From the Department of “No Kidding:” Grants.gov Warns of Outages at High Service Period

Those of you who are working feverishly to finish Federal proposals by Monday should stop surfing the Internet and get back to your assignment, because Grants.gov has finally figured out (or admitted) what Seliger + Associates did five years ago. According to the post “High Submission Volume” from the Grants.gov blog, which is written with a voice somewhere between “press release” and “technical bulletin,”

There are 29 Grant Opportunities closing on Monday, April 27, 2009, including a large Recovery Act opportunity for NIH that is expected to receive an unprecedented number of applications. The submissions for these opportunities have already begun and will continue to grow as we move towards April 27.

(emphasis added).

Imagine Amazon announcing that you can’t buy books a week before Christmas, or Stubhub saying that you should wait until after the Superbowl to look for tickets and telling you to use their services when no one else is. Whoever is running Grants.gov probably don’t see the irony of announcing instability when the largest number of people are likely to use the system and that you can depend on the system when using it isn’t important. In his first post about Grants.gov, Isaac wrote:

[T]he real world deadline for Grants.gov submissions is actually two days in advance of the published deadline, since, unless there is a system meltdown, the funding agency is unlikely to give you any slack. So, if the upload gets screwed up, you’re generally screwed as well.

Now even the Grants.gov administrators have effectively acknowledged this. I wonder if RFP writers will eventually start including this caveat. Regardless, I’ll reiterate what I said in the first paragraph: if you’re working against a Monday deadline, stop shirking your duties and get that proposal uploaded!

EDIT: More entertaining news appeared this weekend. Grants.gov is supposed to be the central repository for all grant-related aspects of the federal government. But we’ve now learned that “[… S]elect programs may choose to use alternate systems to process grant applications during this heightened period of demand.” Remember: everything goes through Grants.gov. Unless it doesn’t.

In addition, Grants.gov must be getting the Santa Claus calls we’ve been getting, which Isaac discussed at the link, because the front page now says that “Grants.gov does not provide personal financial assistance. To learn where you may find personal help, check Government Benefits, Student Loans and Small Business Start-up Loans.”

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