Writing a grant application is hard, and getting started can be daunting. Deciding what to present to a grant committee depends not only on what you think is your best work, but also what you think will appeal to the committee and what is most relevant to the grant at hand.
And presenting your work is about more than the manuscript, sculpture, video project, or other artistic endeavor you hope the grant will fund. You also have to show through written statements and other supporting documentation that your project is socially relevant and that you are the person for the job.
That said, you shouldn’t let the odds scare you, because the potential rewards—both financial and motivational—are huge. Grants can seem like mythical beasts that you’ll never see, but they’re not. You CAN improve your chances by paying attention to presentation. Here are a few tips for writing your grant application:
- Pick the right grant. You may want $20,000 for your project, but sometimes the smaller, local grants are easier for emerging artists to get. And even if you’ve got decades of experience, if your project doesn’t match what the grant committee is asking for, you’re just wasting time. Many grants are very specific about the kinds of work they’re meant for.
- Pay close attention to the requirements. Not only are grant committees sticklers for the rules, but following the instructions accurately shows that you care about doing a good job and respect the committee’s time.
- Think about both why you want to do this project and what other people will get out of it. Get intertextual. And consider how your work connects with and challenges the social world around you.
- Spellcheck! Look over your application for grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence flow, or have someone you trust do so for you. Not only will a grammatically correct application help make your ideas clearer and easier to read, but you seem more professional as a result.
If you’re still unsure about how to get started or you feel your application needs some work, Write Out is here for you. I know how anxiety-producing this process can be because I’ve been there. I know the soul-crushing experience of getting that first grant rejection. I’m happy to say I also know how it feels to get a grant cheque in the mail (it’s a GREAT feeling). And while some of that is luck, some of it is also about knowing how to write professionally, persuasively, and sincerely about a creative project.
While we’ve always been happy to assist with a variety of projects, Write Out now officially offers grant application assistance. So if you’d like some help getting your ideas out into the world, get in touch! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.