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  • Contracts: USAID purchases technical assistance services, goods, products, or other services from a responsible party to implement a project as directed by the Agency.


  • Grants: USAID provides funds to a responsible grantee to carry out a program with little direct involvement.
  • Cooperative agreements: USAID provides funds to a partner but has more substantial involvement and contact with the partner during the life of the program.

Wondering about the many terms used by the Agency? Watch "Acronym Soup” and download our quick reference guide. [PDF, 137K]

The majority of USAID’s funds are awarded through a competitive process. These funding opportunities are posted daily on and

USAID’s Business Forecast, updated daily, features our business and partnership opportunities. You can download information about  current opportunities and use filters to sort by date, sector, award type, and more.

Most funding is allocated through Acquisition and Assistance (A&A) mechanisms.

To solicit support for its programs, USAID typically uses a Request for Proposals (RFP) for contracts and a Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFO) for cooperative agreements and grants. Contract opportunities are posted on Grants and cooperative agreements are posted on

Through the New Partnerships Initiative (NPI), we are seeking to work with a more diverse range of partners and provide more entry points for organizations to work with us. We also have a variety of other grant and partnership programs, which you can view here.

USAID accepts unsolicited proposals and applications; more information is available here. We review every submission, but only a small number are approved. Also, it is important to read the full guidance before submitting an unsolicited proposal or application.