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Government grants are one of the numerous funding opportunities provided by the government, others which include loans, benefits, and so on.
Although a lot of individuals tag this type of grant “free money from the government,” in reality, it’s a misguided perception.
Yea, the phrase “free money,” in a lot of posts you’ve read in the past have been substituted for grants. These posts failed to mention one exception, Government Grants.
But, this post promises to fix this misconception. Plus, equip you with every detail you need to know concerning funding opportunities from the government.
So for starters, we will need to begin with the basic description of government grants.
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What are Government grants?
These grants are funding opportunities for ideas and innovations that provide services to the public and stimulate the economy. They also support innovative research and recovery initiatives.
How do Government Grants work?
The government grant process follows a lifecycle that starts with creating funding opportunities. It then moves to applications, making grant decisions, and implementing grants.
However, actions along this lifecycle are grouped into three phases, namely:
- Pre-Award Phase.
- Award Phase.
- Post Award Phase.
This phase represents the beginning of the government grant process. It includes announcing funding opportunities, submitting, and reviewing applications.
Funding opportunity announcements contain information concerning eligibility, competency, and interests.
How do you find these announcements?
That’s where www.grants.gov comes in. Awarding agencies publish these opportunities on this website.
Also, the Search Government Grants function makes your navigation around the site easier. However, having found the funding opportunity that suits you, there are two high-level steps you need to consider before submitting your application on Grants.gov. These include: Applicant Registration and Completing the Application.
Furthermore, after the deadline passes, the award agencies begin the application review process. This is process varies depending on the type of government grant, although there are some generic steps which include:
- Initial screening to ensure your application is complete and valid.
- Programmatic assessment and review of the substance of applications
- Financial assessments of proposed budgets
- Award decisions and announcements
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The award phase begins after the government agency completes the application review process. The award decisions rest on the hands of the agency staff with legal authority and responsibility to process binding agreements.
Furthermore, their award recommendations and reviews are based on financial and programmatic assessments. These recommendations undergo further scrutiny by different levels in the agency to ensure fair and unbiased decisions.
Finally, the awarding agency releases a Notice of Award (NOA) after award decisions are have been made. The NOA is an official, legal binding issuance of the award. So after accepting the grant, you or your organization become bound by a legal obligation to follow the policies of the grant.
Post Award Phase
This last phase of the government grant process comprises of grant implementation, progress report, and fulfilling closeout requirements.
The closeout is the endpoint of the grant process, and its requirements are as follows:
- You must submit all financial and performance reports within 90 days after the grant has been awarded. The submission of these reports is to ensure compliance with all grant policies. It further tries to checkmate misappropriation of funds.
- You are required to retain all grant records for three years from the date of the final expenditure report.
Read Also: LIST OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT GRANTS 2020
Who is Eligible for Government Grants?
Eligibility for government grants are basically restricted to the following organizations:
- Educational organizations
- Government organizations
- Public Housing organizations
- Non-profit organizations
- For-profit organizations
- Small Businesses
Although regardless of the fact that individuals are not on the list of eligible applicants, some award agencies allow exceptions if you meet their requirements. But its a really big IF.
Your best chance of benefiting from government grants as individuals is to belong to organizations that are direct beneficiaries. This way you can benefit as a member.