How to Fill In Federal Grant Application Forms
Each federal agency has its own grant application forms and its own guidelines for filling out the forms. All the federal agencies have standard cover forms, budget forms, and assurances, certifications, and disclosures. The rest of the required forms will vary from agency to agency.
Grant app cover form
The cover form is the top page of all federal grant applications. It’s what the feds see when they open your application package. For years, the application cover form has been known as the Application for Federal Assistance Cover Form. The current cover form is four pages when printed out. It has 21 sections:
Section 1: Type of Submission
Section 2: Type of Application
Section 3: Date Received
Section 4: Applicant Identifier
Sections 5a and 5b: Federal Entity and Federal Award Identifiers
Sections 6 and 7: For State Agency Use Only
Sections 8 and 9: Applicant Information
Section 10: Name of Federal Agency
Section 11: CFDA Number and Title
Section 12: Funding Opportunity Number
Section 13: Competition Identification Number
Section 14: Areas Affected by Project
Section 15: Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project
Section 16: Congressional Districts
Section 17: Proposed Project Start and End Dates
Section 18: Estimated Funding
Section 19: Application Subject to Review by State Under Executive Order
Section 20: Applicant Delinquency on Federal Debt
Section 21: Application Certification, Signatory, and Contact Information
Budget information forms
You fill out a two-page, seven-section set of federal budget forms that’s often referred to as Standard Form 424A, Pages 1 and 2. The seven sections of this form set are labeled Sections A through G:
Section A: Lay out your budget summary (your federal grant request and your non-federal matching monies).
Section B: Detail the budget categories line item by line item.
Section C: List the source of your non-federal monies (called non-federal resources).
Section D: Forecast your first-year grant funding needs (referred to as forecasted cash needs).
Section E: Fill in this section only if the grant award is for multiple years. Tell the federal government the total amount of grant funds needed in the second through fifth years of your project.
Section F: Explain any amounts requested in the federal portion of your budget that are unusual or unclear to someone outside your agency.
In this section, you also explain your already negotiated indirect cost rate (contact the Office of Management and Budget to start this lengthy process well before you plan to apply for federal grant funding).
Assurances form as a part of a grant application
The federal government wants assurances that your organization — the grant applicant — can meet all of its funding expectations. And it gets these assurances from the aptly named assurances form.
The assurances cover your legal authority to (among other things)
Apply for grants.
Address your commitment to record keeping.
Provide safeguards for conflict of interest.
Protect the meeting time frame established in your grant application.
Comply with multiple federal laws regarding fairness and equity for program staff and participants.
By signing the assurances, you’re conveying to the government funding agency that your organization will comply with all applicable requirements of all other federal laws, executive orders, regulations, and policies governing this program.
Grant application certification forms
Basically, certification forms inform you of sanctions against fraud, waste, and financial abuse related to federal grant awards. If you mess up and misspend or mismanage your federal grant award, you won’t be allowed to approach any federal agency for grant monies, forever and ever.
Disclosure of lobbying activity form
A lobbyist is an individual or a firm that spends a lot of time on Capitol Hill or at your state capitol schmoozing with elected officials. They’re on a (paid) mission to convince legislators to vote one way or another to benefit their client agencies. If you’ve hired a lobbyist to make sure more federal or state dollars come your way, you must fess up by filling out the Disclosure of Lobbying Activities form.