Completing a grant application can take 40 hours or more. We want to help you navigate the process.
Where should you begin?
Before you begin, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I read the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) completely and carefully?
- Do I understand it?
- Is my organization eligible to apply, based on the eligibility criteria in the NOFO?
- Does my organization have the technical expertise, personnel, and financial capacity to successfully implement the project described in the NOFO?
- Are all my organization’s stakeholders supportive of applying for this grant?
- Is my organization prepared to successfully implement the project within the budget we're proposing?
Be sure you can answer “yes” to each of these questions. If you can, you’re ready to apply.
How do we help guide you through the application process?
With our application guides. We wrote them specifically to help you prepare, and ultimately, submit your application through grants.gov.
When you apply, you need to fill out an SF-424 application form.
We created a guide for each of these forms:
- SF-424 Application Guide (PDF - 663 KB)
- SF-424 Two-Tier Application Guide (PDF - 690 KB)
- SF-424 Research & Related (R&R) Application Guide (PDF - 813 KB)
- SF-424 Research & Related Two-Tier Application Guide (PDF - 800 KB)
Note: People using assistive technology may not be able to fully access information in these files. For help, please email Doretha Dixon.
Remember: these guides give you general HRSA information about the application and submission process. Refer to the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for specific instructions.
Updated Requirements in SF-424B & SF-424D
To reduce your reporting burden, the government standardized the general certification and representation requirements in the following:
- SF-424B - Assurances - Non-Construction Programs
- SF-424D - Assurances - Construction Programs
Starting on January 1, 2020:
- The System for Award Management (SAM) will store and maintain the updated common certification and representation requirements.
- When you apply for federal financial assistance, you must confirm these requirements through the SAM each year.
How can you write a strong application?
Applications must be 80 pages or less. So, be brief, but precise as you describe:
- Goals and objectives
- Define them clearly
- Be specific
- The need for the service or activity that the grant will support
- Your organization's track record in fulfilling that need
- Response and impact
- Show how you plan to achieve the program’s purpose
- Include supporting data whenever possible
- Resources and capabilities
- Elaborate on your organization’s knowledge, staffing, and fiscal stability
- Explain how these ensure you can carry out your proposal and meet the goals of the grant program
- A realistic plan that matches your goals and objectives
- Include a narrative that justifies the costs
What are our top tips for applying?
- Allow plenty of time to gather required information.
- Submit well before the deadline.
- Power failures aren’t an excuse for late submission.
- Place all information in the order we request.
- Write clearly and fully complete all application elements and responses to the program requirements.
- Do not assume that reviewers are familiar with your organization, service area, barriers to health care, or health care needs in your community.
- Keep the review criteria in mind when writing the application.
- Provide accurate and honest information.
- Include candid accounts of problems and realistic plans to address them.
- If you omit any required information or data, explain why.
- Keep your information consistent.
- Tables, charts, and attachments etc. should match the proposal narrative and other content.
- Your budget should reflect back to the proposed activities.
- Fill out all forms accurately and completely.
Many applications fail to receive a high score because reviewers:
- Cannot follow the applicant’s thought process.
- Determine that application parts do not fit together.
Your application should demonstrate that you will be responsible with public funds.
- A missing or incorrect DUNS number or an expired SAM registration are the top two reasons reviewers reject--or don't even review--an application.
- Reviewers also reject applications because:
- File names exceed the Grants.gov 50 character limit;
- File names include special characters;
- Files are saved in the wrong version of Adobe Acrobat; or
- Files are saved in unacceptable file types.
- Do not use attachments for information we require in the body of the application.
- Cross-reference all tables and attachments to the appropriate text in the application.
- Upload the attachments in the order the NOFO requires.
Before you submit your application:
- Print it out.
- Review for appropriate formatting and adherence to page limit requirements.
- Ensure that you included all attachments.
- We will not consider additional information and/or materials submitted after your initial submission.
- We will not accept e-mailed applications or supplemental materials once we receive your application.