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How to Present Your Organization's Qualifications when Applying for Grants

5 of 9 in Series: The Essentials of Finding and Applying for a Grant

Any funding source you approach will have questions about your organization's legal name and overall structure as applicant qualifications. Understanding exactly what qualifications the application is asking for and knowing how to reply in the right language is critical:

  • Legal name of the organization applying: For charitable organizations, associations, and foundations, the legal name is the one that appears on the organization’s IRS 501 (c)(3) (charitable designation) or (c)(6) (association or membership designation) letter of nonprofit determination.

  • Type of applicant: Check the box that best describes your organization’s forming structure. For example, you can choose from state agency, county, municipal, township, interstate, intermunicipal, special district, independent school district, public college or university, Indian Tribe, individual, private, profit-making organization, and other (which you have to specify).

  • Year founded: Enter the year that your organization incorporated or was created.

  • Current operating budget: Supply the applicant organization’s operating budget total for the current fiscal year.

    When it comes to money, supply information that portrays the truth and nothing but the truth!

  • Employer identification number (EIN): This portion of the form asks for the seven-digit EIN (employer identification number) assigned to your organization by the Internal Revenue Service. The EIN is also called a taxpayer reporting number.

  • DUNS Number: Federal grant-making agencies require that all grant applicants have a nine-digit DUNS Number, an identification number that makes it easier for others to recognize and learn about your organization. You can register for a unique DUNS Number at the Dunn & Bradstreet Web site.

  • Organization’s fiscal year: Indicate the 12-month time frame that your organization considers to be its operating, or fiscal, year. The fiscal year is defined by the organization’s bylaws and can correspond with the calendar year or some other period, such as July 1 to June 30.

  • Congressional districts: On a federal grant application, you need to list all the congressional districts in which your organization is located and your grant-funded services will be implemented. You can get this information by calling the public library or surfing the Internet to locate your legislator’s Web site — which will contain their district numbers.

  • Contact person information: Name the primary contact in your organization for grant or cooperative agreement negotiations, questions, and written correspondence.

    Make your contact person an individual who helped write the grant and who’s quick enough on his or her feet to answer tough technical questions from the funder, especially by phone.

  • Address: Provide the current street and/or mailing address for the applicant organization.

  • Telephone/fax/e-mail information: List the contact person’s telephone and fax numbers (with area code), as well as an e-mail address.

Don’t hesitate to call the funding source for assistance if you have questions on any portion of the application. Asking a funder for help won’t hurt your chances of getting a grant. In fact, it may even help because you’re filling out forms in the best possible way.

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