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Funding is always tight in rural communities. For many, the only way to make improvements to their community is through the assistance of grants. But there are so many different grants and granting institutions out there, it is tough to find the grants that you need to make your community better. But that’s where comes in….at least for federal-level grants.

What is

Basically put, is a website that acts as a portal for organizations to search and apply for federal funding. The website handles the grant application submissions for a number of federal agencies and it will eventually be utilized by all federal agencies in this manner. There are a total of twenty-six federal grant-making agencies using the platform and more than 900 individual grant programs that award more than $400 billion in grants each year. Logo

Get Your Foot in the Door

The website is a great resource for rural communities but curb your enthusiasm. You can’t just jump onto the website and start applying for grants. Your community or organization must first register on the website and create a profile. But the good thing is, you only need to create that one profile in order to apply for multiple grants across multiple federal grant sources.

First, you’ll need to apply with Dun & Bradstreet for a DUNS number. Thankfully, many communities that have received federal funding in the past already have this number. Though you may have to dig it up and blow the dust off.

Then you’ll use the DUNS number to register with the System for Award Management (SAM). The SAM is where most of your profile is compiled. Depending on the amount of information and the approvals that need to be compiled, this process can take a while. Hence, it is recommended to go to now, well before you want to apply for any of the grants through the website, to set up your profile.

Although this may seem daunting, there are a number of links to helpful resources on the website’s home page to help you through the process.

Searching and Applying

Once the registration process is complete, applying for grants is relatively straightforward. There’s even a link to Grant Writing Tips on the front page to help with the actual writing of the grants you are looking to apply for.

Finding grants that your community or organization can apply for is relatively simple and intuitive. You can click on the “Search Grants” tab on the front page even before you register. This will lead you to the overall database of grants available. Simply select the applicable checkboxes in the column on the left to narrow down the results. Then select the grant on the right that you’re interested in.

You can even sign up for alerts to be notified when the application period opens for the grants that you are interested in.

Don’t Wait

As I said earlier, don’t wait. Go to now. Start the registration process to get your community or organization into the system. Then bookmark the portal, you’ll want to come back often.