FAQs (General) - Overview

What types of applications are there?

Applications can be paper, online or Web-based.

Paper applications are completed and then mailed or delivered to the grantmaker. The grantmaker enters the application into their grant management system. "Online" applications are downloaded from the grantmaker, printed out, completed and then mailed or delivered to the grantmaker. The grantmaker enters the application into their grant management system. True online and Web applications are completed entirely from a Web browser. The applicant enters the application directly into the grantmakers grant management system.

The Common Grant Application is an online and Web-based grant management system and can manage all types of applications. Paper-based and "online" applications can be entered by the grantmaker into the system from a Web browser.

What does the typical grantmaking process look like?

  Research and discovery Proposal or application Program or project Reporting and evaluation
  • Researching Web, publications and databases for potential grantmakers.
  • Reviewing grantmaker interests and determining eligibility.
  • Establishing contact with grantmaker.
  • Introducing organization and programs to grantmaker.
  • Finding the application.
  • Collecting and collating information.
  • Writing and submitting the letter of inquiry or application.
  • Running organization and project.
  • Collecting and collating results.
  • Writing and submitting the program report or evaluation.
  • Receiving feedback from grantmaker.
  • Providing information about organizational mission.
  • Providing helpful, accurate and timely information about funding interests and activities.
  • Researching Web, publications and databases for potential applicants.
  • Receiving and acknowledging the application.
  • Collecting and collating information.
  • Summarizing and entering the application.
  • Requesting additional information and/or clarifications.
  • Reviewing the application.
  • Approving or rejecting the application.
  • Notifying applicant of application status.
  • Providing funding and other support.
  • Receiving and acknowledging the report or evaluation.
  • Collecting and collating information.
  • Summarizing and entering the report or evaluation.
  • Requesting additional information and/or clarifications.
  • Reviewing the report or evaluation.
  • Providing feedback to the applicant.

How do I sign up to use the Common Grant Application?

Registering by clicking the Register tab is the first step. After registering, login by clicking on the Login tab above. After logging in you'll able to provide further information and and manage your account.

Who can use the Common Grant Application?

This website is generally intended to be used by non-profit organizations that are either seeking or giving away money. Non-profit organizations are those organizations that have been granted non-profit/tax-exempt status by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (or the appropriate governing body for the organization's country). Non-profit organizations are generally organizations, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, schools, or libraries that have received, or are waiting to receive, a tax-exempt or charitable status letter from the U.S. IRS or appropriate governing body. In general, grants or funding cannot be provided directly to individuals except under special circumstances.

Are there any competitive or similar services?

Yes, there are a number of competitive or similar services. There are a number of commercial software programs available for application and grant management. These programs tend to be designed for use by a single grantseeking or grantmaking organization. There are also a number of Web based services available for application and grant management. Again, these programs appear to be focused primarily on a single grantmaking organization or a group of grantmaking organizations with a narrow focus. The only other website directly associated with our solution is www.commongrantapplication.org. We have reserved that site for future use. Other sites with similar sounding names are not associated with us.

How do I report a problem, offer a suggestion, or ask a question?

To ask questions about specific grantmakers or applicants, their organizations, programs, or processes; or the status of any application, please contact the grantmaker or applicant directly.

To ask questions or offer comments about the Common Grant Application website and its general usage or operation there are many ways to contact us. If the Website isn't working properly (problem report), you've got a suggestion for an new feature or improvement (feature or documentation request) or you have a question and you've browsed the Web pages, looked at the FAQs and other resources under the Help tab and can't find an answer to your question (inquiry) you may contact us by email or phone.

Can I save my information?

If you don't have all of the information you need at the time you are working on an application, you can save what you have and come back later to complete things. We will save your information. Any information that has been entered and saved or any documents that have been uploaded will always be available for future use or applications.

What browsers does the Common Grant Application support?

The Common Grant Application is tested against the major browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Chrome. It should also function fine with any other browsers.

Does the Common Grant Application store and manage documentation involved in the grant lifecycle?

Yes. The Common Grant Application provides mechanisms for both applicants and grantmakers to upload and manage documents. Applicants may upload documents describing their organization and/or the various programs for which they are seeking funding. Grantmakers may upload documents describing their organization and/or the various funding and programmatic interests they support. These documents may be used for general informational purposes, to support grant applications or to support reporting and evaluation. Some document formats that are supported include: Word, Acrobat, Excel, and JPEG. Once uploaded, and depending on security and privacy settings, the documents may be opened and reviewed online by the general public, applicants and/or grantmakers.

What type of reporting does the Common Grant Application provide?

The Common Grant Application provides an integrated and extensive set of real-time viewable reports and summaries. These reports and summaries are viewable online and include general, status and statistical information for applicants, grantmakers and applications. Depending on security and privacy settings, various types of reports and summaries with various levels of detail are viewable by the general public, applicants and/or grantmakers. Some types of reports and summaries include: summary of grantmaker organization and funding interests, statistical summary of applications received and approved by grantmaker, list of all grants made by grantmaker, summary of applicant organization and programs, applications with real-time status, grant management status and pending actions and many others. Additional reports may be easily added to the CGA services. All grantmaker and applicant application information may be exported in Excel, mySQL or Access formats for use by other commercial and custom software applications or business information systems.

How does the application functionality work?

The Common Grant Application (CGA) does not require any software other than a Web browser. It is accessible from the Internet and always available (other than during software, hardware and database maintenance periods). The service consists of the CGA software running on a Linux server connected to the Internet, online documentation describing how to use the service and access to customer support by email or phone. It should also be noted that although it is an application, the CGA service provides mechanisms for grantmakers that may receive paper based applications to enter those applications and supporting documents into the same database and workflow process as the other applications. Applicants can maintain and submit information to one or more grantmakers as an application. The information does not need to be re-entered for each application. Grantmakers can specify a range of criteria about the type of applications they will consider. Applications submitted by an applicant that do not meet the grantmaker specified criteria will not be presented to the grantmaker. The grantmaker can move the applications forward through a series of simple sequential steps (which may include rejection, approval, funding and/or evaluation) until completion. Changes in the status of the application are reported automatically to the applicant.

Does the Common Grant Application support the entire grantmaking life cycle?

Yes. The Common Grant Application supports the entire grantmaking life cycle of: research, discovery and identification; solicitation, proposal or application; program or project; and reporting and evaluation for both applicants and grantmakers.

How do I start using the Common Grant Application?

First, click on the Register tab to create an account. After you've created the account click on the Login tab to log in, set up your account and start entering information about your organization and programs. Detailed instructions about how to set up your account and enter information will be available after you log in.

How are grant cycle dates managed?

Grant cycle open, close, notification, and funding dates are set by the Grantmaker on the "Edit Grant Cycles" page. They will have the following properties/restrictions;

Note: Due to varying grantmaker needs, no restrictions are put on the Notification or the Funding dates.

When do the grant cycle dates change?

A grant cycle starts 00:00:01 (one second after midnight) Central Time on the date specified by the grantmaker. Grant cycle close dates and times can both be set by the grantmaker as well. For example, if an application closing date for a grant cycle is set to April 30 and the close time set at 23:59:59 (24 hour clock), the latest the application could be submitted for consideration for that grant cycle would be April 30 at 11:59:59 PM Central Time.

What training is required before I can start using the Common Grant Application?

A design goal of the Common Grant Application has been to ensure the navigation and user interface are very simple and can be used successfully by people with a wide range of computer and Web skills. The Common Grant Application currently has thousands of user accounts, and to date, we have had very few support requests. Most users have opened and used their account by simply reading the instructions on the site. The site is designed for easy navigation and use. The page layout and contents are designed to have a consistent look and feel. Each page provides detailed instructions on usage. If a user needs support, we make it easy for them to communicate with us. We may be contacted by email or phone. We do not charge any training fees.

What type of ongoing support is required to use the Common Grant Application?

The Common Grant Application is a hosted solution. The grantmaker and applicant do not need to install, support or maintain any hardware or software. The only requirement to use the system is that a user has access to a Web browser. The Common Grant Application will maintain and support the hardware and software on its server(s) as needed. The Common Grant Application is constantly improving and adding new features and capabilities. Software and database upgrades are generally performed without any disruption to our websites availability (i.e., the systems architecture allows us to update the software and database on a running system). Backup operations are also performed without any need to disrupt the site's availability. We do not charge any maintenance or support fees.

Are there any limitations on the number of users for each account?

Each grantmaker or applicant account may have one or more users. There is no limit on the number of users for each applicant or grantmaker account. Each user may have different permissions within the account. We do not charge any per user fees.

How are applications printed?

Applications can be printed directly by using the Web browser print function. Applications may also be printed by opening an application, exporting the application to a PDF file and then printing the PDF file. Applications contain identifying information; applicant and grantmaker contact information; applicant organization background, budget, staff and supplemental questions information; applicant organization documents; applicant program background, budget, staff information and supplemental information; applicant program documents; status and evaluation information; and payment information.

How can applications be downloaded or exported?

Each document uploaded by the applicant and submitted as part of an application is viewable by the grantmaker directly from their Web browser. Each viewable document is hyperlinked, and may be viewed by simply clicking on that hyperlink. The document may then either be opened for viewing or saved to the local environment of the grantmaker.

Single applications can be converted in PDF document and then saved locally.

The grantmaker may export all or portions of the application information into Excel files. These Excel files then may be opened for viewing or saved to the local environment of the grantmaker. The grantmaker manages the export of application information by creating a custom report. The custom report allows the grantmaker to select which fields they would like to see in the application listing. Each listing then may be filtered by additional criteria. The resulting listing of one or more applications may then be exported into Excel.

How often do you upgrade or update the software on your system?

We are constantly updating and upgrading the capabilities of our system. We use the agile software development model. We deploy new features, enhancements and fixes on an ongoing basis as they become available and after they have been thoroughly tested. Generally speaking, deployment of new upgrades and updates is done without affecting the service availability of the website.

What time zone does is used for date and time stamps?

The server is hosted in the Central time zone, so time stamps are using Central time. Time zones, from west to east, are Hawaii, Hawaii-Aleutian, Alaska, Pacific, Mountain, Central and Eastern.

Can reports be uploaded and managed?

At the time a grantmaker approves an application they may specify if a report is required at the completion of the grant. The applicant may submit one or more interim and/or final reports for each application The reports are associated with a specific application. The grantmaker may be informed as these reports are received. These reports are then available like application for online review by the grantmaker.

Can special characters be used in the application or is special HTML coding required for this?

We should support virtually all characters and preserve them as entered. The only exceptions are things like filenames, username/password, etc., and/or fields that have specific formatting requirements like dates and email addresses. For all fields where there are requirements, those should be specified in the help tooltips and/or the error messages. For any of the big text boxes, we should support all special/foreign characters, etc.