Be Fit for Funding

Feb 28, 2024 | Blog, Finance

By Monica Davidson

Funding rounds are being announced and submission deadlines are starting to pile up. If applying for grants and other types of funding are key to your financial survival as a creative, then it’s time to get fit for funding. No burpees, I promise!

Tip 1: Know Yourself and Your Project
Before embarking on the funding process, take a deep dive into yourself as a creative and your vision. You need to be able to articulate who you are and what you’re doing, and explain yourself easily to those who have no prior knowledge. 

  • What exactly do you require funding for?
  • Why is this project important, to you, your community, and the funding body? 
  • How will you measure its impact on your audience?
  • How does it align with your artistic goals?
  • What specific resources do you need to make this happen? 
  • Who are the people involved, and do you have proof that they’re on board? 

Tip 2: Find the Right Funding
With those questions answered, explore your funding choices. Government grants (federal, state, and local council) are the obvious answers, but there may be other options to explore. Have you looked at regional arts organisations? Non-arts funding that could still be appropriate, like education or community development? What about private foundations and philanthropic funding?

During the research phase, also remember that funding can be a long process. This is a good time to get on relevant mailing lists for email newsletters, network with other creatives, get to know the funding bodies and seek help through ongoing learning and mentorship opportunities.

Tip 3: Check the Specifics
Once you’ve identified potential funders, delve deeper into their specific grant programs. Meticulously read all the eligibility criteria, funding priorities, and application deadlines. Ask yourself:

  • Does the grant program align with your project’s artistic discipline, theme, or target audience?
  • Are you, as an individual or organisation, eligible to apply? Check for geographic restrictions, career stage requirements, or specific artistic approaches.
  • Does the grant amount realistically cover your project’s needs? Applying for grants offering insufficient funding can be a waste of time.
  • What’s the process? Familiarise yourself with the application format, required documents, and submission procedures.

Tip 4: Crafting a Compelling Proposal
Your submission is the chance to captivate funders and showcase your potential, and the possible impact of your project. Here are some tips:

  • Start early, and give yourself plenty of time to research, write, and refine your proposal.
  • Although copy-and-paste can be helpful, tailor your submission, and adapt your proposal to each specific funding program, highlighting how your project aligns with the priorities of the funder.
  • Clearly articulate your project’s concept, significance, potential impact on your target audience, and your vision.
  • Present a realistic budget that clearly outlines your income, expenses, and justifications for funding.
  • If you need help at any point, always ask. Find a helpful experienced friend, or call the funding contact or grant officer for more information. Their job is to help you, so take advantage!
  • Always proofread meticulously and then—SUBMIT!

Tip 5: Always Ask Why
If you are successful in your funding application, congratulations!  If not, that disappointing outcome can also be a learning experience.  Always follow up and see if you can find out why your application was unsuccessful. This may not always be possible, but if it is, take advantage of the opportunity. It will set you up for a better chance at success next time.

If you’re successful, however, it’s also important to ask why. It may seem silly, but finding out why your application was chosen will also set you up for even better outcomes when the next project pops into mind and the next round of funding appears. 

Tip 6: Fitness is Forever
Funding, for many of us, is an ongoing process. Stay informed of financial opportunities throughout the year by reading newsletters and following the social media of the funding bodies. Take the time to keep learning, network with your peers, and build relationships with the people who administer and maintain the money. 

Securing funding requires patience, perseverance, meticulous planning, and a well-developed way of telling the story of yourself and your work. Fitness for funding is a marathon, not a sprint, and these steps will help you stay ready for any opportunity. 

Go forth and prosper!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share the Love!