Regardless of what music-related enterprise you're embarking on, funding is almost always an essential component for moving forward. Here we look at how to craft and prepare grant proposal and increasing your odds of success.
Guest post by Lori Wade
When it comes to your music project, you might be having the idea, but the only thing that might be holding you back is inadequate funds. Getting funds from various arts organizations or other funders is a very competitive process. You aren’t guaranteed to access the funds. On the other hand, depending on loans and grants only from arts groups won’t get you far. Also, not everyone can access this kind of music industry funding.
However, if you have access to these grants, they will go a long way into helping you complete your project. In the US in 2016, the National Endowment for the Arts gave grants to 57% of those who applied. Below are a few tips on how to write a grant proposal for your music project.
Research The Programs Available in Your Area
Begin with Google, and concentrating on your city, state and country, come up with a list of every grant and funding opportunity present in that area. If you are in school, there might be lists already that can assist you in your research. Some of these schools might actually have grants. For bands with strong connections in the music scene, it would be wise to ask other artists and bands which grants they've applied to and where they access information. Eventually, you'll get to find out what’s out there.
Most financiers tend to list their programs online together with full eligibility criteria and what is needed to apply. Go through the eligibility requirements carefully and ensure that you qualify. It's a tiresome but necessary task. There are no shortcuts. For instance, there is no need for applying to a program that is only offered to music school graduates if you are not one, or one that is only available for those who reside in a particular state and you don't. Reading the eligibility criteria will enable you to know which program you qualify for and the ones you aren't qualified for. In case you come across one, but the deadline has passed, create a spreadsheet with the grant name, deadline criteria and any other relevant information. This will assist you to keep track of things all through the year.
Schedule Meetings with Grant Agents
As soon as you have a list of programs that are ideal for you, look for a granting agent to confirm that you are eligible and enquire from the agent what you can do for your application to stand out. If you are unable to meet that agent face to face, make use of Skype or even just make a phone call. They will definitely assist you.
Come prepared for the meeting. You should be able to talk about your musical projects and your objectives in a clear and precise manner, and also inquire whether the program is a good fit. You should have prepared some questions also. After that, allow the agent to talk and pay close attention. Make sure that you take notes, particularly if they make suggestions on what should and shouldn't be done. Sometimes, most artists' applications for grants don't sail through simply because of an error made in the applications. Since governmental institutions and organizations offer many grants, they tend to do things as they should be done.
Inquire from the agent if it is possible to stay in contact with them in the event you have more questions and if they will go through your application before submission. This is a great way of getting important feedback.
Prepare Your Application
Now that you've met the agent and ironed out any pertinent issues, you need to prepare your application. Applications are usually relatively short; therefore, you'll need to state your case by using few words. The answers you provide should convince financiers that your project is unique and that you have a plan in mind to execute it.
Address every item in the assessment criteria specifically. This is what your application is being evaluated against. Keep in mind that grants are very competitive. In some cases, you'll find that 80% of applications are rejected.
Therefore, don't submit your application last minute. Something as simple as handing in your application a few days before the deadline might put it on top of the others. Always know yourself and be ready to request for assistance. If you know that you aren't that good at writing, employ the services of someone else.
Most gifted musicians have little or no practice writing professionally. So, don't feel embarrassed for reaching out. Find someone you fully trust, who understands what you do musically and possesses the essential skills. You can even offer to pay that person with a portion of the grant.
Submit Your Application
Ensure that you hand in all the necessary support material, including recordings and videos together with the application. If some support material is omitted, then your application might be denied. Showing proof of professionalism is part of the process. Ensure that you are aware of these requirements beforehand so that you can prepare yourself adequately.
What If Your Application is Successful?
When you finally receive that grant, you have to send a report after the project has been completed. It is essential for you to finish the report as soon as possible and it should be nicely done so that you qualify for further grants. Artists tend to have so much to do during a project and after it ends, so writing a report on the project is often not high on the priority list. However, a report is one of the most vital aspects of the grant. It is a chance to build trust between you and the funder.
Why were you funded? The funders want to make an impact. They want to collect data (qualitative and quantitative) on the music industry from an artist's point of view and want to learn how to give grants more efficiently in future. Any information that can be provided like those interacting with your art, the cost of bringing a concept to life, the demographics of your audience, and the project’s scope are all essential for an organization going forward.
Additionally, file your application, correspondence and receipts, since you might have to access them eventually. For example, in case of an audit, you may be required to produce the necessary documents.
Think Long Term
You should aim at establishing a lasting relationship with your financiers. This will enable you to access more funds for your projects as your requirements change over time. Even if the application process was a tedious venture and you did not receive the full amount you had hoped for, it will be good for you to continue submitting new applications to a funder. Keep in mind that they will be continuously monitoring to see if you can deliver what you had promised. If they see that you can be trusted to complete projects successfully, they may increase their funding in the long run.
There you have it. Make use of the above tips to craft the ideal grant proposal. Remember, grants are out there. Ensure that you can demonstrate why you are suitable for that grant.
BIO: Lori Wade is a content writer for EliteEssayWriters who is interested in a wide range of spheres from education and online marketing to entrepreneurship. She is also an aspiring tutor striving to bring education to another level like we all do. If you are interested in writing, you can find her on Twitter or Google+ or find her on other social media. Read and take over Lori’s useful insights!