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7 Myths that aidTrain Helped Debunk for Me

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

By Beth Negash

Co-Founder and CEO

It was a perfect match. The training was being held in Washington, DC in the same week that my last minute travels would take me to the area.

At Greenhouse, we needed to learn about navigating the regulations around USG funds sooner than later. And the subject matter expertise of Shannon (the trainer) and the co-partners present was/is stellar.

If you have considered signing up to be a vendor to the US government, or to secure grants for important programs in the US or around the world, you MUST know the regulations – not what people say about the regulations. Many of these regulations expose the rigor of your organization’s internal policies and processes of your organization, and whether your organization routinely adheres to its own policies and processes.

The US government had $49B of obligations in 2022, and $12B in 2023. And obligations are “binding agreements that will result in outlays (payments) immediately or in the future.”

So, it’s important to debunk some myths, if you have received, are considering applying for, or are working with anyone who has received USG funds.

Here are the 7 Myths that aidTrain helped debunk for me:

Myth 1: For-profit organizations cannot participate in notices for funding opportunities (NOFO's)

Fact: If your organization is registered on, and, any organization, for-profit or non-profit, can participate in NOFO's, Sealed Bids, and RFPs

Myth 2: A recipient has to collect a minimum of 3 quotes when making procurement

Fact: The code of federal regulations (2 CFR 200) does not give any limits to the number of quotes required

Myth 3: To comply with the Fly America Act, if you're a recipient of USG funds, you can only fly on airlines that bear the US flag.

Fact: A recipient must purchase the ticket through a US Flag Carrier, but that often includes flights operated by non-US carriers through code share agreements and US-EU open skies agreements.

Myth 4: The regulations stipulate that a recipient's budget is flexible. Therefore, they can change their budget as needed as long as they receive prior approval.

Fact: USAID has two choices – they will restrict you to 10% of the total award budget and stipulate that in your budget OR they will be silent which means you have total flexibility as long as you follow the prior approval rules in 2 CFR 200.

Myth 5: A recipient can purchase equipment as long as it costs less than $10,000.

Fact: All equipment and capital expenditures require prior approval.

Myth 6: The more information you provide on your application or reporting, the better, because it confirms to the reviewers that your organization is organized.

Fact: Only provide requested information. Nothing less. Nothing more.

Myth 7: An approval by an Award Officer (AO) over the phone is considered proper approval since the voice recording is always available as proof.

Fact: “If it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist.”

Remember, what people think is a part of the regulations is not necessarily a part of the regulations. What you think is a fact might be a myth and end up costing your organization an audit finding or a rejection.

You need to refer to the regulations as frequently as possible to ascertain what is allowed or disallowed.

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