Five Common Eligibility Requirements to Remember When Applying

Five Common Eligibility Requirements to Remember When Applying

At GrantWriterTeam, we have many tips to remember when applying that can help make the application process simpler and push results in your favor! Making sure that you meet the eligibility is the first step on the path to a winning grant.

Grants come with eligibility requirements, and it is crucial that you review these before you begin. These are five common eligibility requirements that you can expect to find within most grants.

Geographic Area

Many grants are subject to a particular geographic region. This can be as large as a country, like Canada or the continental USA, or limited to specific counties, cities, or towns. Before you begin a grant, make sure you review any geographical restrictions it has. A grant may require that your organization is located within a certain area that the company serves, or it may require that your services help a specific region.

Organization Status

Grant opportunities exist for individuals and for-profit businesses, but many are exclusive to nonprofits or organizations with 501c3 tax-exempt status. Make sure that your tax status is secure before trying for a grant that requires a 501c3. Ensure that your small business or nonprofit has the proper registration. You must have all the necessary documentation proving this before you can move forward.


Many grants will require that an organization first submit an LOI (Letter of Intent or Inquiry) before submitting a full proposal. An LOI is a synopsis of your application. It introduces the grant funder to your organization and gives them an initial insight into what programs you intend to spend the grant money on. It also gives the reader a look into your organization’s history and background.

GrantWatch lets you know whether an LOI is mandatory, optional, or not required at all. In many cases, a grant proposal that is not preempted by an LOI will be immediately dismissed. For more information on writing an LOI see a previous article on them here.

Funding Exclusions

Along with what activities they will fund, grant funders will often list the activities they will not fund. For example, a grant for organizations helping with food insecurity may permit their money for staffing expenses, transportation, and food storage and production. However, they might not allow their funding to go toward conferences, building and construction projects, or an organization’s existing debt. When reading a grant’s eligibility, be sure to keep an eye out for the exclusions.

Dates and deadlines

Pay attention to deadlines and due dates. Funding sources will often require certain documents by certain dates. If the grant requires an LOI or the attendance of a mandatory conference, these will often have other dates different from the deadline for the actual proposal.

If there is a time specified in the deadline, make sure you know what time zone it is. Also, give yourself a few days before the deadline so you and your staff can review the proposal carefully.

In addition to these requirements, expect to find other eligibility criteria unique to the specific grant. This may include mandatory webinars, tax returns, financial documents, projected budgets, or affiliation with a pre-existing organization. Be prepared for your grant proposal by ensuring you have read the eligibility criteria carefully. Don’t apply for any grant where you don’t meet the eligibility requirements.