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5 Rules for a Smooth Grant Season

Leaves are crunching underfoot, the air is crisp, you’re craving pumpkin bread… You know what that means.

Grant season is upon us!

(Just me?)

What better time to welcome you to Proscenium’s new Get the Grant column, where we’ll explore funding that you can apply for today and give you insights into how to be successful obtaining it.

(We’re taking requests for specific grants in the comments - just let us know what funding you’re pining after and we’ll explore it for you in a future post!)

When considering a grant or a funding application, here are the five things you should think about.

Rule #1: Figure out who your reader is, and get in their shoes. As a performer, you’re used to thinking about your audience. Same goes for applying for a grant. Will your application be read by a series of bureaucrats (government bodies), a group of your peers (arts councils), a businessperson sitting at a desk in the corner office of a Bay Street high-rise (banks), or a couple of older siblings sitting around a dining table with a bottle of wine (small family foundations)? Get to know them, and picture them as you write.

"Okay, one more glass and then we're busting out the 2017-2018 foundation apps!"

Rule #2: Think about what you’re being “paid” to do. Thinking of a grant or a scholarship as an act of generosity can be intimidating. But almost everyone does it. Many artists feel unworthy of receiving money as a gift. Instead, think of it as payment for services rendered. What does the funder want from you? The performing arts improve society, contribute to artistic freedom, educate others, give the funder visibility, alleviate the funder’s guilt, and offer the funder prestige. Only you can provide this service. Own it!

Rule #3: Don't make promises you can't keep. Think about whether the money aligns with your existing career or project goals. Don’t change the course of your year just to satisfy a funder. Projects that are likely to get funded usually fit naturally into the corresponding grant’s deliverables.

Rule #4: Make sure you’re eligible. Only in exceptional cases will funders notify you of your ineligibility, even after you’ve spent hours pouring over an application. Double-check the guidelines and if any of the shoes don’t fit, better to move on.

Rule #5: Read between the lines. Read through all of the guidelines and questions first, and figure out what the funder secretly wants. Make bullet points for each question before you start writing. This will help you avoid getting yanked down a rabbit hole, and will allow you to focus every word of your application on your core identity and goals.

Bonus - Rule #6: Blank page stressing you out? Proscenium offers professional grant writing services for individuals and arts organizations starting at just $59. Book a free, no-strings-attached video consultation here.

Committed to your success,

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