Completing a grant application can take 40 hours or more. We want to help you navigate the process.
Where to begin
Before you begin, ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I read the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)? 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 we help you through the 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 - 680 KB)
- SF-424 Two-Tier Application Guide (PDF - 701 KB)
- SF-424 Research & Related (R&R) Application Guide (PDF - 878 KB)
- SF-424 Research & Related Two-Tier Application Guide (PDF - 869 KB)
Note: People using assistive technology may not be able to access information in these files. For help, 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
The government made the general certification and representation requirements standard in the following:
- SF-424B - Assurances - Non-Construction Programs
- SF-424D - Assurances - Construction Programs
On January 1, 2020:
- The System for Award Management (SAM) began storing the updated common certification and representation requirements.
- When you apply for federal financial help, you must confirm these requirements through the SAM each year.
How to 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
Follow our ten tips
- Allow plenty of time to gather required information.
- Submit well before the deadline.
- Power failures aren’t an excuse for applying late.
- Place all information in the order we request.
- Write clearly.
- 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.
- Think about the review criteria when you write 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.
- Match content in tables, charts, and attachments with the proposal narrative.
- Your budget should reflect back to the proposed activities.
- Fill out 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 show that you'll be responsible with public funds.
- An expired SAM registration is the top reason for failing to submit an application.
- Reviewers also reject applications because of file issues. Do not:
- Exceed grants.gov's 50 character limit for file names
- Include special characters in the file name
- Save in the wrong version of Adobe Acrobat
- Save in any file type that we do not accept.
- 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 apply, print out your application. Review to ensure you:
- Complied with page limits
- Included all attachments
We will not
- Consider additional information or materials you submit late.
- Accept e-mailed applications or supplemental materials once we receive your application.