Despite the number of books that have been written on how to find and apply for government grants, the easiest way to find information on free personal grants is to go to the government itself. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services administers website, where you can search and apply for a myriad of government grants available from 26 different federal agencies. We'll show you how to apply. Read on!

1. Search the website for available programs. Grants are listed with the agency administering them, and the deadlines for when applications must be received. You can search in one of several ways, listed below. You may search for grant opportunities without registering with the website, but you must register before you can apply for a grant.

Search by one of the 26 federal agencies offering a grant. You can refine this search by sub-agency.
Search by category of funding activity.
Search by opportunities that are part of the Recovery Act.
Search by keyword.
Search by government search codes, such as the Funding Opportunity Number (FON), Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number or Funding Opportunity Competition ID.

2. Review the synopsis for the grant opportunity. This describes the grant opportunity to let you evaluate whether it is an appropriate opportunity before you apply for it. Once you find a suitable grant opportunity, click the "Application" button.

3. Download a grant application package. Each application package, in PDF format, includes instructions specific to the government agency administering the grant, along with application forms designed to be filled in offline. Mandatory fields to fill in are highlighted in yellow and include an asterisk.

You'll need a version of Adobe Reader capable of handling fill-in forms to complete the application. The website features the ability to analyze your version of Adobe Reader to see if it is sufficiently current, as well as a video tutorial on filling out the application. If your organization consists of more than 1 person, each computer used to fill out the application needs a compatible version of Adobe Reader.
If you wish to print out the forms in an application package, you must open each form individually and print it out. There is currently no provision for batch printing the entire package.
Some fields may limit the number of characters allowed. For example, the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) field on Form SF-424 is limited to 30 characters, while the Organization Name field on the R&R Senior/Key Person Form is limited to 60 characters. Exceeding the maximum number of characters in any field may cause your application to get stuck in the system, but if that happens, will notify you so you can correct the problem.
Application fields do not permit the use of special characters such as ampersands (&), hyphens (-), asterisks (*), virgules (/), octothorpes (#), percent signs (%), periods, accent marks or blank spaces. If necessary, separate individual words or name components with underscores (example: "Applying_Company").
You may copy and paste information into the application fields from a text editor such as Notepad; however, cutting and pasting from a word-processing program may cause errors due to proprietary fonts and special characters that may be in the text. To copy text from a file created in a word processor, first save a copy of it as a text file (.txt), then open the text file with a text editor program.

4. Complete the forms. Once you've entered all the required information, check your entries for completeness and for errors.

If you have a DUNS number, be sure the number you use on the application matches the number on file.
Check any files you plan to attach for viruses before attaching them.

5. Submit the completed package, with any required attachments. Once you're connected to the Internet, display the cover page of the application package and click "Save & Submit" to upload your package to Be sure your attachments conform to the requirements of the government agency administering the grant. Your total submission should be no more than 200 megabytes total, although the requirements of the agency administering the grant you're applying for may supersede this limit.

Attachment file names are restricted to 50 characters in length and should not include the special characters &, -, *, /, #, or periods, accent marks or blank spaces. You may separate words in file names with underscores (example: Application_Attachment_File.pdf).
To speed application processing, requires that no 2 files in an application package have the same name. If you have working files with the same name, you'll need to rename them before attaching them to your application.
Video (.mpeg, .mov, .avi), graphic image (.gif, .jpg, .tif) and audio (.aif, .au, .wav) files should be compressed before being attached, according to the standards of the government agency administering the grant you're applying for.
Once your submission is uploaded, you will see a confirmation screen with the submitter's name and a tracking number. Use this tracking number in any correspondence with

6. Follow up on your submission. During the next 2 business days after your submission, will notify you twice by e-mail, first to notify you they have received it and then to notify you that it has either been validated or rejected for technical errors. If it has been validated, you will receive a third e-mail from notifying you that the agency administering the grant has received your application, which may followed by another e-mail to notify you that the grantor agency has assigned its own tracking number to your application.

Before the grantor agency replies, you can follow up with by clicking "Track My Application" on the website's left navigation bar. Enter the tracking number(s) for the application(s) you want to check on; you can enter up to 5. To check on a larger number than this, log in to and use the Check Application Status link.
Once the grantor agency replies, any status update requests must be directed to that agency. If the agency assigned you a tracking number, you'll need to use its tracking number in any correspondence with that agency, which you can obtain from
If you don't receive the second e-mail from within 2 business days, e-mail or call 1-800-518-4726. Be sure to include your tracking number in any telephone or written correspondence.

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