While most grant seekers focus their efforts on the project they are trying to fund, it’s crucial to remember that the organization or person making the grant has its own mission and preferences. Figuring out which organizations are most likely to support a project like yours is therefore the key to successful grant writing.

Here are five tips for choosing a source of funds:

1. Make sure you’ve carefully thought through the purpose of your project, its costs, and any other related questions.

2. Start your funding search broadly by looking at directories of foundations and government agencies that make grants. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (http://www.cdfa.gov) is a good place to start for federal funds; the Foundation Center (http://www.fdncenter.org) is good for finding private foundations; and Teacher Universe (http://www.teacheruniverse.com) has a comprehensive database that includes government and private funds.

3. Contact grantors for funding guidelines, descriptions of past award-winning projects, and other information about the organizations’ goals. Do not tell the organizations about your grant proposal at this point.

4. Read the material you receive and decide if the organization is a good match for your proposal.

5. Apply to the groups that offer the best match for you.