It is important to be realistic about your expectations in regards to obtaining funding. Federal agencies and foundations receive hundreds of grant proposals with generally low funding percentages and often take up to a year to provide an award. The bottom line is that funders offer grant opportunities to fulfill their missions and complete their goals or objectives. Your proposal needs to assist the agency or foundation to do that! Do your homework and find opportunities that are a good fit for your project or research and you can increase your chances of receiving funding. Moreover, it may take a long time to find funding. Some programs do not announce awards until nine months after the submission deadline. Sometimes you may need to apply several times before receiving funding.


This section will assist you with identifying appropriate funding sources for your projects, as well as provide information on searchable funding opportunity databases. To begin with, it is important to understand funding source options, and which office processes the desired type of funding you seek.


The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) and Institutional Advancement  coordinate their efforts in soliciting funds from private sources. Both offices overlap in their respective missions in pursuit of funding from private and corporate foundations. In general, OSP handles grants and contracts, whereas Development handles gifts and relationships. Our departments have come to an agreement that when a corporate or private foundation is approached for a grant (written or online proposals that have the potential to contractually bind the institution to an outcome or course of action), the proposal and award will be processed through OSP. This allows the University to track expenditures and ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the grant.


Grants, Contracts & Sponsored Programs. According to Policy 137, OSP manages sponsored programs grants, contracts and cooperative agreements. The term sponsored programs includes any project or program that obtains or uses public (government) or private (corporate/foundation) funding for research, education, training or other services with a defined scope of work or objectives that involves UVU faculty, staff, students, facilities and/or equipment. Grant and contract award documents legally bind UVU to the terms and conditions of each award. Awards carry obligations that, if not adhered to, can result in legal penalties for the University and the Principal Investigator/Project Director (PI/PD), or individual responsible for the award (seeUnderstand Your Responsibilities as PIfor further explanation). Awards generally require accountability to the funder in the form of fiscal and programmatic reports. Sponsored programs include grants, contracts, subcontracts, and cooperative agreements. A grant is a written request (including online submissions) to an external agency. OSP has the responsibility for coordination and submission of all written proposals requesting grant funds for programs or activities. A grant can be differentiated from a gift by the following measure; a grant designates funds or resources for a specific project or purpose and is subject to one or more of the following conditions:

  • Specified performance period, or time frame in which funds must be spent;
  • Targeted deliverables or specified outcomes;
  • Written terms and conditions;
  • Unspent funds must be repurposed with permission of the awarding organization or returned;
  • Reporting requirements;
  • Deviations from the stated proposal request or approved budget requires the sponsor’s approval; and
  • Funds can be rescinded if not used for the purpose described in the grant proposal.

The following types of funding are handled through the Office of Sponsored Programs including:

  • Federal grants
  • Federal pass-through money to states
  • State agency grants
  • State or federal contracts
  • Private and corporate foundation grants
  • Professional and scholarly organizations

If you would like to apply for a foundation grant, please contact the OSPProgram Director Contracts and Foundation Grants for approval to proceed. This person coordinates foundation requests withInstitutional Advancement. Together, they coordinate requests from UVU so that foundations do not receive multiple, conflicting requests or jeopardize institutional objectives. Please understand that many local foundations have prior commitments with UVU and may not be available for faculty.


Gifts/Institutional Advancement.Gifts are defined as any money – including donations, endowments and bequests, property or other assets from private sources for which the donor does not retain any reversionary interest or cannot be expected to receive any material or preferential benefit from the act of a donation. Generally, funds received from private sources where deliverables are not required, are regarded as gifts. Gifts may include all forms of charitable contributions, including cash, stocks, pledges, planned gifts, real estate, and gifts-in-kind given to the University within UVU Foundation guidelines. Guidelines established by the IRS and by federal accounting standards assist in defining whether or not funds may be considered a gift. Gifts are handled through Institutional Advancements.

Note: The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) andInstitutional Advancementcoordinate their efforts in soliciting funds from private sources. No institutional personnel or students are authorized to conduct charitable fundraising activities on behalf of the institution without the full knowledge and prior approval of OSP (grants) or Development (gifts).

No individual, program, department, or office of UVU should engage in direct grant solicitation or fundraising activities from private or corporate sources. Such actions could jeopardize other fundraising activities at UVU as well as the responsible individuals standing at the University.



  1. Develop Funding Strategies

    Suggested strategies for finding funding sources:

    • Make alist of key words for searching in your area of interest; refine your list over time.
    • Get acquainted with several research sites in your field, bookmark them, and check them periodically; subscribe to email notifications and updates.
    • Be astute in determining what funders want to fund (match to their giving interests, geographic focus, type of support, etc.).
    • Be creative in finding ways to match what you want to achieve to what funding organizations want to fund. (Think in terms of outcomes.)
    • Search the specific sites of various federal funding agencies (,,,, etc.) for lists of current and pending funding. This approach can give you advanced awareness of upcoming programs so you can plan well in advance rather than waiting for the funding announcement to appear, often only giving you a month’s notice.
    • Network with other investigators as a good source of locating funding sources. Talk to others to increase your awareness of funding programs available and broaden your perspective about how you can shape your project to fit available funding sources. Networking can be done at an institutional level, as well as the state, national or international level. Professional organizations allow networking by bringing together researchers from around the state, country, and world to conferences and workshops.
    • Phone calls to state offices and agencies may be useful in learning what government funding is available in Utah. Some federal agencies have program officers who are willing to talk about available funding sources, particularly if you are trying to determine whether or not a particular funding program is suitable for your project.
    • Note: Do not contact any foundation directly to inquire about funding (including phone calls or emails to seek clarity regarding funding interests). Instead, contact UVU’sProgram Director of Contracts and Foundation Grants.
    • Read, read, read! Pay attention to who gets funding for what and from whom. Professional and organizational journals and newsletters often contain information about recently funded projects. Even the newspaper has articles on grants-funded projects.

  1. Find Funding Sources

    UVU subscribes to information databases for grants from federal, private and corporate foundation sources. These are only available to faculty and staff of UVU. Please contact us if you are interested in additional resources, desire to learn how to find available grant opportunities, or would like to obtain a password to access paid resources. If you or your department intend to apply for a grant, please fill out theNotification of Intent to Prepare a Grant Proposal (NOI) before you begin preparing a proposal. This will enable us to both coordinate and consolidate grant-writing efforts across campus.

    1. Internal Funding

      Internal funding can be a stepping-stone to establish and test a program, obtain preliminary data, and troubleshoot problems to prepare for submitting a proposal to external funding sources. TheOffice of Undergraduate Research sponsors many of these funding opportunities under Undergraduate Research and Creative Works which include GEL and SEED grants, the Presidential Fellowships Program and other sources.

      In addition, UVU Institutional Advancement offers aMerit Grant.

    2. Federal Funding– The system provides a centralized location for grant seekers to find and apply for competitive federal funding opportunities that are currently open for solicitation. This site also provides access to 26 federal grant-making agencies, and daily email notices customized to your interests.

      CFDA(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance) – This is the official publication of all grant programs available from federal agencies and organizations. This indexed web site includes notices of funding availability. To search: On the right side of the screen (in the light green area) under Find Programs type in a keyword such as literacy. It does not give deadlines, but it will give you specific opportunities, and you can then use their CFDA # to search on and find the full announcement and deadlines.

      Check Federal Agency Websites

        Search the specific sites of various funding agencies for lists of current and pending funding. This approach can give you advanced awareness of upcoming programs so you can plan well in advance rather than waiting for the funding announcement to appear, often only giving you a month’s notice. These agency sites include, but are far from limited to:
      • The U.S. Department of Education (DoEd) is a government agency that provides grants for projects that focus on enhancing education. The department funds projects that represent its mission, “to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”
      • The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a federal funding agency with various science and engineering grant opportunities “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense.”
      • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a part of the US Department of Health & Human sciences. This agency provides funding for biomedical research projects for scientists, physicians, and all others experienced in biomedical research.
      • The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) promotes excellence in the humanities and conveys the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.
      • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.
      • The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) promotes the welfare of wage earners, job seekers, and retirees; improve working conditions, advance opportunities for profitable employment, and assure work-related benefits and rights.
      • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contractors and grantees play a valuable role in helping to protect the health of all Americans and provide essential human services. HHS grants are provided to states, territories, tribes, and educational and community organizations.

      These websites, while all different, provide additional resources for funding searches and grant development. For instance:

      • Some websites provide both lists of currently open grant programs and of all existing programs (which generally offer competitions on a regular cycle). By seeing what programs may be upcoming, you can plan your grant well in advance. In fact, many federal grants competitions are held on an annual or periodic cycle. Those who receive funding start early.
      • Most federal grants websites provide access to the abstracts of recently funded proposals for specific programs. This can be helpful in understanding what kinds of topics or programs are being funded and in shaping your ideas about your project.
      • Many federal grants websites provide dates of upcoming webinars and training workshops for grant competitions that are recently open or about to be opened.
      • Some federal grant websites provide additional helps for grant writers, including lists of other sources of funding, written guides for grant writers, data on where funded grants have been located, etc. A few websites provide examples of funded proposals.
    3. Research Tools

      The following subscriptions are paid for by OSP and provide searchable grant opportunities to UVU faculty and staff only. ContactOSPfor login information and password.

      AASCU/GRC(American Association of State Colleges and Universities/Grants Resource Center – Provides notices about grant opportunities specific to public colleges and universities. (Pleasecontact usfor password information.) To search: After logging in, click on GrantSearch from the drop down menu. Under Select an Academic Category choose a topic (such as Education) and notice, the Select Academic Subjects choices will change depending on your academic category selection. Academic Subjects can be chosen by double-clicking the highlighted subject or clicking the Add button. Activity, Funding Sponsor and Deadline Months are optional fields. Scroll down to select Start Search. Note: This site offers other resources such as announcements and updates about important programs and a library of funded proposals that OSP may request for writers to use as examples.


      SPIN(Sponsored Programs Information Network) – Lists funding opportunities from both government agencies and private foundations. The SPIN website can be accessed automatically while on UVU’s campus. If you plan to search while off-campus, faculty or staff can contact usfor password information. This database offers a feature that will allow individuals to create customized automatic searches and receive daily or weekly notices based on specific keywords. To learn how to use this feature as well as site navigation, faculty and staff can create a profile and password. Once that has been approved, please you will be given access to the training videos located on the Events & Training tab (all training clips are under one minute).



      Foundation SearchProvides comprehensive fundraising information on non-profits and charities. It offers tools to search foundation giving, making it possible to locate grants by type, specific giving interests, subjects or geographic region. For access, please make an appointment with the OSPProgram Director of Contracts and Foundation Grants. You can request that a search be performed by OSP.


      We can provide you with training on how to most effectively use the University's databases. After you have done all you can do to locate viable funding options, if you are still unable to find opportunities that meet your needs, upon request (and as time allows), OSP can perform a custom search targeted to a general investigative field or a specific project idea. To get started with your custom funding search, contact your OSP Program Director and provide:

      • A brief summary detailing the nature of your project
      • A timeframe for when you need the funding
      • How much funding you need
      • Specifics that would be important to know
      • Focused and concise keywords, so that we can best match your research plans with available funding opportunities.

      Within approximately three weeks of your request, OSP will contact you to discuss available funding opportunities if any are found.


  1. Ensure the Project Qualifies

    1. Study the program solicitation to determine if it is a good fit

      Proposals are generally written in response to a program solicitation, a formal statement that invites competitive applications in a specific area to accomplish defined program objectives. The solicitation indicates the purpose of the program, the due date for proposal submission, the estimated amount of funds set aside for the competition, the estimated number of awards to be made, requirements for applications, evaluation criteria, and submission procedures. The following synonymous terms are commonly used by government agencies to describe proposal solicitations.

      • Request for Proposals (RFP)
      • Program Announcement (PA)
      • Request for Applications (RFA)
      • Broad Agency Announcements (BAA)
      • Solicitation for Grant Applications (SGA)

      The Principal Investigator (PI)/ Project Director (PD) has the responsibility to thoroughly review any solicitation under which they intend to submit a proposal. A PI/PD must be very familiar with the solicitation in order to submit a proposal that properly targets the sponsor objectives as outlined in the solicitation. TheProgram Solicitation Worksheetmay help you in reviewing and understanding a program solicitation.

    2. Consider requirements, limitations, feasibility, required expertise, and time commitment

      Scrutinize every detail of the requirements.

      • Does the program really fit your project?
      • Does the program place limitations on your project or its participants that you are not willing to which you are not willing to commit?
      • Is it feasible for you to prepare a proposal for this program in the time allowed?
      • Do you have the required expertise to meet the program’s expectations?
      • Do you have the time that will be needed to conduct this program successfully?

      Sometimes a funding program seems at first like a good fit for your project, but upon closer examination, is not. It is unwise to waste time applying for programs that do not truly fit your project. Foundations almost never fund outside their stated program purpose. Federal programs are required by law to adhere to their program solicitation. All grants are very competitive: know that if you are not selective about choosing appropriate funding opportunities, reviewers will be discerning about your project’s shortcomings and selective about the proposals that meet their expectations.

    3. Adjust the project to fit the requirements, if appropriate

      You will likely need to adjust or modify your initial thinking about the project to make it fit the program requirements. For example:

      • For some solicitations, you may need to scale down your project or focus on only a portion of the larger project you envision.
      • For some solicitations, you may need to shift your project’s focus a little to address the program’s purpose or priorities.
      • For some solicitations, you may need to broaden your project plan (i.e., to include program partners, to include named best practices, to include a broader participant base, to include additional aspects such as project dissemination, etc.).

    4. If the grant funding entity is a non-federal agency, private or corporate foundation, you must contact OSP for approval

      If you would like to apply for a non-federal grant, you must first contact theOSP Program Director of Contracts and Foundation Grants for approval to proceed. This person coordinates foundation requests withInstitutional Advancementthat solicits gifts for the institution. Together, they coordinate requests from UVU so that foundations do not receive multiple, conflicting requests or jeopardize institutional objectives.

      • Do not call, email, or speak with a foundation representative without permission.
      • Do not send a grant proposal or letter of inquiry to a foundation without permission.
      • If a foundation is cleared for you to apply to, you will receive notification that you are free to proceed with the request or inquiry.
      • You may also receive advice for approaching the foundation from the Director of Contracts and Foundation Grants.

      Remember – no individual, program, department, or office of UVU should engage in direct grant solicitation or fundraising activities from private or corporate sources. Such actions could jeopardize other fundraising activities at UVU as well as the responsible individuals standing at the University.

    5. If the grant funding entity is a government agency, you may contact the program officer directly

      Individuals, programs, departments, and offices may apply for government grants and contracts. While the Office of Sponsored programs will coordinate and submit requests, UVU employees are free to contact the representatives of federal funding agencies (called program officers for federal grants and a contracting officer’s representative for federal contracts) directly.

      • Contact a program officer if you have questions about your project’s fit with a funding program, about specific requirements of the solicitation, or about UVU’s eligibility.
      • Program officers of some agencies (NSF, NIH, and NEH) will talk with you about your ideas and give you suggestions about refining the project for a better proposal or about other more appropriate funding programs.
      • You can usually find the contact information for a program officer in the solicitation.
      • Most program officers give you the option to call or email them. Generally, email is the preferred mode of contact, at least initially.

    6. It can be helpful to review a funded application for a program before creating your own application

      Copies of awarded federal proposals are made available from various funding agencies upon request in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It is polite to request a copy of the proposal directly from the PI, however if impractical, each agency has a FOIA officer and contact information can generally be found on the agency website or from the agency public affairs office. OSP can also provide assistance in obtaining copies of funded proposals upon request. Plan ahead as this process takes approximately 3 weeks and may involve a fee from federal agencies. See, for example, the FOIA information at NSFand DoEd.