By James D’Ambrosio

JamesProfile1TwitterDoug Sauer, CEO of the New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON), recently issued a memo to members with some welcome news: New York State has introduced new resources to streamline the grants process for nonprofits doing business with the state. New York State Grants Gateway, part of an effort by Gov. Cuomo to ease burdens on nonprofits, includes state agencies collaborating to create a uniform grants contract, making multi-year contracting a priority, and a statewide grants management system.


Here are three components of the new system:

1) GRANT OPPORTUNITY PORTAL: A comprehensive resource to locate grant opportunities with state agencies all in one place. Open to the public, agencies are not required to be registered users. It’s suggested that new users begin by using the ‘Browse’ and ‘Search’ features, allowing you to sign up for e-mail notification(s) when the grants you specify become available, eliminating the need to continually check back.

2) GRANTEE DOCUMENT VAULT: A service for existing grantees and potential applicants, it’s an online repository to store key agency information in one secure location for use by all state agencies, eliminating the need to repeatedly furnish the same documents for the same programs year after year. It’s recommended to first upload those documents you’re most frequently asked for by agencies you contract with.

To use the vault, you register as a user and provide information for a delegated administrator to manage the account. Accounts require a registration form and accompanying organizational chart. The form must be signed, notarized and mailed to Gateway AdministratorsNote: Through July 31, the state is exclusively processing applications from agencies with active state contracts; nonprofits without state contracts can still apply, but they won’t be processed until after July 31.

3) PREQUALIFICATION: This is a way for nonprofits to more directly interact with state agencies prior to competing for  contracts, providing an opportunity to make adjustments before entering into a competitive bid. Once registered with Gateway, nonprofits can upload key documents and complete an online Prequalification Questionnaire  inquiring about organizational capacity and integrity. Notably, nonprofits have to prequalify just once every three years, keeping information current during that time.


More detailed information is available to help you get started:



3)Visit, click on “Grantees” at the top, then scroll down and click on “Questions and Documents” on the lower left.



a) What do you think of Grants Gateway? b) How might it positively impact your organization?

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  10. The process is so unbelievably complex and daunting that I’ve spent weeks trying to navigate it. I’m on the board of a small local volunteer fire department, and we don’t have the resources or expertise to get through it. Very frustrating. Wish I knew of an expert grantsperson who could help us — especially one who works pro bono!

    • Dear Mr. Phelps,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on this blog post. I can certainly understand your frustration — grant-seeking can be very difficult, especially if resources are limited. That said, there are some resources out there to help you get some pro-bono support:

      1) You can post an ad for a p/t volunteer grant writer, a great site for recruiting volunteer help 2) Depending on where you live, contact the nearest chapter of the Association of Fund-raising Professionals. Their may be someone who has the time to volunteer or is looking to build credentials. 3) Contact local colleges or universities — perhaps you can offer an internship with a small stipend — you might find a young, smart, motivated person to help you.

      These are just a few things that come to mind. Good luck — and be persistent.

      Best Regards James D’Ambrosio

      • Thanks very much for the tips, kind of you to answer! I’ll follow up, and let you know how we make out. Happy holidays…

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