WANTED: Someone with common interests, compatible viewpoints, a sense of generosity, honest communication, who is smart and sensible. The goal is a good future together, in a long-term, mutually satisfying relationship.

I’m of course talking about the match between you and a potential grant funder. One of the most important aspects of getting grant money is having a good match between the funder’s priorities and your needs. You and the funder want to make sure that you’re right for each other before committing, and there are certain steps you should take to find out. This applies to all types of grant funding, whether it’s government grants, foundation grants, grants from corporations, or grants from individuals, but we’ll focus on government grants in our examples.

Since government grant money exists so that it can be put to use for a specified purpose, there are restrictions on who qualifies to receive it. There are so many government grant programs out there, though, you just need to find the ones that are the best potential match for you.

Start by clearly defining to yourself what you want and what you’re willing to provide. If you’re not clear on exactly what your goals are, then you’re probably not ready for a government grant. Once you know what you want, then you will seek out potentially compatible funding. When you see a government grant that catches your interest, then take a careful look at the guidelines. Grant funders are very clear and upfront about what their dealkillers are. If you don’t qualify, it’s best to move along. Some people will apply anyway, hoping that it will work out, but that’s just a waste of time. You’ll get rejected, and the government grant will go to a more eligible candidate.

Some government grants are only for particular demographic groups, such as being only for women, racial minorities, or a designated aged group. Keep an eye out for geographic restrictions too. You may get turned down if you’re not from a particular part of town. There may be a certain level of educational attainment required, such as research grants for PhDs.

Once you determine that you meet the initial qualifications, then it’s time for an introduction. You’ll tell the funder about yourself via a grant proposal. At this stage, and throughout, honesty and forthrightness are necessary if you’re going to determine whether you and the funder are a good match. If you sound interesting to the funder, then they’ll either ask for more information, or decide that you’re the one, and award you the government grant.

This is just the beginning of the relationship with the grant funder. You have to follow through on the promises you made and vow to use the government grant funding responsibly. If you prove to be suitable, then you may get future funding on an ongoing basis. The funder will be glad that you are able to meet their goals according to their priorities, and you’ll have a funding partner for your project. If you’re diligent about finding the right funder, you’ll both benefit from the great match.