American Rescue Plan Grants to Organizations: Common Application Mistakes

Part 1: Submit SF-424 (Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organizational Form) to

Waiting too long to register with DUNS and in and

All applicants must have a DUNS number ( and be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM, at the time of application. To allow time to resolve any problems you might encounter, finalize your registrations soon.

To help reduce burden, there will be a 180-day extension for existing SAM registrations that have expiration dates ranging between April 1, 2021, and September 30, 2021. This effort is intended as relief for those otherwise required to re-register during that timeframe. This does not impact entities registering with SAM for the first time. 

If your organization is currently registered with SAM, but that registration is not currently active, you may still apply. will not validate your registration to confirm that it is current at the time of application. In the meantime, renew your registration as soon as possible because we still check your SAM and DUNS registrations before making a grant award.

Waiting until the last minute to submit your SF-424 to

To allow time to resolve any problems you might encounter, submit Part 1 of your application to well before the application deadline.

Exceptions to the deadline will be considered only for registration or renewal issues that are the result of failures on the part of DUNS, SAM,, or NEA systems as determined by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Assuming your SF-424 submission to was successful when it wasn’t.

You must click the SIGN AND SUBMIT button under the Forms Tab in After submitting your application, you will see a confirmation screen. Take a screenshot and retain the Tracking Number that you receive in the application submission confirmation screen.

We will not make exceptions for unsuccessful application submissions that are the result of user error, including failure to register in or to verify that your application was successfully submitted to the system through Track My Application.

Failure to successfully submit the Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organizational Form through will make you ineligible to complete Part 2 of the application process.

You are responsible for tracking your application through Be proactive. Late applications will not be reviewed.

Part 2: Submit Materials to the Applicant Portal

Submitting an Organization Budget showing $0s in every field.

You’ll be asked to list your operating budget figures from the most recently completed fiscal year, the previous fiscal year, and the fiscal year prior to that.

In the Organization Budget form, fill in the line items only for Total Income and Total Expenses for each year. Leave the Operating Surplus/Deficit line items blank; they will autocalculate for you. It is mandatory to provide this budget information.

WARNING: This form will validate with $0s in every field because figures that amount to $0 are acceptable in cases where organizations do not have a budget line for that particular figure.

Failing to provide the required three-year Arts Programmatic History.

Your application will be deemed ineligible and will not be reviewed if you fail to demonstrate three years of arts programming by your organization. You only need to describe one representative example of arts programming for each year.

Failing to finalize and submit your Application after filling out all the information in the Applicant Portal.

You must click “Save” and then “Submit.” If you do not hit the "Submit" button, your application will not be received. The “Submit” button is only visible when you are on the Organization & Project Data tab.
Ensure that your application was received by logging in to the Applicant Portal. On the first screen it will say “Submitted” if your application has been received. If your application has not yet been received, it will say “In Progress.” Maintain documentation of your successful submission by taking a screenshot.

Waiting until the day of the deadline to submit your application.

Submit your materials to the Applicant Portal well in advance of the deadline to give yourself ample time to resolve any problems that you might encounter. You take a significant risk by waiting until the day of the deadline to submit.

We strongly urge you to complete and submit the Grant Application Form and upload materials outside of the hours of heaviest usage, generally 8:00 p.m. to 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on the day of the deadline.

When in doubt, contact us. We’re here to help!