Skip to Main Content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Grants for Fire Departments

A LibGuide detailing information about applying for grants for you and/or your fire department.

Introduction to Grant Terminology

Every grant is different, but many use similar terminology. For anyone who doesn't normally work with grants, these terms can be unfamiliar and intimidating. We hope that the definitions here help you understand the grant offerings you're interested in.

Common Terms

Budget: "The financial plan for your grant, itemized to show breakdown of both income and expenses. Graphical representation can be helpful in presenting this information clearly."

Cost Sharing: "A method of "matching money" in which the grantee agrees to invest a certain sum or percentage of "in-kind" dollars into the project."

DUNS Number: "The Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System number, or "DUNS," is a nine-digit figure given by Dun and Bradstreet to applicant organizations and serves as a means of identifying those organizations and businesses. DUN's numbers are frequently required on federal grant forms."

Grant Seeker: "Person, school, district, etc. who is applying for the grant."

Grantee: "Any legal entity that receives an award and assumes responsibility for fiscal accountability for managing awarded funds, supervision of grant-supported activities, and submission of final reports."

Grantor/Grant Maker: "Agency, organization, etc. who is providing the grant."

Indirect Costs: "Overhead or administrative charges related to a project but not easily and separately identifiable; e.g., utilities, clerical, office space, accounting, library, and custodial services necessary for proper implementation of the project; usually assessed against the project as a predetermined rate established according to standard accounting procedures."

Letter of Inquiry/Intent (LOI): A brief letter outlining an organization's activities and its request for funding that is sent to a prospective donor in order to determine whether it would be appropriate to submit a full grant proposal. Many grant makers prefer to be contacted in this way before receiving a full proposal.

Need Statement: "The part of the grant in which you explain, using both qualitative and quantitative data, why you should be funded. Remember to outline your problems and give data to verify the problem areas. (also called justification)"

Narrative:  "The written portion of your grant proposal. The story of who, what, where, when, why and how. Every grant has at least 2 parts: a narrative and a budget. Often the grant guidelines will specify that your narrative may not exceed a certain page length. Always adhere to these instructions."

NOFA: "Notice of Funding Availability"

Proposal: "A written application, often accompanied by supporting documents, submitted to a foundation or corporate giving program in requesting a grant. Most foundations and corporations do not use printed application forms but instead require written proposals; others prefer preliminary letters of inquiry prior to a formal proposal. Consult published guidelines."

More Terminology Information

The definition on this page are all sourced from Grant Terminology at If you come across any other unfamiliar terms during your grant writing process, click the link to see if it is included in their list!