Who is SAM and What’s the Big Deal?
Who is SAM and What’s the Big Deal?

If you’ve submitted a federal grant application within the past year and a half, you’re likely familiar with Uncle SAM (yes, pun intended). The System for Award Management (SAM) is the overarching federal procurement system, and having an active registration in SAM is an essential component of federal grant seeking. (This applies to cooperative agreements as well.)

Among other elements, SAM encompasses the former Central Contractor Registry (CCR). We first described the migration from CCR to SAM in August 2012. At the time, we reported that the migration would largely occur behind the scenes, and with the exception of change in business circumstances, applicants could hang tight while their profile migrated.

Well—gulp—we were misled. We found out the hard way that proactivity is indeed required for a successful migration. A recent client was not aware of a glitch in the migration process, resulting in a rejection of a multi-million dollar application. Yikes.

Here’s what you need to know: Despite the convincing language on Uncle SAM’s website that former CCR registrants “do not need to do anything in SAM at this time,” you must, in fact, be proactive to ensure that your registration is active. Start here to search for your entity. If there are “no records found,” head straight to the Help Desk at 866-606-8220 (M-F, 8A-8P EST). While there may be a long wait time, it’s worth it since there have been multiple instances when the search bar hasn’t uncovered an active record. (If you’re pursuing federal grants for the first time, start here.)

Once your account has been established (or uncovered) in SAM, confirm its status here. Most importantly, always—ALWAYS—submit federal grant applications at least 48 hours before the deadline. You never know what kinds of surprises you’ll uncover during submission. And remember, you must have active registrations in both SAM and Grants.gov–both renewed at least annually—to submit federal grant applications.