FAQs



Frequently Asked Questions 


NEW: How-To Instructions for New Applicants

Applying for grants for the first time
Individual Artists
Organizations
Completing a SFAC and GFTA grant application
Can I save my work and come back to it later?
Can I use formatting like bold, italics, and bullets in my application answers?
Is there a limit to how long my answers can be?
Can I use html formatting in my application narrative?
How do I save the answers I have already completed in the application?
I accidently submitted my application. What do I do?
The work I did is missing? What happened?
Can I print my application?

User Profiles
Can more than one person be associated with an Organizational Profile?
I am a grant writer working for multiple organizations. Do I have to register more than once in the GMS?
Can I use the same password for multiple user accounts?
Can I change the user information for my Organizational Profile's primary account?
Will SFAC and GFTA staff review my application and provide feedback for my draft application? 
Can I submit my application and support materials as hard copies via mail or fax?
Can I include hyperlinks for the support material requirements?
Can I make changes to my Organizational Profile?
Will I need to create a new user name and organizational profile every year?
Will grant review panelists be able to view the support materials found in my Organizational Profile?
Is there a preferred internet browser that works best with Grants Online?
Can I skip around between sections in the application?
How are grant applications reviewed and scored?
Can I copy and paste my responses in to the grant application online?
Can my organization apply for more than one SFAC and GFTA's grant program?
How do I get a copy of the grant application?
Can my organization apply for a grant from SFAC and GFTA?

Submitting an Application
Before submitting your grant application
What happens to your application?
Storing your data

Usernames and Passwords
My username and password are not working

Uploading Files
Support Materials
Cloud Storage
Specifications

Why does my work session keep timing out?
 
 

 Applying for grants for the first time

To apply to one or more grants with SFAC and GFTA, you must create a profile in our Grants Management System (“GMS”). Your profile will allow you to apply for grants with SFAC and GFTA from year to year. To register, click the Sign Up button to complete the form. You will create a User Name and password that you will use to access current and past grant applications each year.

Individual Artists
You must register as an individual user.

Organizations
If you are registering on behalf of an organization for a SFAC and GFTA grant, you will first set-up your individual user account followed by completing an organization profile in the GMS before you will be able to access any open applications.
 
For other funding opportunities, please visit our websites San Francisco Arts Commission and San Francisco Grants for the Arts.

Completing a SFAC and GFTA grant application


Can I save my work and come back to it later?
Yes, you can work on your application over time. GMS will save your work so you can sign out and come back to it at another time. Make sure to save your work after each section.

Can I use formatting like bold, italics, and bullets in my application answers?
If you decide to work on your answers in Microsoft Word, or another word processing software, before pasting the answers in to the Grants Online system, do not bold, italicize, underline, bullet, number, indent or use any other formatting options. Formatting does not transfer into the GMS well and will cause your text to become illegible. 

Is there a limit to how long my answers can be?
Yes. Pay attention to the character tracker that appears below each narrative box of the application. The character count in the GMS includes spaces and punctuation. SFAC and GFTA require that all application answers fit within this character count limit. Be clear and brief in your answers. The panelists will appreciate your clarity. 

Can I use html formatting in my application narrative?
No. Do not use html formatting in your narrative. If you use html in the narrative text, your application will include stray symbols that will make it hard for the panelists to review your application.

How do I save the answers I have already completed in the application?
The recently redesigned user interface in the GMS saves your work automatically as you make edits to the application. However, we recommend you click 'Save' after each section to save your work.

I accidently submitted my application. What do I do?
Please contact us.

The work I did is missing? What happened?
If you return to your application or go to another section and you cannot see any data, the issue might be one of the following:
  1. Your computer may have cached an older version of the page, meaning that your computer saved a snapshot of the page and it has not yet been updated. You can update the page manually by holding down the “Shift” button on your keyboard while clicking the “Refresh” or “Reload” button in your browser. This action forces the system to retrieve data that was saved successfully in the database and bring it back to the text boxes in the application.
  2. You are not logged in to the system. If your Internet connection is disrupted, the system will automatically log you out when you attempt to save work, preview the page, or move to another section of your application. If this is the problem, return to the Welcome Page and log in to the system, then return to the page where you left off. If you saved your work, the data will reappear.
  3. You have blocked cookies. GMS requires cookies. If your cookies are blocked, you must unblock them in order to allow access to application content. If you have purchased software that specifically blocks cookies, such as CookiePal, you must disable this software in order to allow cookies for the GMS to work correctly.
Can I print my application?
 Yes, clicking the Print Icon allows you to print a hard copy of your complete application, or individual pages. The Print Icon can be found in the My Data tab. To the right of the application you wish to print, you will find a printer icon. We strongly recommend that you keep a printed or digital copy of your application after you have submitted it to SFAC and GFTA for review.
 

User Profiles

Can more than one person be associated with an Organizational Profile?
Yes, more than one Registered User can be associated with an Organization. This enables multiple Users to work on a grant application. To add non-Primary Users to your account, click on the person icon on the top right hand side of the screen to access the My Account screen. Click the 'Manage Users' option. Next, select Add Users and enter the required information for that non-Primary User. An email will be sent to that User with instructions on how to activate their account. 
 
I am a grant writer working for multiple organizations. Do I have to register more than once in the GMS?
Yes, it is recommended that independent grant writers and consultants working with various organizations create separate, unique Usernames that can easily identify each client organization. eg: JoeSymphony, JoeBallet, JoeOpera
 
Can I use the same password for multiple user accounts?
Yes.
 
Can I change the user information for my Organizational Profile's primary account?
Yes. 
To edit your account info: Log in, then click on the person icon on the top right hand side of the screen. In the My Account screen, you can edit your user contact info and organizational info. You can also approve non-Primary Users (if applicable), and review your history log, showing the account's log-in activity.
 
Will SFAC and GFTA staff review my application and provide feedback for my draft application? 
No, Please refer to the SFAC and GFTA Grants Program Calendar for review deadlines.
 
Can I submit my application and support materials as hard copies via mail or fax?
No. All grant applications must be completed in the GMS. Please contact SFAC and GFTA if you need any assistance in converting your materials to an accepted file format.
 
Can I include hyperlinks for the support material requirements?
Yes. Hyperlinks to websites, programs, videos, etc. should be submitted in the text box.
 
Can I make changes to my Organizational Profile?
Yes. We encourage you to periodically update your Organizational Profile, especially when changes have occurred among your personnel. At a minimum, your Organizational Profile should be updated on an annual basis. 

Will I need to create a new user name and organizational profile every year?
No, once you have created a User Name and Organizational Profile, the information remains in the GMS until such time that you request that SFAC and GFTA deactivate the account.
 
Will grant review panelists be able to view the support materials found in my Organizational Profile?
No. Panelists will only have access to any support materials you include in the section titled 'Support Materials' of each application. 
 
Is there a preferred internet browser that works best with Grants Online?
We recommend downloading Mozilla's Firefox, Safari, or Google Chrome. All are free internet browsers which work great with the GMS.

Can I skip around between sections in the application?
Yes, Grants Online has recently redesigned their user interface to include a navigation bar on the left hand side of screen. Each section of the applications is linked in this side bar. We recommend that you save each section as you make edits before you skip to another section.
 
How are grant applications reviewed and scored?
Grant applications are reviewed and scored by a panel through the GMS. The panel utilizes the SFAC Scoring Rubric to determine how well the organization or project aligns with SFAC strategic goals and priorities. Please review the scoring criteria, available on the SFAC website, for what the specific criteria are for each grant category. Applicants are invited to attend the panel review dates. The date and time for these reviews will be emailed to you in advance so that you can make arrangements to attend. At the end of the panel review day, scores are tallied. Funding decisions are not finalized until the Commission approves the award amounts.
 
Can I copy and paste my responses in to the grant application online?
You may compose your answers in another word processing program like Microsoft Word, but we strongly recommend first transferring this text into a text-only utility like Notepad before pasting it into the grant form. This will delete hidden formatting so that the text will show up clearly in the application form.
 
Can my organization apply for more than one SFAC and GFTA's grant program?
Your organization may be eligible to apply to more than one grant program. Please see the SFAC and GFTA Grants Guidelines for restrictions. 

How do I get a copy of the grant application?
SFAC and GFTA uses an online grants management program for all grant programs. Returning users should use their user name and password to access current grant opportunities. New applicants must create a user account to access and submit SFAC and GFTA grant applications. Mailed, faxed, or emailed applications will not be accepted.
 
Can my organization apply for a grant from SFAC and GFTA?
Please see the SFAC and GFTA Grants Guidelines for eligibility requirements. Guidelines are reviewed and updated annually and can be found on the SFAC and GFTA website.

 


Submitting an Application

Before submitting your grant application
Review each part of the application to make sure that all required questions have been answered. Make sure that there are no spelling or text errors and that all the information is accurate to the best of your knowledge. Make any corrections necessary in the online application. The GMS will automatically save your changes whenever a change is made, but we recommend you save your work before moving onto a different section. Once you are satisfied with your application and all uploaded support materials, click the 'Submit' button at the end of the application. Your information will be sent directly to SFAC or GFTA and you will immediately receive an email confirming that the application has been successfully received.
 
What Happens to Your Application
SFAC or GFTA will automatically receive your grant application once you click the 'Submit' button at the end of the application. You will receive an email confirming that the application has been received. At this point, you will no longer be able to change your application. Your application status will appear as 'Received' and you may not edit your application in any way. You will be able to print a copy of your application from a PDF file at any time.
 
Storing Your Data
One of the many benefits of this online grant application is that once you complete an application, all your data will be stored. You can easily access information submitted in earlier applications as well as support materials that have been uploaded in previous years.
 

Usernames and Passwords

You assigned yourself a username and password when you first created a profile in SFAC and GFTA's GMS . Use this username and password to access ALL SFAC and GFTA grant applications. If you forget your username and password, please contact us. You cannot change your username once your account is created.
 
My username and password are not working
Make sure that you have correctly spelled your username and password, using both capital and lowercase letters. The system is case sensitive. 

I forgot my password.

On the Log In page of the web application there is a 'forgot password' function that will email you with instructions on how to reset your password. Password format requirements can be found on the Sign Up tab on the top right hand corner of the Log In page web.
 

Uploading Files

Grants Online offers a seamless uploading workflow directly within the application. To upload files the user will:
  1. Navigate to the form titled 'Support Materials.'
  2. You can then Drag & Drop files or click the Select Files button to add files to this section.
  3. Repeat step 2 until all of your files are successfully uploaded.

Grants Online allows users to upload files ranging from images, audio, and documents. All of your files will be stored in the cloud with instant streaming for videos and audio files.

Specifications

Images:
  • jpg, jpeg, gif, bmp, png, tif are allowable file types.
  • bmp and tif files will NOT work properly in the GMS.
  • %u200BSFAC applicants: %u200BPlease see the supporting materials section in the grant instructions for more information on submitting images.
Documents:
  • doc, docx, txt, xls, xlsx, pps, ppt, pptx, pdf
  • All documents will need to be downloaded to view. The user will need third party software to open documents.
  • Grants Online recommends accepting the PDF format since its is the most versatile file type and can be opened directly in the browser after downloading.
  • %u200BSFAC applicants: %u200BPlease see the supporting materials section in the grant instructions for more information about submitting documents.
Audio/Video:
  • aac, mp3, mpa, ra, wav, wma, eps
  • All audio files are converted to mp3
  • SFAC applicants: %u200BPlease see the supporting materials section in the grant instructions for more information about submitting audio/video clips. SFAC requires applicants to provide links to audio/video clips. Do not upload these files to the online application.

 
Why does my work session keep timing out?
As a security precaution, this system includes an automatic time-out feature which will periodically require you to confirm that you are still using the system. After 20 minutes of inactivity, this feature will count down from five minutes. If five minutes elapses without your confirmation, the system will automatically log you out.

 

 NEW: How-To Instructions For New Applicants

Review this page in its entirety, prior to signing up for a new SFAC or GFTA user account. You may wish to have these How-To Instructions open in a separate browser tab or window for reference while completing the Sign Up process. Please refer to our FAQ page as well.

Before you begin, please note the following:
·         A user account may only be created by an authorized representative of the applicant organization. 
·         While this is a brand new system, if you have created a username for another Go Grants system like the NEA or the CAC, you must create a different username when starting with SFAC or GFTA.
·         Account information should be reflective of the applicant organization or individual artist, and not external parties, such as a fiscal sponsor or contracted grant writer.
 
I. User Registration
You will need to create an account at sf.culturegrants.org in order to apply to either or both SFAC and GFTA grants. You only need to register once; once your account is created, you will be able to use it for future applications.
  1. Go to sf.culturegrants.org. Mouse over to the upper right corner and click on “Sign up.”
  2. A page of instructions (Sign Up: User Information [1/3]) will appear, with fields for you to complete below the text. Fill in the rest of the fields with your contact information.
  3. For the First and Last Name fields type in the name of the authorized person responsible for submitting the grant and communicating with our agencies on behalf of your organization of your organization. If you are applying as an individual artist, use your name.
  4. Create a username and password for the account. While in the future you’ll be able to change the password, email and First and Last names, you will not be able to change the username.
TIP: Make a generic username for the account, something like “[name of org] program” or “[name of org] development. Do not use the same username that you’ve used in other Go Grants systems (NEA, CAC, etc.). If you want to use the same username, please add “SFAC” or “GFTA” to the end of the username. Please note that the password:
  • Must be a minimum of 8 characters and is case sensitive
  • Must have at least 1 numeric character
  • Must have 1 uppercase letter
  • Must have 1 special character (e.g. @, !, or *)
  1. At the bottom of this section, answer Yes or No.
  • Individual Artists: be sure to select NO in response to the question “Would you like to associate this user account with an organization.” This will prompt the system to recognize you as an individual and allow you to access the Individual Artist Commission and the WritersCorps Teaching Artist in Residence applications.
  • Organizations: select YES in response to the question “Would you like to associate this user account with an organization.
  1. If you don’t have a City Vendor Number, please leave blank.
  2. Drag the slider at the bottom of the page to prove you’re a sentient lifeform.
  3. Hit the Submit button
  4. If you’re an individual artist and created an account that is not associated with an organization, continue to the next step. If you created a user account associated with an organization, skip this section and go to Organization Registration.
  5. Finally, you’ll be taken to the last page in the registration process (Sign Up: Terms and Conditions [3/3]). The Agree to the End User Terms and Conditions are the terms set by GO:Grants/WESTAF . These terms are not by SFAC, GFTA or the City. We have to accept the same terms and conditions. Hit the “I Agree” button.
  6. You’ll be taken back to the Sign-in page; enter your credentials and log-in. If you forgot your password, follow the Forgot your password? Link to recover a lost username or password.
  II. Organization Registration Once you’ve created your individual user account, and have associated this user account to an organization, you will need to provide some relevant information about the organization. Please read the online instructions carefully. If you’re an individual artist, please skip this section and go to the next.
  1. Select the organization role. All applicants must select Distributor/Direct Receiver.
  • If you have a fiscal sponsor, you will be able to provide your fiscal sponsor’s information in the application form itself.
  • You must be a 501(c)(3) organization based in San Francisco or you must have a San Francisco-based fiscal sponsor
  1. Do not fill in your FEIN number. Please leave this field blank
  2. For your Organization Name, please enter the legal name as registered with the IRS, as you’re registered on your incorporation papers with the Secretary of State.
  • If your organization is a program, department, or line item in the budget of a larger organization, give the larger organization’s name, followed by “dba” (doing business as) then your program or department’s name.
  • If your organization has a name you use publicly that you market your activities under that differs from the legal name, please use the same “dba” format.
  1. Enter your organization’s primary address in Address 1. This should be the organization’s physical address. While the mailing address you list in the application can be a P.O. Box, your primary address must be a San Francisco street address.
  2. The remaining fields are self-explanatory.
  3. Hit the Validate & Submit button; the system will take a few seconds to process.
  4. Finally, you’ll be taken to the last page in the registration process (Sign Up: Terms and Conditions [3/3]) The Agree to the End User Terms and Conditions are the terms set by GO:Grants/WESTAF. These terms are not by SFAC, GFTA or the City. We have to accept the same terms and conditions. Hit the “I Agree” button.
  5. You’ll be taken back to the Sign-in page; enter your credentials and log-in. If you forgot your password, follow the Forgot your password? Link to recover a lost username or password.
  III. Logging in and Managing Your Account Menu Bar
  • My Account: To update and manage your account, click on the person/user icon in the upper right corner next to Logout.
    • Once you’re on the My Account or My Organization page, you can update your individual user or organization information (email address and password). Click the “Save” button on the bottom of the page.
    • Organizations: In most cases, the creation of a single user account (a primary account) will be sufficient for your organization, with one username and secure password shared across ay agency staff requiring access
    • Although a singular user account is recommended, some organizations may find it necessary to have more than one staff member to work on applications or reports. If you believe that additional individuals from your organization may be necessary, please first inquire with SFAC or GFTA staff. 
TIP:  You cannot edit certain fields on the individual and organization registration pages after sign-up. These locked fields appear grayed out with a lock icon on the page.

Menu Bar: The Dashboard
When you log-in as a registered user, you will be taken to the Dashboard, which has two tabs: My Data and Open Applications. This screen allows you to navigate the different applications in progress with SFAC and GFTA. Grant programs are sorted by agency.
  • Open Applications tab will show you all available applications that you as an individual or as an organization are eligible to apply. My Data tab will list any grant applications you have already started or have submitted.
  • Locate the grant program you are applying to, and hit the Apply button. You will automatically be taken to the grant application page.
  • The Dashboard will also show your application status.
  • Shared:Community Investments:NEW_Grants:Grants Acquisition:Technical Assistance:workshop GMS information:GMS screem shot materials:Dashboard application icons right hand.pngThere are several ways to access your application and supporting materials from the Dashboard before, during or after you’ve submitted. Click on My Data tab and check out the row of icons to the right side of the grant application status.
  • To view specific forms in the application, or change the information on the application (address, phone, website), click the first icon (stack of papers) and jump to the form within the application.
  • To view your support materials, click on the second icon (landscape image).
  • To download your support materials, click on the third icon (arrow down).
  • To view a grant application comment, click on the fourth icon (speech bubble).
  • To print hard copy of the application, click on the fifth icon (printer).
  IV. Eligibility checks
  1. Grants for the Arts
  • You will first be asked whether or not your organization currently receives General Operating Support from GFTA. Reply Yes or No, and hit the Save & Validate button.
    On the next screen, hit submit. You will then get an acknowledgment message, directing you to the My Data tab. This tab is to the left of the Open Applications tab, in the upper left of the screen, immediately under the City seal and the big word Dashboard.
  • If you answered Yes, the General Operating Support application will appear under the My Data tab on your dashboard.
  • If you answered No, you will now see Eligibility. Click that link; it will take you to a page with a series of questions. The answers to these questions will determine your eligibility. Answer the questions, and hit the Next button. You will get a message that lets you know whether or not you are eligible.
  • If you are not, you will see instructions to contact GFTA staff. If you are, you will be told you are. Hit the Save and Validate button. On the next screen, hit Submit.
  • On the My Data tab, you will now see the FY18 General Operating Support Application.
    Click on the link, and you will be taken to the application form.
  1. San Francisco Arts Commission
  • In the Eligibility section you will be asked a series of questions. The answers to these questions will determine your eligibility. Answer the questions, and hit the Next button.
  • You can proceed with filling out the rest of the application sections. Once your application is submitted, your application status will remain as pending until the Eligibility section is verified by the SFAC staff.
  V. The Application After you hit the Apply button, you will be taken to the grant application page.
  • You may see that some of the information is filled out. Required fields that have been filled out will have green check marks. Those that haven’t been filled out will have red exclamation marks letting you know that you need to enter in data.
  • Fill out the page. Once you’re satisfied with your answers, hit the Save button. To move to the next page, hit the Next button.
  • Continue to fill out the rest of the forms, taking note of the character count for each section. 
  • All grant applications will become read only after the deadline. Please make sure you hit Submit before the deadline date!
TIP: Character count is listed for each question, where applicable. Character count in the GO Grant system includes spaces and punctuation. (An online character count tool is http://www.charactercountonline.com/)
TIP: Draft your answers in another word processing program like Microsoft Word before you start the application. We strongly recommend removing any formatting in the document or first transferring this text into a text-only utility like Notepad (PC) or TextEdit (Mac) before pasting it into the grant form. This will delete hidden formatting like website links and insure the proper capture of your text.
TIP: Easily navigate through the pages of your grant application using the table of contents located on the left side of the page. Also, the system now auto saves your data 10 seconds after you stop typing but save each page often just in case.
TIP: Need to navigate back to grant applications? From any page, click the Dashboard on the top menu bar.
TIP: Save each page often! Click the Save button at the bottom of each page.
  • Budgets Tables: GO Grant system budget tables are set up to auto calculate. Hit the tab button to move through each cell. Help text will appear if you hover over the informationicon.
  • Grant Plans : For Gran Plan tables, keep sentences succinct. Note character count for each cell. Cell boxes can be expanded for better viewing. Help text will appear if you hover over the information icon.  
  • Uploads: To upload directly within the application, navigate to the form titled “Supporting Materials.”
  • This form allows you to upload images and documents. Do not upload video or audio files although you can include audio/video links.
  • Before you upload any files, please title each document (.pdf or .doc) or image file (.jpg, or .png) correctly.
    • Document file: [Name of Org/Individual_FileName.pdf]. If you’re an individual artist, make sure you list Last Name first followed by First Name.
    • Image file: [Name of Org/Individual_01.jpg)]. Number should refer to the work sample you uploaded and described in the online system.
  • Upload support materials in two ways—by either the drag and drop functionality from your computer, or clicking on the green Select files button. When you do that, the upload window will appear, and you can choose the file you want to upload—either one file or multiple files at once.
  • Click save changes.
  • Uploaded files appear as thumbnails.
  • Keep track of how much you’re uploading using the upload quota visual representation. You can also see how much storage you have in the GO Grant system.  
TIP: If you are applying to multiple grants, you can access and upload supporting materials from other grants.
TIP: SFAC and GFTA have different DataArts funder reports. If you are applying to both agencies, please make sure you upload the correct funder report.

VI. Demographic Survey (SFAC grants) To better serve our communities and maintain our commitment to cultural equity, SFAC is collecting demographic data about our grant applicants.
  • This demographic survey is a work in progress.  
  • Any data you provide will not be seen by panelists or used in the evaluation of your application. Instead, it will be used to evaluate and inform outreach and technical assistance strategies for SFAC staff. Thank you for your participation.
  VII. Certification Page
  • This certification page confirms that all the data and attachments inputted in the application is accurate to the best of your knowledge.
  • An authorized user from the organization and/or individual artist must “sign” this section by typing in a name and checking off a box and dating it.
  • This is the final form you must complete. Click Save and Validate.
  VIII. Validate and Submit
  1. When you land on the Validate & Submit page the system will automatically begin validating all of your data and check if any required fields are missing data.
  2. If any required information has not been completed it will show up as an error. Click on the hyperlink to be taken back to a page and add the required information. You can add the missing data, fill out the field, or delete text. Save the form again and jump directly back to the Validate and Submit form by going to the navigation bar on the left of the screen.
  3. Lastly, if your application validates successfully, and you are satisfied with your application and all the uploaded materials, click the green Submit button at the end of the application.
  4. The system will pop up a notice and let you know that your application was successfully submitted.
  5. Your information will be sent directly to SFAC and you will immediately receive an email confirming that the application has been successfully received.
  6. All grant applications will become read only after the deadline. Please make sure you hit Submit before the deadline date!
  IX. After You Submit the Application
  1. You will be directed to the My Data tab on the Dashboard.
  2. You will receive an email from noreply@culturegrants.org confirming that the application has been received.
  • At this point, you will no longer be able to make any changes to your SFAC or GFTA application. The application will be in read only mode; you can still open the application to view, print, or download. See Menu: Dashboard section.
  • All GFTA grant applications will stay closed. Grant application status will be in Received.
  • SFAC grants will also stay closed but:
    • The application status will be in Received (Eligibility Pending).
    • If you would like to make any changes to the application BEFORE the deadline, please contact the program officer who oversees the grant.  The program officer will provide instructions.
    • Sometime after the deadline, you will receive another email confirming whether your grant eligibility has been approved or not. The application status will appear as either Received or Ineligible.
  X. Read Only Status If you have submitted your application, or if a deadline has passed, your application will become read-only. Your application is read-only in 3 ways:
  • On the Dashboard My Data tab of the application, you’ll have a lock symbol next to the name
  • In your application you’ll have a red read-only icon in the top right corner
  • Fields within the application will not be editable.