To begin the grant-seeking process, you should have a project idea in mind that is more specific than “I need a grant for technology.”

I recently held a question-and-answer session with eSchool News readers via Twitter—and the No. 1 question that kept coming up was, “Where can I find a grant for _______?”

Because this seems to be such a popular topic, I’ve decided to devote my next two columns to finding grant opportunities. Why two columns, you might ask? Because, depending on the type of grants you’re looking for, there are several different resources you can use to find this information.

There are two main groups you can turn to for grant support: public funders and private funders. Government grant sources fall under the umbrella of public funders and include federal departments and agencies (such as the U.S. Education Department, or ED), as well as state agencies. For private funders, you can look to foundations, corporations, and national organizations for potential grant opportunities.

Looking at private funders might offer more grant opportunities than restricting your search to public funders. But there are many other benefits to pursuing private funders, too.

Usually, private funders offer more proposal deadlines during a 12-month period than public funders, which typically will have only one grant cycle per year for each program. Private funders also might have a simpler application process, although there are exceptions to this general rule. In addition, the decision-making process typically takes less time for private funders than it does for public funders. With a private funder, for instance, you might find out within a month or two if your request has been funded—whereas for public funders, this process might take between six and nine months. And finally, the reporting requirements for privately funded grants typically aren’t as complex as those for public funders—but again, there can be exceptions.