantees. Securing one federal government grant often paves the way for more.
Consistency: Unlike smaller foundations, whose grant distribution can fluctuate based on various factors, federal government grants are consistent. For instance, the Department of Education consistently provides grants related to education year after year.
If your nonprofit operates in a domain that aligns with federal funding interests such as health, social services, or the arts, it's worth considering applying for federal government grants.
These grants are often favorably awarded to large and mid-sized nonprofits working on scalable projects and serving large constituent groups.
Click to find the best grants for your nonprofit from 12,000+ active opportunities.
Have you ever considered using Instrumentl to find federal grants for your nonprofit?
Many dread navigating Grants.gov and other government databases because it can be such a headache.
But Instrumentl is better for finding grants than federal databases.
Instrumentl focuses on matching your nonprofit with only the best-fit opportunities, ensuring you aren't overwhelmed with a multitude of potentially irrelevant grants, as is often the case with government databases.
In short, Instrumentl saves you time.
To start finding grants from the federal government, here’s how you do it.
What you intend to use the funding for (projects, programs, operating expenses, etc.)
Then select your location based on your state and the counties you serve.
In our example, let’s say we operate out of Michigan, specifically the counties surrounding Detroit. Simply search your state, and then select the counties relevant to you.
Search Your Field Of Work
Now, select the field of work you operate in. This will ensure you get matched with grants from federal funders who support nonprofits that do the work you do.
It’s best practice to select 2-3 fields of work so you have a wide enough scope for relevant grants.
When clicking, “+ Select Field of Work,” search for the cause you support, in this case food security, and select 2-3 keywords from the drop-down that fit your mission.
In our example, we’ll select 3 fields of work related to food access and hunger.
Specify The Size Of Grants You Want
Next, set a minimum or maximum type of grant you’d like to be matched with. This will filter out grants that are either too small, making them not worth pursuing, or too large, making them too competitive.
In our example, I’ll set my minimum to $1,000 and no maximum. I’ll take all the funding I can get!
Once you have completed filling out all the necessary fields, make sure to click on the "Save and Exit" button.
With Instrumentl Tracker, navigating the world of private grants for nonprofits becomes a more streamlined and organized endeavor.
FAQ on Federal Government Grants
Federal government grants represent a significant avenue of financing for your nonprofit. Yet, just as with any funding source, navigating the landscape of federal grants can seem daunting.
Billions of dollars are allocated annually in federal government grants for nonprofits. With the right approach, your organization could be a beneficiary too.
Below, we answer the common questions surrounding federal grants to equip your nonprofit with the essential knowledge required to successfully secure funding.
1. Is the government giving out grants?
The answer to this is always YES. There are always open grant opportunities from the federal government, although not in every focus area.
Check regularly to see if there are new opportunities that are a good fit for your nonprofit.
2. Are federal grants public information?
Yes. The federal government is required to publish information on federal spending, including grants. Nonprofits that receive government grants are required to publicly disclose (on your 990) the amount of any federal grants.
3. What are the main kinds of federal government grants?
The main kinds of federal government grants are:
Formula grants: These are noncompetitive grants distributed to state and local governments, usually for things like highways and education. Nonprofits are not eligible for formula grants.
Project grants: These are competitive grants that fund specific projects or programs that meet policy needs, i.e. a wetland restoration grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. Nonprofits are eligible for project grants, and this is the most common grant format for nonprofits.
Matching grants: These are grants that require the grantee to match a percentage of the grant, usually through cash or in-kind facilities. Nonprofits are eligible for matching grants.
4. Are federal grants hard to get?
Federal grants are typically very competitive. Most nonprofits have a less than 50% chance of being awarded a federal grant.
If a grant opportunity is closely aligned with your project or program, it is still worth applying. Keep in mind, Instrumentl can help you find funders that align well with your project or program.
5. What are the pros and cons of federal grants?
The cons to federal government grants are that they’re highly competitive and have involved application processes and stringent reporting requirements.
The pros are that they are often larger than foundation grants, can lead to multi-year funding, and lend prestige and credibility to your organization.
6. How can I find federal grants for my nonprofit?
Finding federal grants for your nonprofit starts with understanding your organization's mission and how it aligns with federal initiatives. A good starting point is to explore theGrants.Gov website, which houses information about thousands of grant opportunities.
Moreover, leveraging platforms like Instrumentl can simplify your search, as it aggregates grant opportunities from various sources and provides personalized recommendations based on your nonprofit's profile.
7. What resources can help me write a successful federal grant application?
Writing a successful grant application requires a deep understanding of your nonprofit's mission and goals, clear and concise writing skills, and a strong knowledge of the grant's requirements and objectives.
Wrapping Up: How to Find Federal Government Grants Fast
Securing federal government grants for nonprofits may seem like a daunting task, given the competitive nature and the involved application process. However, having the right tools and resources at your disposal can significantly streamline the process.
Instrumentl, with its robust grant search and tracking features, serves as your ultimate navigator in the realm of federal grants.
Remember, persistence is key in grant-seeking. With a thorough understanding of your organization's mission and how it aligns with federal initiatives, you stand a better chance at securing desired funding. Let's make the world a better place together, one grant at a time.