DUNS Number Requirement

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The federal government requires organizations to provide a DUNS number as part of their grant applications and proposals. The Tennessee Arts Commission is requiring all applicants (who have not already done so) to register with Dun and Bradstreet (D & B) and be issued a DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number. A DUNS number is associated with the physical address of an organization. There is no fee for registering for a DUNS number. Organizations may register by phone or online.

What is a DUNS number?
Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) is a company that provides business information for credit, marketing, and purchasing decisions. Its “data universal numbering system,” known as DUNS, issues unique 9-digit numbers that are used by businesses and the federal government to keep track of more than 70 million businesses world-wide. Because a DUNS number is specific to a physical location, some entities (such as states, public school districts and universities) will have distinctly separate DUNS numbers OR what is known as “DUNS + 4,” which is used to identify specific units within a larger entity.

Why does my organization have to provide it?
The federal government’s Office of Management & Budget has adopted the use of DUNS numbers as a way to keep track of how federal grant money is awarded and dispersed.

Do all grant applications have to have a DUNS number?
All organizational applicants are required to provide their DUNS number. Individuals are exempt.

How do I find out if my organization already has a DUNS number?
Your executive director, business manager, board treasurer, or accountant is likely to know and be able to provide your organization’s DUNS number if you already have one. Organizations applying to the Arts Endowment have been required to have a DUNS number since October 1, 2003. Universities and most colleges, state entities and large organizations also are likely to already have DUNS numbers. If you aren’t sure, ask the D&B operator when you call to get one (see phone number below).

Is there a fee for registering for a DUNS number?
No. D&B should not charge you a fee. You are also not obligated to purchase any of their products.

What’s the easiest way to get a DUNS number if my organization needs one?
It only takes a day to get a DUNS number from D&B by phone (you may be on hold for a little while), but Internet applications can take up to 30 days! Note that an authorizing official, not a project director, of the organization should request a DUNS number. Call D&B’s special toll-free number forĀ federal grant applicants: 1-866-705-5711. Tell the operator that you are applying to a federal grant program and need to register for a DUNS number. The process will take about ten minutes. You will be asked to provide the following information (subject to minor changes):

Legal name of organization, physical address (and P.O. box if you have one), telephone number, Web address, name of the authorizing official (e.g., president, director, etc.), the purpose of your organization (e.g., non-profit dance company to perform and create work, museum that provides art exhibitions for the general public, etc.), total number of employees.

Your organization can also register for a DUNS number via D&B’s Web site.