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Small Grants Program 2022: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I need to pay a fee to complete the SAM registration/renewal process?

 A. SAM.gov is the official U.S. government website for entity registration.  Please note there is no cost to register.  Maintaining and renewing your registration is FREE OF CHARGE.  If you are asked to pay money to complete or renew your SAM.gov registration, be cautious. These messages are not from the Federal Government. You engage third party vendors at your own risk.

Q. Do I need banking information and a notarized letter to complete the SAM registration process?

A. No. The submission of this information is not required at this time and can significantly delay the registration process.

Q. If my project/program takes place in February 2023, can I still apply?

A. Projects must start before December 31, 2022 in order to be eligible. However, in some cases, organizations which are actively planning before December 31, 2022 for a project or event scheduled for early the following year may be eligible. Please direct case-specific questions to HelsinkiGrants@state.gov

Q. Can we apply for grant to cover costs that have occurred before the grant period?

A. Grants must be fully approved and signed before the project starts. Costs incurred prior to the start of the grant project period are not reimbursable.

Q. What expenses can be included in the budget?

A. Direct Costs, which may include:

  • Personnel and Fringe Benefits: Describe the wages, salaries, and benefits of temporary or permanent staff who will be working directly for the applicant on the program, and the percentage of their time that will be spent on the program.
  • Travel: Estimate the costs of travel and per diem for this program. If the program involves international travel, include a brief statement of justification for that travel.
  • Equipment: Describe any machinery, furniture, or other personal property that is required for the program, which has a useful life of more than one year (or a life longer than the duration of the program), and costs at least $5,000 per unit.
  • Supplies: List and describe all the items and materials, including any computer devices, that are needed for the program. If an item costs more than $5,000 per unit, then put it in the budget under Equipment.
  • Contractual: Describe goods and services that the applicant plans to acquire through a contract with a vendor.  Also describe any sub-awards to non-profit partners that will help carry out the program activities.
  • Construction
  • Other Direct Costs: Describe other costs directly associated with the program, which do not fit in the other categories. For example, shipping costs for materials and equipment or applicable taxes. All “Other” or “Miscellaneous” expenses must be itemized and explained.

Indirect Costs:

These are costs that cannot be linked directly to the program activities, such as overhead costs needed to help keep the organization operating.  If your organization has a Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate (NICRA) and includes NICRA charges in the budget, attach a copy of your latest NICRA. Organizations that have never had a NICRA may request indirect costs of 10% of the modified total direct costs as defined in 2 CFR 200.68.

“Cost Sharing” refers to contributions from the organization or other entities other than the U.S. Embassy. It also includes in-kind contributions such as volunteers’ time and donated venues.

Alcoholic Beverages:  Please note that award funds cannot be used for alcoholic beverages.

Q. When can we expect to hear about the decisions?

A. The U.S. Embassy plans to notify applicants by early April 2022 if they have been selected to submit a full grant application. All applicants will receive notification of the embassy’s funding decision by email.

Q. What information is recommended to be included in a good grant proposal?

A. It depends. The U.S. Embassy has worked with a broad range of partners on a highly diverse range of themes over the past several years. One unifying characteristic is the submission of a well-written proposal for a discrete project with well-defined budgets, audiences, goals, and methods to evaluate success.