CHALLENGE AMERICA: Common Application Mistakes
Part 1: Submit SF-424 (Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organizational Form) to Grants.gov
Waiting too long to register in SAM.gov and Grants.gov.
Registration in SAM.gov and Grants.gov can take several weeks. Give yourself plenty of time to get registered. Similarly, submit your application to Grants.gov well in advance of the deadline in case you encounter any difficulties.
If you run into trouble, you must maintain documentation (emails, screenshots, etc.) of any interaction with SAM.gov or the Federal Service Desk.
Registrations with SAM.gov and Grants.gov must be active for you to be able to submit your application. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in your inability to submit to Grants.gov.
Waiting until the last minute to submit your SF-424 to Grants.gov.
To allow time to resolve any problems you might encounter, submit your Part 1 of your application to Grants.gov well before the application deadline.
Late, ineligible, and incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Exceptions to the deadline will be considered only for registration or renewal issues or technical malfunctions that are the result of failures on the part of DUNS, SAM, Grants.gov, or NEA systems, as determined by the NEA. To be considered for this exception, you must provide documentation of a DUNS, SAM, Grants.gov, or NEA systems failure that prevented your submission by the deadline.
Assuming your SF-424 submission to Grants.gov was successful when it wasn’t.
You must click the SIGN AND SUBMIT button under the Forms Tab in Grants.gov. After submitting your application, you will see a confirmation screen. Take a screenshot and retain the Grants.gov 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 SAM.gov or to verify that your application was successfully submitted to the Grants.gov system through Track My Application.
You must successfully submit the Application for Federal Domestic Assistance/Short Organizational Form through Grants.gov in order to complete Part 2 of the application process.
You are responsible for tracking your application through Grants.gov. 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.
Double check the figures on this form to make sure it accurately reflects your organization’s budget. Because budget information varies from organization to organization, each field is not required. However, it is mandatory to provide budget information on this tab.
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.
Omitting the required three-year Arts Programmatic History.
Your application will be deemed ineligible and will not be reviewed if your application does not demonstrate three years of arts programming by your organization.
Requesting a proposed project start date that is before the earliest start date for NEA support.
NEA support of a project may start on or after January 1, 2023.
Not showing the required 1:1 cost share/match in your project budget.
Projects with less than $20,000 in costs (i.e., not showing the minimum NEA requested amount of $10,000 and the required organization 1:1 match of $10,000) will be deemed ineligible and will not be reviewed.
Submitting an application without work samples.
These are a critical part of your application and are considered carefully during application review. If your discipline requires work samples and you do not submit them, your application will be incomplete and will not be reviewed.
Forgetting 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 Organization & Project Data.
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 at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-682-5700.