Funding Insights

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Apply for USAID Grants

Curious about USAID grants? Wondering how to make a real impact? Explore our step-by-step guide on how to apply for USAID grants, unraveling the secrets to successful funding applications. Empower your projects and drive positive change – start your journey with USAID grants today!

How to Apply for USAID Grants

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grants are crucial to U.S. foreign assistance, aiming to support initiatives that foster sustainable development, humanitarian aid, and positive global change. These grants address various challenges, from promoting economic growth and health to addressing environmental issues and advancing democracy. USAID grants play a pivotal role in aiding organizations and individuals dedicated to making a positive impact on a global scale.

About USAID Grants

USAID grants, provided by the United States Agency for International Development, are crucial in supporting diverse projects and initiatives worldwide. These initiatives span various sectors, including Development and Democracy, focusing on economic growth, democratic governance, and human rights. Additionally, they address Humanitarian Assistance, providing emergency relief and disaster preparedness training during crises. The scope extends to Global Health, combating infectious diseases, enhancing maternal and child health, and strengthening healthcare systems. Furthermore, USAID grants tackle challenges related to Environment and Climate Change, emphasizing climate change mitigation, sustainable development, and natural resource conservation.

There are different types of USAID grants, each serving specific purposes. Cooperative Agreements involve partnerships with USAID to achieve shared goals, often featuring co-funding and joint implementation. Grants are awarded to entities such as non-profit organizations, universities, and businesses to execute projects aligned with USAID objectives. Contracts come into play for procuring goods and services required for USAID projects.

Depending on specific criteria, eligibility for USAID grants extends to various entities, including US-based non-profit organizations, educational institutions, private companies, and individuals. Projects must address a development challenge and align with USAID’s strategic priorities.

The application process typically requires the submission of a proposal outlining project details, budgets, timelines, and the implementing organization’s qualifications. USAID experts review these proposals based on merit, feasibility, and impact potential criteria. Selected projects receive funding and undergo close monitoring throughout their implementation.

The impacts of USAID grants are substantial, significantly improving lives and livelihoods in developing countries. These grants are pivotal in reducing poverty, strengthening democracy, improving health outcomes, and safeguarding the environment.


Assess your eligibility by using our Self-Screening Questionnaire. Ascertain the suitability of your project for DIV funding by examining our Annual Program Statement and exploring the profiles of past and current grantees within DIV’s portfolio.

Familiarize yourself with the distinct characteristics of each stage of DIV funding and determine which aligns best with your project’s objectives. It is crucial to acknowledge our three fundamental principles: (a) rigorous evidence of impact, (b) cost-effectiveness, and (c) a viable pathway to scale and sustainability, either through the market or the public sector. DIV evaluates each applicant against these principles, tailored to the specific stage or type of funding being sought.

How to Apply for USAID Grants

Step 1: Develop your application

Compose your application in MS Word using our provided sample application form, inclusive of samples for all Stages and Evidence grants.

Step 2: Submit through our dedicated online application portal

Create an account on the DIV application portal to work on and monitor your application progress. Applications submitted through any means other than the online portal will not undergo review. You can easily transfer your responses from the draft created in Step 1 to the portal.

All applications received via the DIV application portal undergo evaluation by the DIV team. Following the initial review, applications are either advanced to the due diligence stage (Step 3) or declined. Applicants typically receive feedback within 2 to 3 months after applying.

Portal guidelines:

– The portal functions optimally on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari.

– Your application will be saved automatically and continuously as you progress.

– The application format supports plain text only.

– Once submitted, you cannot make further edits to the application.

– Each project is limited to one application.

Step 3: Following the Preliminary Evaluation – Due Diligence

Applicants who successfully pass the initial review proceed to the due diligence stage. In this phase, applicants can furnish additional details on their proposal, allowing the DIV team to better understand the proposed solution. The DIV team conducts further interviews, solicits supplementary materials, contacts references or collaborators, consults with other USAID or external experts, and gathers any additional information required to thoroughly evaluate the application.

The due diligence process typically ranges from 2 to 5 months, influenced by factors such as the technical complexity of the proposal.

How to Apply for USAID Grants

Step 4: Post-Due Diligence – Negotiation and Finalization

Upon accumulating adequate information, the DIV team convenes a Decision Panel. If the Panel recommends funding, the applicant receives an official “Notice of Intent to Award.” Once earmarked for funding, applicants negotiate milestones and finalize the award terms with USAID.

Alongside submitting various materials and fulfilling necessary Agency documents, a crucial aspect of this phase involves negotiating the project milestones that shape the award disbursements. DIV disburses funding solely upon achieving specific results and milestones.

The negotiations for milestones and finalizing the award typically span 2 to 3 months.

Step 5: Obtain DIV Funding!

Upon successful selection for DIV funding, contingent on funding availability and compliance with U.S. government procurement regulations, USAID will confer the grant.

The timeline from the application submission to the award’s finalization typically spans 6 to 12 months.

Conclusion on How to Apply for USAID Grants

Securing funding through USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) involves a systematic and multi-stage process. From eligibility verification and project preparation to due diligence, negotiation, and eventual funding reception, applicants navigate a well-defined pathway. Key principles of DIV funding include rigorous evidence of impact, cost-effectiveness, and a viable pathway to scale and sustainability. While the timeline from application to award finalization may range from 6 to 12 months, successful applicants benefit from a strategic approach that aligns with DIV’s core principles.

Key Takeaways:

1. Eligibility and Fit: Prioritize reviewing DIV’s eligibility criteria and ensure your project aligns with the program’s core principles.


2. Strategic Preparation: Invest time drafting a well-prepared application using the provided sample form and submitting it through the online portal for efficient processing.

3. Due Diligence Matters: Passing the initial review leads to due diligence, a crucial stage for additional information. Be ready to engage with the DIV team and provide comprehensive insights into your proposal.

4. Negotiation and Finalization: If recommended for funding, applicants enter negotiation and finalization, focusing on defining project milestones essential for award payments.

5. Timely Submission: The entire process, from application submission to funding reception, spans 6 to 12 months. Plan accordingly and adhere to submission timelines.

By precisely navigating these steps and aligning with DIV’s principles, applicants increase their chances of securing funding for innovative projects.


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