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Grant Writing Basics Part I

Grant writing can be time consuming but if you organize your information in an outline, then the process can be easier. Here are some tips for grant writing.

Commonly Used Terminologies

• Bid

• Contract

• Grant

• RFI – Request for Information

• RFP – Request for Proposal

• RFQ – Request for Quotation (Quote)


• A bid is an offer made to vendors for the purchase of goods and/or services.

• A bid is typically made by state governments, local governments, etc.


• A contract is a procurement mechanism used by the Federal Government to provide funding for research and development projects.

• The principal purpose of the Federal Contract Instrument is for the purchase of property or services for the direct benefit or use of the United States Government.


• A grant is the way government fund your ideas and projects to provide public services and stimulate the economy.

• Grants support critical recovery initiatives, innovative research and many other programs listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CDFA).

Request for Information

• A request for information (RFI) is a standard business process to collect written information about the capabilities of various vendors.

• A request for information normally precedes a request for proposal (RFP) or request for quotation

Request for Proposal

• A request for proposal (RFP) is a tool used by the Federal Government to solicit proposal from interested vendors/bidders.

• Vendors/bidders use the proposal process to plan, prepare, and bid on contracts.

Request for Quotation (Quote)

• A request for quotation is used when the government is simply checking into the possibility of acquiring goods or services.

• A request for quotation may also be used when the government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of the solicitation but wishes to obtain price, delivery, or other information for planning purposes.

Grants Life Cycle

• Linear process:

• Pre-Award Phase – Funding Opportunity Announcement & Application Review

• Award Phase – Award Decisions & Notifications

• Post Award Phase – Implementation, Reporting & Closeout

Grant Categories

• Formula grants – these are programs where the federal government distributes funds usually to states, cities and sometimes nonprofits based on predetermined formulas.

• Project grants – these grants are awarded competitively and typically require a written grant proposal.

Categories of Other Assistance

• Loans

• Insurance

• Technical information

• Training

• Donations of property or goods

• Other forms of aid


• There are many types of organizations generally eligible for funding opportunities:

Government Organizations, Educational Organizations, Public Housing Organizations, Nonprofit Organizations, For Profit Organizations, Small Businesses, Individuals and Foreign Applicants.

Government Organizations

• State governments

• County governments

• City or township governments

• Special district governments

• Native American tribal governments (federally recognized)

• Native American tribal governments (other than federally recognized)

Educational Organizations

• Independent school districts

• Public and state controlled institutions of higher learning

• Private institutions of higher learning

Public Housing Organizations

• Public housing authorities

• Indian housing authorities

Nonprofit Organizations

• Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), other than institutions of higher learning.

• Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service, other than institutions of higher learning.

For Profit Organizations

Organizations other than small businesses.

Small Businesses

• Small business grants may be awarded to companies meeting the size standards established by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for most industries in the community.


• Individual people may submit applications for a funding opportunity on their own behalf (i.e. not on behalf of a company, organization, institution or government. If you are registered with only an individual applicant profile, you are only allowed to apply for funding opportunities that are open to individuals.

Foreign Applicants

• The authorizing legislation and agency policies will determine whether a foreign individual or organization may apply for the grant. Foreign applicants need to complete the same registration process as domestic applicants, but there are additional steps to this application process.

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