Grant Funding FAQs

How much does a grant application cost?

The costs of writing and submitting a grant application—as well as your chances of winning—depend on many factors, including the program you’re applying for, the granting agency’s rules, your industry, the amount of the award, and whether you do it yourself or hire a grant writer. As a very general guide, a $200K award might cost around $8K, a $500K award might cost around $15K, and a $2M award might cost around $30K.

One thing tends to hold true—working with an expert who understands the nuances of the program you're applying for will typically improve your chances of winning by 3X. That’s why we curate a marketplace of talented freelance grant writers who can help guide you through your process. The best part is, you can decide how you'd like to engage—whether you completely outsource the work, or you do some of it yourself under the guidance of an expert.

What are Federal grants?

A grant is a method for the government to fund ideas and projects that provide public services, drive innovation, and stimulate the economy. Grants support critical recovery initiatives, innovative research, and many other programs listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA).

The grant process follows a linear life cycle that includes creating the funding opportunity, collecting applications, making award decisions, and implementing the award. Grants are non-dilutive and do not need to be paid back, but specific outcomes are expected and must be reported on.

Do I need to worry about my intellectual property?

Yes, you should always be concerned about your IP. However, many grant programs have mechanisms in place to protect you. Have your attorney review anything you sign with the government.

Can I write a grant myself?

Yes, you can! Many companies working with us simply hire consultants to help them research, strategize, and navigate the specific nuances of working with a government agency, or to understand how the application process works. They then do the bulk of the writing themselves, or amongst their team.

Are grants the same as tax credits?

No, they are not. Grants are a financial award typically given by the government or a charitable foundation. Tax credits are a deduction from taxes owed. OpenGrants is all about grants. To claim tax credits, head over to our friends at MainStreet.

Are grants the same as government contracts?

While a grant does result in a contract with the government, when people in the public sector talk about government contracting, they are not speaking about grants.

Governments all over the world contract out everything from laundry services to satellites. Contracting can be a great way to land big customers with deep pockets. For all of your contracting needs, check out our friends at The Knowledge Stack!

How do I know if I'm eligible for funding?

There are loads of great resources out there to help you assess eligibility for the breadth of available grant programs. The fastest way is to sign up here for free and use our Grant Finder to see if there are any grants that are relevant to your work. You should also complete your personal and organizational profile so our team can notify you about grants that match your profile.

The next best place is You can filter and search for federal grants and get a general idea of your eligibility. Once you find something that you think is a fit, you will want to download the RFP document, which is usually a PDF.

Inside, search for the eligibility section and read it carefully. NOTE: RFPs are updated and changed from time to time, so double-check with the listed program contact to ensure you are eligible before investing time and resources on an application.

What is prime contracting vs. subcontracting?

Prime contractors work directly with the government. They manage any subcontractors, and are responsible for ensuring that the work is completed as defined in the contract. If you are a prime contractor, you bear the primary responsibility for the grant. This gives you control over the budget and other project partners, but also exposes you to more liability than the subcontractors.

Unlike prime contractors, subcontractors do not work directly with the government, but instead work for other prime contractors.

Nothing you choose during registration or profile updates on our platform constitutes any kind of agreement with the government. However, when you apply for a grant, you will be considered the prime contractor. However, if you are interested in working with a team. Selecting subcontractor only will limit your choices, but will also generate connections to other projects, if you make your profile searchable and open.

What registrations do I need?

IRS EIN - You need this to get federal funding. It's free and easy.


If you want to apply for federal awards as a prime awardee, you need a registration.

A registration allows you to bid on government contracts and apply for federal assistance. As part of registration, we will assign you a Unique Entity ID.

To see comprehensive instructions and checklist for entity registration, download our Entity Registration Checklist.

If you do not want to apply directly for awards, then you do not need a registration. If you only conduct certain types of transactions, such as reporting as a sub-awardee, you may not need to complete a registration. You may only need a Unique Entity ID.

SAM - Registering in the Federal System for Awards management is a critical, and sometimes long, step. It can take up to ten business days to get fully registered in SAM.

SAM Registration

Individual Programs Will Require You Register On Other Portals:

Grants.Gov - Is required for a variety of programs including NIH, DoD, and USDA.

SBA - Is required for SBIR programs from NIH, SBIR, NSF and DoD.

eRA Commons & eCPS - Are both for NIH - For NSF applicants

EBRAP & DoD SBIR - For DoD related applications there are these separate portals.

PAM’s - This is required for DOE related SBIR