Grant and Contract Process

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A man carries a bag of wheat from USAID

Our Process

Our Process: 1) Design the project; 2) Identify requirements: 3) Conduct market research; 4) Solicit bids; 5) Evaluate applications; 6) Negotiate the terms; 7) Make the award


Acquisition is the purchase of goods and services—through a contract—for the use or benefit of the Agency.

Assistance is financial support from the U.S. Government to an organization—through a grant or cooperative agreement—to help carry out a project that benefits the community and advances the objectives of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act.


USAID generally follows these steps:

Step 1: Project Design

To understand challenges and the resources available to address them, USAID Missions develop an overarching Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS) with substantial input from partner governments and from industry, civil society, and development partners. From the CDCS, we design projects and activities to create an Acquisition and Assistance (A&A) plan.

Step 2: Activity Requirement

USAID defines the expected results for distinct activities, which may be funded through an A&A award. Organizations interested in working with us submit a proposal in response to a solicitation that describes the program and explains how USAID will make its decision.

Step 3: Market Research

USAID conducts market research to explore different ways to achieve our development objectives and to gather information about local capacity, the participation of small business, and the feasibility of our anticipated requirements. One way we do this is through a Request for Information (RFI). For more information, see ADS 302

Step 4: Solicitation

Solicitations describe the requirement or program and explain how USAID will evaluate submissions. They can take different forms, such as a Request for Proposal (RFP), a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), an Annual Program Statement (APS), or a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). You can find them through:

Step 5: Evaluation

As a part of the technical proposal review, typical evaluation criteria include the following:

  • Past performance (does not have to be USAID past performance).
  • Technical approach.
  • Personnel.
  • Corporate capability.
  • Management plans.

In each solicitation, USAID provides the criteria it will use to make an award decision (including technical and cost/price factors) and specifies each factor’s relative importance.

Step 6: Negotiation

Your organization may be contacted by a Contracting or Agreement Officer (CO/AO) if your proposal or application is being considered for an award. The CO/AO will be your organization's key point of contact for doing business with USAID. 

If USAID wants to negotiate with your organization before deciding whether to grant you an award, your organization should learn about our policies, which will be a part of the contract or assistance award.

Step 7: Award

Once these steps are completed, USAID will make the award to the selected organization. In most cases, the organization will be invited to a post-award conference to discuss the project and review the terms and conditions of the award. In addition, throughout the implementation period, the organization may contact the Contracting or Agreement Officer’s Representative (COR/AOR) designated in the award for technical guidance. All matters concerning the award itself must be directed to the Contracting or Agreement Officer. 

If the organization cannot reach an agreement with the above individual officers, contact our Agency Ombudsman.


USAID is dedicated to protecting the integrity of our foreign assistance efforts and the taxpayer funds entrusted through awards. See the Compliance section of our website for further information.