Grant Applications 101: From a Grant-Writing Expert
From concerts to albums, teaching gigs, and more, musicians have a variety of ways to get paid. One source they often overlook is grant funding - But why? The process is hard! But it doesn’t have to be. Let’s explore my top 10 tips for music grant writing success.
The competition is FIERCE. Chances of success in writing, submitting, and winning a grant are 1 in 10. So when you’re applying for grants take each question very seriously. Prepare as much as possible today so you have the time, and mental space to tackle the BIG questions later. You want to make sure to always put your best foot forward with every application.
TEAMWORK! Your chances of success go up by 75% if there are at least two people reviewing, editing, and proofreading your application before submission. Make sure you have a smart and trusted friend or colleague to partner with for this step, and make sure you leave no answer blank. You only have one chance to make a good first impression so make it count!
Do your homework. If you have questions about your application reach out to the funder before submitting your ask. Check out their website, and look for the FAQ’s section. See if you have a friend or business connection in the organization who can help you navigate any confusion. Or see if any of your friends have applied for the grant in the past. Get their take on the process if they’re willing to share! You want to remove the guesswork here as much as you can.
Keep/create a grant tracking calendar to set reminders for grant deadlines. Missing the due date for a grant application can be more frustrating than applying and loosing sometimes. You don’t want to miss it (#fomo) but you also want to give yourself the time to submit an application you’re really proud of. Thats why this step is oh so important!
Get specific about what you’re going to do with the funds. Grantmakers want to see that you have a plan, and will execute it regardless of the application outcome. If your idea or project doesn’t show merit, research, relevance, etc. I suggest getting clear on these details before hitting submit.
Networking IRL. Get to know the people offering grant funding. If they are hosting an event in person or online attend if you can! You never know who may be able to offer you some advice, a connection, or support on the whole grant funding process.
Busy schedule? Hiring a grant writer can help. Before working with a professional though you gotta make sure they’re a good fit. Not all grant writers can write all grants. Some specialize in arts and culture funding like we do at Mint Maven. Others focus on government or non-profits. Be sure to keep that in mind moving forward, and know that hiring a pro does not guarantee that you will get funding!
Support Letter(s): Most ****applications require a reference/support letter, or letters. Make a list of persons you’re seeking help from first (A set of 5 people will work.) And make sure they have all the information they need to draft something amazing for you. Give them at least 3 weeks or more to turn it around and clarify how many applications you may submit the letter to. Do not deviate from this strategy! You want to keep your people happy.
Community/Co-Building. This is a big one! Funders like to see you working well with others in your industry and community. If you’re collaborating with friends or a local org. mention them and the work you’re doing in your app! This will tell the funders that A) You have people in your corner who believe in you and want to see you succeed, and B) Taking your music career to the next level requires more than an army of one. Show them how savvy you are.
KEEP GOING! There were 450 Billion dollars in grant funding donated in the US last year alone. Did any of that money go to you? if it didn’t starting your grant funding journey is the next step. if you’ve already started and haven’t seen success yet don’t quit! The more you do it the better you’ll get. So always keep trying!
I hope today’s post gave you enough resources and topics to think about as you set out to earn grant funding. Now it’s your turn! Which of these tips will you be acting on first? Is there anything listed here that scares you? Or are you feeling enlightened, and more confident than ever? I want the deets! Follow me on IG at https://www.instagram.com/mintmaven.co/ visit my website at https://mintmaven.co and let me know what you’re thinking by commenting below. Happy funding, friends!