Common Grant Application

The Common Grant Application(R) simplifies the lives of grantmakers and grantseekers alike. It is an online system that is similar to the Common Application for students – only this one applies to grants.

One broadly based system available is straightforward, easy, flexible and inexpensive. Both grantmakers and grantseekers can use the Common Grant Application Web Site not only to apply for and manage grants, but also to request a demo or to sign up for free webinars.

Common Grant Applications were developed in order to reduce the administrative burden for non-profit organizations. There are both national and regional groups that use the basic concept of the common grant application.

The purpose of the Common Grant Application is to simplify the grant seeking and grant management process by providing a single platform to either apply for or manage the process of offering a grant. So if you are applying for a grant, one application will go to several grant makers. Typically the grant application is made online. For information on writing any kind of grant proposal, be sure to see Writing a Good Grant Proposal.

Note April 2019

If you’re encouraged to find an article that professes to advise you of mistakes that are typically made on Common Grant Applications, stop and take another look. We went all through one looking for any reference to the Common Grant Application and couldn’t find a single one. It turned out that the article was really about “common mistakes” made on grant applications in general —- not specifically on a specific Common Grant Appication such as those discussed in this article. Of course there’s no harm in reading through the article, it probably offers some good advice pertinent to any applications for grants. Just be aware that it is a more general article than you might have thought.

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Regional Common Grant Applications

There’s really nothing “common” about the Common Grant Application. It’s an exceptionally useful tool that lets applicants complete one application and use it to apply to multiple grant-giving foundations and other organizations. Many common grant applications are specific to certain regions. There will be multiple organizations that accept it, all located within that region. For example, the NY/NJ Area Common Application is accepted by almost 70 organizations. They are listed on the group’s website, so it’s a great way not only for applying but for doing some basic research on what organizations are giving out grants in support of this particular area. Remember if you are considering using the application you still need to be sure that your goals are a good match for the intent of the grants in which you have interest.

The Common Grant Application originated in 1990, when a CGA was first created by the Philanthropy Network of Greater Philadelphia. The Common Grant Application has now become quite common all over the United States. Its success is due to its ability to streamline the grant process which otherwise can be quite cumbersome. As more and more grantmakers and grant seekers are created the usefulness of the CGA increases as well. The originating network is alive and well today, with a calendar of interesting events, news and information and more available on its website. They also provide a link for information about events, webinars, etc. across the country.

It is a great benefit that Grantmakers in many areas have joined together to simplify the grant application and management processes. This move can save you lots of time and energy if you manage it right.

The Common Grant Application makes life easier for both grant seekers and grant makers. Many grant makers have reduced their dependence on paper applications and in the process they have gotten better organized about their process. So they can handle more with efficiency and make better decisions when awarding grants. As a result more grantmakers are taking advantage of the opportunity to put their grants process online. This can be a big benefit to grant seekers as well. Learn more about grants online

Who Uses the Common Grant Application? It's interesting to know that you can view a current list of applicants on the Common Grant Application website. The list includes the name of the organization, a brief profile provided by that entity, and sometimes a website. This could be useful for you to take a look at to see if you have something in common with these groups. That would suggest it could be encouraging to use the Common Grant Application. You might also contact a particular group to see if they might give you some tips – whether they have been successful or not. Though the CGA is a membership organization there is no charge to applicants.

You can apply to the Common Grant application if you are a non-profit or an individual. Many people are not aware that the Common Grant Application website also lists scholarships to which individuals may apply using the system. Registered users may search through grants and scholarships and easily find more information about eligibility and applying. You can also filter your search so results are relevant to your situation and desires. Applying is easy, they simply ask for your name or the name of your organization, what country you are located in, and your email.You will also be asked to created a password.

The Common Grant Application organization puts on periodic conferences and webinars to help out both grant makers and grant applicants. You can get a current list of upcoming events on their website. These are primarily aimed at grant makers, but just looking at the topics and what you can learn at webinars can help you better understand the mindset of grant makers who you hope will approve your application. You can also read their case studies to see how the Common Grant Application has changed things and made the lives of grant judges easier. And there is also an excellent FAQ section for Great Applicants.

Though you have to sign up and log in to see much of the detail on this site there is no cost to applicants. And there is quite a bit of interesting information you can get not only for free but also without providing and personal information about yourself. In addition to see lists of what organizations apply for grants, you can also see a list of grantmakers who accept the Common Grant Application. And we were surprised to see that scholarships are included as well. Without signing up you can see what organizations are listed as providing scholarships as well as those making grants. It’s not an extensive list by any means but could still be of interest you. It could identify organizations you were not aware of that provide grants and scholarships.

Before pursuing a Common Grant Application in your area there are a few important things to remember:

  • First is that there may not be a Common Grant Application in your particular region. This situation can change so it is worth checking periodically to see if one has developed.
  • Common Grant Applications are modified and updated on a regular basis, so be sure you are using the most current version when you apply for a grant.
  • Just because there is a CGA in your region it doesn't mean that all organizations that award grants will accept it. There are still some that like to use their own customized application materials and you must comply with their specific requirements.

Following are examples of some groups with CGA's. There are many of them across the United States! You may see one that applies directly to you below though only a handful are listed. Check out their websites if you are eligible in their areas. Otherwise, do a web search and enter the terms “common grant application” along with your particular area of interest (e.g. “common grant application Florida”.

New York/New Jersey: If you are in the New York/New Jersey area you may be interested in the NU/NJ Area Common Application. This group has a four page application which includes easy to follow directions for the application as well as a sample cover page. There are also important guidelines for using the application itself. On the philanthropynewyork website you can find further information about the funders who are participating in this common application. Each of those funders has their own requirements as to timetables and such so it’s important to give attention to their specific requirements. You can download the common application to complete and send to whichever of the funders you want to apply to.

Colorado: According to the Colorado Common Grant Forms website, the Common Grant Applications and Common Grant Report make it easier for those who make and those who seek grants to look for and provide standard information that reinforces productive practices for not-for-profit organizations. In addition, everyone gets to save time and effort by not reinventing the wheel with every opportunity and application.

Washington State: In the state of Washington, the Washington Grantmakers' members created formats for applications and reports considering input from grantseekers and evaluation experts, to facilitate grant application and reporting. Go to Washington's common grant website to apply for a grant or to list your grantmaking organization.

Santa Barbara: Some common grant application groups are limited to a particular city or group of cities. In California such a group has been formed in Santa Barbara County. It is specifically for the use of local nonprofits. Visit The Nonprofit Support Center for further information and action.

Maine Philanthropy Center: On the opposite side of the U.S., the Maine Philanthropy Center is made up of 93 Maine grantmakers of all imaginable varieties. They share a dedication to enhancing all aspects of the philanthropic community in the state of Maine. If you are in this area, visit the Maine Philanthropy Center.

If you found this article useful, you may also want to discuss and learn about other websites on the internet.

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