How to Pick the Right Grant

In an ideal world, educators should be able to focus all of their energy on their students and pedagogy. Unfortunately, the reality is that educators often must focus on procuring resources, too.  More than ever, teachers and administrators are seeking funding and writing grants to support basic classroom needs.

While we cannot fix the root of the problem, we do want to help with the solution. And that’s why we’re creating a series of blog posts on grants. At, we want to make it easy for teachers to find the best grant opportunities and then successfully apply for those funds.

Over the next several weeks, our blog will offer tips and tricks for grantseekers, so that you can get back to your intended focus: the students.

Today’s tip: picking the right grants.

In a world of limited funding, it’s tempting to stretch a little outside of the parameters to apply for a grant. But your time is valuable, and the grant reviewer’s time is valuable. You’re far better off investing your time in a grant that suits your needs and priorities.

Here are some easy guidelines.

Geography & Demographics

Many grants are tightly focused on specific geographic boundaries or demographics. Does this grant serve your geographic area? Is it intended to serve a specific demographic, such as children from low-income communities? Be mindful of these focus areas, and apply for funding only when your project aligns.

Use of Funds

Let’s imagine you’re searching for a grant to implement an afterschool program—including curriculum & materials, professional development, and funds to pay for staff. Do your homework by searching for grants that allow you to request funds for the specific needs you have. Don’t ask a grant giver to pay for staff salaries if the guidelines specifically prohibit it. Similarly, recognize that one grant giver may not be able to address all of your funding needs for this project.

Ensure that the scope of your project fits into the grant’s intended range of support. A grant that provides $500 for classroom materials is just a drop in the bucket for a $50,000 district-wide project. The range of funding offered by the grant should be in line with the funding you need to bring your project (or at a minimum, a defined subset of your project) to fruition.

Does it require matching funds? If so, do you have existing partnerships to fulfill this requirement? Line up some possibilities in advance.

Shared Goals

Perhaps most importantly, consider whether the grant giver shares your project’s goals. Let’s say you are seeking funds to create a new outdoor playground. Obviously, a grant giver with ties to health and wellness would value this project. But that may not hold true for the corporation that wants to see more kids learning to code. Without the fundamental connection of shared goals, your proposal will fail. Present the opportunity to the grant giver for which the project resonates.

Up Next: Writing a Grant that Clearly Identifies the Need

Stay tuned for the next post in our series, which focuses on defining the need for your project.