With thousands of opportunities available in the grant community, you’ll want to pursue only those that have the greatest chance of being funded.

To help you decide which grants to focus on, here’s a five-point checklist of criteria you’ll want to keep in mind as you search for the best grants to pursue:

Checklist point 1: The funder accepts applications or letters of inquiry – or will be doing so within your project timetable.

Not all funders want help finding worthy causes; some would rather do it themselves and don’t want to be contacted. Others will review applications and letters of inquiry only within certain time frames. Confirm that the funding source is approachable and that their funding cycle fits your project before you start an application.

Checklist point 2: The funder’s area of interest closely matches your proposed project.

Other projects are competing for the same funds, so play to your strengths. Make sure your project is perfectly suited to the funder’s interests. And be certain you know the funder’s current areas of interest. These can shift dramatically over time.

Checklist point 3: The funder is generously funding your area of interest.

Not all funders are created equal. Two similar funding sources can claim education as an area of interest, yet one may funds 90 education projects while the other funds just one. So make the numbers work in your favor: investigate funder websites, grant databases, and resource materials to confirm the funder is  actually funding education projects.

Checklist point 4: The funder funds your city, region, or state.

Sources may fund nationally, regionally, or only in select towns and cities. Make sure your location matches the funder’s specifications before pouring your energies into a grant.

Checklist point 5: They funder funds your type of organization.

You can’t assume that all education grants are available to all schools. Some education grants forgo funding schools entirely and instead focus on community centers. Others fund public but not private schools. Be sure to check the guidelines.

For more help finding additional funding opportunities, sign up for our free grants and funding newsletter. And keep your eyes open for an announcement on our June 16 funding webinar. It will be loaded with ideas you won’t find anywhere else!