Targeting seeks to deliver benefits to a selected group of participants, in particular poor and vulnerable people. Targeting mechanisms attempt to link a project's specific purposes with its intended group of beneficiaries. There are many ways to target programs, and most CDD projects use more than one targeting mechanism. They include geographic mapping, household surveys, censuses, qualitative surveys, and "self-targeting."
Targeting approaches can be divided into three major types:
- Household or individual targeting is basically an effort to identify households or individuals who are deemed eligible to receive the benefits of a program. The selection of households or individuals can be based on means testing, proxy means test, or community-based which allows for communities to categorize households within their own community as poor or vulnerable.
- Categorical targeting includes geographic targeting, which simply means selecting particular regions or areas in which the benefits of a program will be distributed.
- Self-selection targeting - With this targeting mechanism, a program is designed in such a way so that only those who really need assistance will choose to participate in the program. For example, a food security program can provide in-kind benefits of very low quality food, available to anybody who applies for it. While it has universal eligibility, the design places incentives that seek to discourage non-poor from selecting.
The criteria used to pick subproject proposals that fit in with the project's overall goals serve as an important part of project targeting. For example, selection criteria may favor "pro-poor" projects (for example, basic infrastructure or services) over other proposals, or give priority to proposals submitted by certain beneficiaries (such as ethnic minorities or people with disabilities).