This is a great question! While the vast majority of grant funding is awarded through a competitive process, there are some grants that don’t have a competitive element. Here is a (likely not exhaustive) list of those that aren’t awarded on a competitive basis:
Federal Grants with One Awardee: While this might seem like the ultimate in competition, often, these types of grants are really not competitive. There are some programs that support a Center of Excellence or a similar endeavor that will provide an award to one applicant. If this is the case, the applicant has very likely been pre-selected by the funder. Surprisingly enough, that entity is often referred to in the Request for Proposal (RFP). I often strongly advise clients not to apply for these funds (unless they ARE the selected entity) for just this reason.
Grants Awarded on a First Come, First Serve Basis: These types of grants have become much more common as states, counties or cities have offered funding programs related to the pandemic. In the Request for Proposal or program announcement, the entity offering funding will announce that grants will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis. If this is the case, it is strongly advised you get your application in as quickly as possible.
Funding Programs That Have a Rolling Deadline: While some of these programs have a competitive element, many of these programs (in particular, COVID programs and training grants) simply provide awards to any applicant that meets the eligibility criteria until funding runs out.
So, while it is uncommon to submit a grant application that is not evaluated on a competitive basis, such programs do exist. Just be aware that you are still required to meet the eligibility criteria to access these funds.