How to Apply for a DUNS Number

There are several reasons that having a DUNS number is critical. Whether you are a nonprofit or small business, you’re going to want to apply for one. The number acts as a nine-digit business identifier, similar to a social security number or an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Any entity that wants to receive any form of federal funding is obligated to have this specific designation. This means that while this is usually spoken about in reference to small businesses, it’s also important for nonprofit organizations to obtain one as well. 

Some Benefits of Having a DUNS number: 

For small businesses, the benefits include things like the ability to bid on government contracts and other benefits. However, nonprofits can also majorly benefit from applying for and receiving a DUNS number. Firstly, having a DUNS number can prove the financial soundness and reliability of an organization. This is because the number contains relevant information when looked up, including: 

  • Company’s name, 
  • phone number
  • Address
  • number of workers 
  • Line of business, 
  • Other relevant corporate information

This can mean being more attractive to potential for-profit partners or lenders. 

Secondly, any business or organization that wishes to apply (and receive) grants from the federal government is required to have a DUNS number. 

How to Apply for a DUNS number? 

Gather All the Details 

The actual process of applying for a DUNS number is actually relatively easy. To begin with, an authorized representative of the company must complete the application. 

Before moving on to the application itself, make sure to have all the information on hand that you need. This information includes: 

  • Legal company name 
  • The name of the headquarters of the company and address 
  • The physical address of the company 
  • Mailing address 
  • Telephone number 
  • Direct contact name and their title 

Two Ways to Apply 

Firstly, a potential applicant can call Dun and Bradstreet’s dedicated toll-free DUNS number request line: 1-866-705-5711. Make sure to have all the information on hand that you need. The process doesn’t take very long, as long as you don’t have to go looking for these details. 

The second way to apply is by going directly to the Dun and Bradstreet website. To begin with, you’ll be asked what your primary reason for applying for this designation is. Some of the options include: 

  • Being a U.S based business 
  • A Canada-based business. 
  • An Apple Developer 
  • A U.S Government Contractor or Grantee 
  • Or needing a UFI to Register with the FDA 

Nonprofit organizations (and small businesses), in the United States or Canada, would of course choose the United States or Canada-based business option. Each prompt will direct you to a different pathway to obtaining the DUNS number. 

You’ll be asked to fill out relevant corporate information such as legal business name, address, city, state, and other details. This will allow the applicant to see if they already have a DUNS number, or if they need to complete an application. 

The entire process should take less than 10 minutes, and if the information is all accurate, receiving a DUNS number should take between 1-2 legal business days. 

What to Do After Receiving Your DUNS Number? 

So, what happens after you receive your DUNS number? Well firstly, you’re going to want to register with SAM.Gov, which is the federal government’s SYSTEM FOR AWARD MANAGEMENT. 

Author’s note: We’ll explain the step-by-step process to do this in another article. 

And then, you’re going to want to go over to and sign up for a paid subscription. Paid subscribers on receive access to more than 8,000 grants for nonprofits, small businesses, and individuals. This includes full eligibility criteria, contact information for grant funders, and application links.

Small businesses who have received their DUNS number should also go and register with SAM.Gov to begin the process of being able to locate and bid on relevant federal contracts for service. 

There’s plenty more coming up in our series on resources that can help to best optimize your nonprofit or small business for success, so stay tuned! 

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