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One of the most common questions we get asked in this field is about the average federal timeline.

How long does it take to secure federal funding?

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times—one of the greatest barriers to federal funding is a lack of understanding of the field. A lot of that is due to the vague information that exists out there. Our goal is to demystify federal funding by giving you a clear view into what it looks like and what it takes to be successful in the field.

The vague answer that you’ve probably already received to this question is—a long time.

Our less vague answer—plan on at least nine months.

The timeline for securing federal funding can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the specific funding opportunity, the complexity of the application process, the availability of funding, and the quality of your application.

Typical Timeline

However, in general, the timeline for securing federal funding can be broken down into several key stages, which may take a total of 6–12 months or longer to complete:

  1. Research funding opportunities (1–3 months):

This stage involves identifying potential federal funding opportunities that align with your project goals and objectives. You will need to carefully review the funding opportunity announcements, eligibility criteria, and application requirements to determine whether your project is a good fit.

  1. Develop your proposal (3–6 months):

Once you have identified a funding opportunity, you will need to develop a strong proposal that clearly articulates your project goals, objectives, and methods. This may involve conducting a needs assessment, developing a project plan, and identifying the resources required to implement your project.

  1. Submit your application (1–2 months):

After you have developed your proposal, you will need to submit your application by the deadline specified in the funding opportunity announcement. This may involve submitting your application through an online portal or mailing a hard copy of your application to the funding agency.

  1. Review and approval process (3–6 months):

After you have submitted your application, it will go through a review and approval process that may take several months. This may involve a peer review process in which subject matter experts evaluate your proposal, or a competitive bid process in which your proposal is evaluated against other proposals based on specific criteria.

  1. Award notification and grant administration (1–2 months):

Once your proposal has been approved, you will receive an award notification that outlines the terms and conditions of the grant. You will then need to administer the grant in accordance with its terms and conditions, which may include reporting requirements, budget restrictions, and other requirements.


It’s important to keep in mind that the timeline for securing federal funding can vary widely depending on a number of factors and that the process can often take longer than expected.

In our case, when you have been in the industry for a while and know where to speed up the process, at Long Capture we typically see the process taking closer to 6–9 months.

 Is this ideal?

No—I mean, who has ever wanted to wait around for their money?

However, if you have the patience to navigate the process despite the longer timelines, at the end of the day, you may have a regular customer in the Department of Defense.