We’re all eager to get government grants. (Hey, I’m no exception–I’ve gotten plenty of free government money for myself and my business, and always am on the lookout for more.) One of the most common questions is how to apply for it. Well, the answer is, it depends.

Let me explain. You may already know that there are many, many funding programs out there, and they have their own ways of matching their available funding with deserving recipients. The process for receiving a government grant or funding from another source can range from automatic eligibility, with no need to do anything, to the requiring an extensive proposal, and everything in between. In the majority of cases, though, it’s usually just a simple application.

For some government grants, you may need to pre-register before you can apply, but usually you do this only once, and one registration may qualify you across multiple agencies. This may sound like a hassle, but it’s usually simple and straightforward, plus it usually entitles you to receive notification of available government grants that you may qualify for.

Here’s the most important point to remember about how to apply for grants, though, no matter what the process may be: Follow the instructions exactly, and provide everything that is requested. It’s not unusual for a grant request to be completely disqualified just on the basis of the directions not being followed. Completing your application correctly, completely, and accurately is the first step for you to secure your share of available government grants.