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How to Prepare Your Application

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

When you apply, you need to fill out an SF-424 application form.

We created a guide for each of these forms:

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
  • Need
    • 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
  • Budget
    • A realistic plan that matches your goals and objectives
    • Include a narrative that justifies the costs

What are our top tips for applying?

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