Grant Writing – Government Grant Facts & Writing Tips

Although no one single source of information covers all federal government grants, most federal agencies have some type of grant-making program. This article will help you become familiar with government grants by providing you with important federal government grant facts and grant writing tips.

Government Grant Facts

  • In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – or Stimulus Package – injected a historic $463 Billion in additional grant funding into the grant pipeline.
  • Typically, federal funding annually for grants is around $100 Billion, depending on who you talk to.
  • Despite a decline in funding for social service, health, and welfare programs in the mid-to-late 1980s, over a 20-year period starting in 1980, the U.S. government funding for grants more than doubled, increasing from $40 to $90 billion.
  • According to the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, there are 1,999 Federal assistance programs.
  • At the time of writing this article, there are 64 federal granting departments and agencies. The top 5 grant-making departments – in terms of grant programs offered – are Health and Human Services (376), Agriculture (229), The Interior (203), Education (168), and Justice (124).

Government Grant Writing Tips

  • Find the Organizational Chart – To find information about federal grant programs, familiarize yourself with the organizational structure of the federal agencies. Check their website or ask for an organizational chart. Once you are familiar with the organizational structure, you can delve into appropriate reference materials that describe grant opportunities.
  • Ask About Technical Assistance – Often, governmental agencies conduct training – often referred to as technical assistance. These are sessions to familiarize you with funding guidelines and priorities. They assist you with completing appropriate forms and applications. These are informative and provide grant writers with opportunities to meet agency staff and ask questions.
  • Contact Your U.S. Senator and Representative – Elected officials are sometimes able to assist you in your grant writing efforts. They can help search for funding for initiatives they find particularly relevant to their constituents, political platforms, and geographic regions they represent. They can even introduce new legislation to provide funding.
  • Keep Taxpayers In Mind – Keep foremost in your mind that federal funds are the result of taxes paid by people like you and me. It is your responsibility to make sure the plan you propose shows how you will account for these tax dollars. One way to do this is by closely aligning your project outcomes with your budget. Avoid padding budgets and rounding up numbers that might threaten your credibility.