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Frequently Asked Questions

For Grantseekers

Q. How do the Common Grant Forms benefit me as a grantseeker?
The Common Grant Application (CGA) toolkit is cost effective: Grantseekers are able to complete one application that can be tailored to meet the application needs of multiple grantmakers, freeing up more time to focus on mission, instead of spending time complying with unique application requirements.

The Common Grant Application leads to better grant applications: The teams that created the forms worked to eliminate repetition creating more succinct and streamlined tools. The intention is to provide grantseekers the opportunity to tell their story fluidly and avoid redundancies.

The Common Grant Application comes with supplemental materials like the User Guide. This comprehensive document provides clarity on the intention of each component of the forms and offers resources for further exploration and education.

Q. If a grantmaker accepts the Common Grant Application, does that imply they don’t have special requirements of their own? 
No. While many grantmakers will use the Common Grant Forms as a stand alone tool, others will choose to adapt it to meet their own needs. This is why it is critical that each grantseeker research each grantmaker’s application and reporting requirements.

Q. Is the Common Grant Application submitted to grantmakers online through this website? 
No. You are able to download the forms online, save them to your computer, but then you must submit them to a particular grantmaker. If a grantmaker has an online application they will provide you with specific instructions regarding their process.

Q. Will you help me find a grant? 
No. Nonprofit grant guides and many other grant-writing resources are available in the community. We are unable to recommend, or distribute your CGAs to grantmakers.

Q. Who do I contact if I have questions about the Common Grant Application?
It is always appropriate to contact specific grantmakers with questions that arise when applying to them. Part of the reason for developing the User Guide was to provide clarity on the questions asked. 

Q. How do I sign up to use the Common Grant Application? 
You do not need to sign up or register with any organization or person to use the Common Grant Application. Just be sure that the grantmaker you are applying to accepts the CGA.

Q. Can Illinois nonprofits use the Missouri Common Grant Application?
Yes. If a grantmaker accepts the CGA and they accept grant applications from Illinois nonprofits then Illinois nonprofits can apply to that grantmaker using the CGA.

For Grantmakers

Q. What has been the reaction of nonprofits to the Common Grant Application?
The Missouri Common Grant Application has been reviewed and tested by over 40 nonprofits in the St. Louis community. Overall, the reaction has been very positive. Nonprofit representatives appreciate the common form because it clearly directs them to answer specific questions about their organizations and the projects for which they seek funding. And, they can use the same basic format and measurements when applying to multiple funders. 

Q. Why should grantmakers adopt the Common Grant Application?
The Common Grant Application and related materials allow Missouri grantmakers and grantseekers to work from a common set of questions that reinforce solid nonprofit practices. At the same time, the CGAs save grantseekers time and effort by enabling them to use a single form for many different applications.

Q. How do applicants access and submit forms? 
The Missouri Common Grant Application and related forms will be available in two places- the individual grantmaker’s websites and the Gateway Center for Giving website. The Center's website will include instructions to check with the individual funder to see if that funder accepts the Common Grant Application and if there are other requirements or any other pertinent information. Applicants can download the document, complete it, and submit it to the grantmaker in the requested format (mail, email, fax, etc.).

Q. Can I house the forms on my website?  
Grantmakers can download any of the Common Grant Application from the Center's site to your website and add a cover letter or any other information you would like to your site. Or, as mentioned above, you can direct grantseekers to the Center's website to download the application. Grantmakers are welcome to modify their version of the application, such as add or remove questions, to meet the needs of your organization.

Q. How will grantseekers know what funders use the Missouri Common Grant Application?
The Center will post a list of all funders accepting the Missouri Common Grant Application on its website with links to the funders’ websites (where available).  Grantseekers will also be able to contact individual grantmakers to find out if they are willing to accept the CGA.

Q. Will my volume of proposals increase if I adopt a common grant application?
Funders around the country use various types of common grant applications and none have reported that they were overwhelmed with proposals after adoption. Most nonprofits know that relationships with funders are important and that it is not effective to send a proposal to every funder in town without a plan. Funders in other cities who have adopted a common grant application have reported that they are getting higher quality proposals that are easier to review. 

Q. What about the need for different applications for different funds or types of requests?
You can select from a menu of forms/materials for different purposes, which include: 
  • Missouri Common Grant Application 
  • Financial Forms:
    • Project Budget Template
    • Organizational Budget Template
    • Capital Request Budget Template
  • Additional Form/Materials: 
    • Short Form (can be used as a letter of intent)
    • User Guide
Q. What if I want to ask additional questions? 
On the first page of the form, applicants are informed that each funder has different guidelines and priorities, as well as different deadlines and timetables.  Before submitting the common application to a potential grantmaker, applicants are reminded to check to see whether their project or program matches the funder’s published interests and if any additional information is needed.  Grantmakers are welcome to modify their version of the application, such as add or remove questions, to meet the needs of your organization.

Q. We have a lot of interaction with our applicants before the grant application is made, including a letter of inquiry. Would we still be able to do this if we adopted the Common Grant Application? 
Adopting the common grant application doesn’t change your application process. You will still interact with grantseekers in the same way as before. There is a Short Form that can be used as a Letter of Inquiry if you wish to use it. 

Q. Is there a fee to use the common grant application?
There will be no fee for funders to adopt the CGA. Both Gateway Center for Giving members and non-members are welcome to use the CGA materials. There also is no fee for nonprofits to use it. The Center only asks that you inform us if you are using the form so we can keep accurate records on its use.  

Q. What if I want to suggest changes to the common grant application?
Contact the Gateway Center (info@centerforgiving.org or 314-621-6220) with any changes you would like to suggest. The changes will be discussed with the Common Grant Application committee to determine if they are appropriate for the application.

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