1. System Award Management (SAM): Go to SAM.gov to complete the online registration process. Core data required for all account types include a unique entity identifier (UEI) – assigned by and viewable within SAM – along with the Employer Identification Number from the IRS (“EIN”), and banking information to set up Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). If the organization has an existing registration, there may be a request for a notarized letter. Processing time may last several weeks. Enrollment may take up to 5 more weeks if an EIN must be acquired (see #4).
2. Unique Entity Identifier (UEI): Federal grant applicants who are registered with SAM are assigned a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) which phased out the nine-character Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number on April 4, 2022. The UEI is assigned by and viewable within SAM, but Grants.gov users can also find it listed under their organization profile. Existing registered entities can find their Unique Entity ID by following the steps at https://www.fsd.gov/gsafsd_sp?id=kb_article_view&sysparm_article=KB0041254 .
3. Grants.gov: Create an account for the Authorized Organization Representative (“AOR”) at grants.gov, who will be
responsible for approving and submitting federal proposals on behalf of the organization. NOTE: Passwords
expire every 60 days. Accounts inactive for 1-year or longer result in the removal of all account roles.
4. EIN: All organizations must obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. For instructions on
requesting an EIN for the first time, see
https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/employer-id-numbers or if requesting an
existing EIN, visit https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/lost-or-misplaced-your-ein.
5. IRS Determination Letter: An organization must apply for tax-exempt status with the IRS. If approved, the IRS
issues the applicant organization an Exemption Letter. Exemption letters are required for most government
grants. Learn more about obtaining an IRS Determination Letter here:
6. State and Local Licensing: State and local governments often require organizations to have all applicable licenses and registrations prior to awarding (and sometimes even applying for) grants. Organizations should consult with their local and state governments to confirm requirements. To begin, visit
7. Operating Cash on Hand: Many government grant awards are paid on a reimbursement basis, meaning organizations are paid after incurring and paying grant expenses and following specific reporting procedures. Reimbursement payments may take up to 120 days, so organizations must have policies and the capacity to manage payment delays.
8. Financial Policies: Before applying for or accepting a federal grant, organizations must be prepared for all required auditing, overall compliance, internal controls, procurement and award procedures, and financial management responsibilities. Learn more in the Nevada GrantLab resource guide on the auditor’s perspective at
9. Indirect Costs: Indirect costs are expenses incurred by an organization that cannot specifically be associated with a particular program or activity. If an expense will continue even when the federally funded activity stops, it is usually an indirect cost. Examples include operating and maintaining facilities, equipment, and grounds; depreciation or use allowances; and administrative salaries. These costs may be charged to the grant as a percentage of the direct cost items in the budget as determined by the Indirect Cost Rate (ICR).
An organization that has never received a negotiated ICR may elect a 10% de minimis unless prohibited by the funding opportunity announcement. An organization may arrange an ICR through its cognizant federal agency by submitting an ICR Proposal and other supporting documentation, subject to review or audit.
10. Grants Manual: A grants manual establishes policies and procedures for application, receipt, management, and closeout of federal grant awards. Most nonprofit organizations without a highly diversified and developed grants team operate without a grants manual.
11. Cost Sharing: Most federal grants mandate recipients to share in the cost of a program, often by requiring cash or in-kind contributions. Cost sharing cannot be met with other federal funds.
Common types of cost-sharing:
a. Mandatory Committed: Cost-sharing is required by a granting agency for a proposal to be considered and reviewed. Submissions will be returned without review if cost-sharing is excluded.
b. Voluntary Committed: Cost-sharing is not required by the granting agency for eligibility purposes but is included in an organization’s proposal and becomes required at the time of the award.
c. Third Party: Cost-sharing is provided by an entity other than the primary grant applicant. This type of cost-share typically applies only when required by the granting agency.
12. Federal debt delinquency: Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act of 1990 (Act), 28 U.S.C. 3201(e) states that a debtor who has a judgment lien against debt to the United States is not eligible to receive funds directly from the Federal Government in any program.
13. Target population: Define the service need for the targeted population in the geographic area and present a system for recruiting eligible target group members—documenting the support of current, credible sources. Consider existing, planned, or potentially competing efforts of other organizations. Where possible, align with the community’s priorities, local or state government, or network goals.
14. Need statement: The narrative should describe the expected outcomes and inputs with a thorough timeline, including key partners, program activities, and program deliverables. Draw a distinct line to the purpose and need.
15. Evidence of effectiveness: Some funding agencies provide evidence-based practices (EBP) resource centers. Detail how the EBP is being used to design, monitor, and/or evaluate the program. Outline issues that might occur and illustrate how adjustments will be implemented mid-program.
16. Sustainability plans: Sustainability plans are not proposals to replace grant funds at the end of the cycle. This plan should address the organization’s financial stability, alignment between programs and strategic goals/objectives, and staffing continuity.
Please consult with legal counsel to ensure compliance with all local, state, and federal regulations.
*GRANTLAB RESOURCE GUIDES (available at nevadagrantlab.org/capacity-building)