Registering Your Non-Profit Entity in the System of Award Management (SAM.gov)

In order to be paid by the US Federal government under a contract – including a services contract for delivery by a non-profit organization – your non-profit must be registered in the System of Award Management – often referred to by its acronym SAM.

Firstly, you should NEVER pay someone to register you in SAM.  We cannot emphasize this enough. We do not offer this as a service on principle! It is free to register and as the representative of your organization you can do it yourself.

Before you can register in SAM.gov there is a list of items you will need to do, collect, or have on hand. It is best to go into a SAM registration prepared because even if you think you have everything, one small piece of information or inconsistency may trip you up!

  1. Your EIN (Employer Identification Number) or TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number) and the Taxpayer name – usually your formal Organization Name that is on your 501(c)(3) determination or Articles of Incorporation.
  2. You will need to register in DUNS (Dun & Bradstreet) and have your DUNS number handy. TIP: Be sure that your physical address in DUNS is accurate and that your registration in SAM matches exactly. If you don’t it will spit the registration back at you and the delays to sort this out can run into weeks!
  3. You will need to have details of the bank account of your non-profit organization to set up Electronic Funds Transfer in SAM (EFT). These are the details you will need: bank routing number, bank account number, and bank account type (ie: check or savings)
  4. A couple of hours of time to dedicate to the registration process!
  5. Reliable contact information for the financial, executive, and administrative contacts for your organization. In some cases, these will be the same person.

Recent Changes to the SAM Registration process

There have been some recent changes to the SAM registration process.

  1. You may need to submit a notarized document nominating a representative to administer your SAM account.
  2. Your login.gov profile now also enables sign up and sign in to SAM.gov

This is not one and done!

Once you are registered in SAM you will need to renew your registration at least once each 12-month period. SAM.gov will give you plenty of reminders but add it to a checklist in your operations manual to remind you.

Once again, do NOT pay for a service to update your SAM registration. I receive a staggering amount of emails that border on deception trying to entice me to sign up for paid SAM update services. Actually, some of them absolutely cross the line of deception as opposed to sales – this is a great time to use the unsubscribe button!

If you’re just starting out, are in a new leadership role, or just want to make sure you’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s, then download our Starting a Non-Profit Checklist.