Three things to know about federal government grants

Federal government grants are complex creatures that can take quiet a bit of expertise to understand. The applications are not for the faint of heart, and it often takes weeks of coordinated efforts to complete one.

But the payoffs are big, so here are three things you should know before you apply:

1. Federal agencies tend to favor replicatable projects; that is, if the project you’re proposing can be scaled up or serve as a prototype for others to copy. This isn’t necessarily a written requirement for a federal grant, but it can help your application.

2. Pay close attention to limits on page counts, font size, and formatting requirements. If your grant narrative contains too many pages, those over the limit will be left out of the review process.

3. Be prepared to report on your outcome measurements. Government grants will be very strict about what they want to see reported and you may have strict deadlines to meet. The government does occasionally audit nonprofits to make sure everything is on the up and up. If your nonprofit is not prepared to keep careful records — or hire an outside company to do so — all bets are off.

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