Can I Get a Grant for That? Strategically Researching, Writing, and Administering Grants for Archives Projects Kelsey Scouten Bates Assistant Archivist, Birmingham Public Library + Independent Grant Writer for the Arts & Humanities
Research 80% of Grant Writing
Where will you put your research? • Excel/Access • Inexpensive but useful donor software • Expensive and comprehensive donor software
Where can I find grant opportunities? Federal Government • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH.gov) • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA.gov) • Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS.gov) • National Historical Publications and Records Commission (archives.gov/grants/)
Where can I find grant opportunities? State and Local Government • Your state public library service (Library Services and Technology Act) ex. Alabama Public Library Service (apls.state.al.us) • Your State Humanities Council ex. Alabama Humanities Foundation (ahf.net) • Your State Arts Council ex. Alabama State Commission on the Arts (arts.state.al.us) • Municipal Grants
Where can I find grant opportunities? National Foundations • Foundation websites • Guidestar • FoundationCenter.com • Peer institutions (annual reports, fliers, websites) • Services you have to pay for: FoundationSearch.com, LexisNexis, Blackbaud, etc…
Fitting a Project to a Grant Size of the foundation or grant opportunity • Ask for an average amount on the first try • Even foundations with large assets may only give a few grants. Don’t waste your time! • For federal agencies, start with the smaller grants and work your way up
Fitting a Project to a Grant What does the foundation like to fund? • If the foundation likes to fund educational programming, don’t ask for a conservation project • Your project may be stronger if you put two or more small projects together
Fitting a Project to a Grant Have you met all prerequisites? • Strategic Plan? Master Plan? • Conservation assessment? • Audience data?
Fitting a Project to a Grant What if a foundation does not accept proposals? • Ask your board and staff • Write a letter of inquiry • Send an invitation
What Not to Do Do not make up a project to fit a grant • The project should already be something you have decided to do—don’t apply until you’re ready to do it. • If it’s not possible to put it in your operating budget, then be prepared (and prepare others) not to do it
What Not to Do Do not over fund by over asking • Ask only for what you need. Then if you’re turned down, continue to the next ask (start early!) • It’s okay to create an ideal budget, but if you are funded, you MUST use it all.
What You Should Do Prepare a Well-written and Easy-to-Understand Grant Package • Answer the questions in the grant proposal exactly, add headings if necessary (use the question editing technique) • Remove redundancy • Use anecdotal information AND statistical information • Look at the research and cite it
What You Should Do Prepare a Well-written and Easy-to-Understand Grant Package • Send photos • Clarify and simplify the budget • Ask someone to proofread
What You Should Do What if things go wrong? • Don’t panic • Call the foundation or agency • Find a positive
Don’t think of grant writing as a necessary evil. Think of it as a way to help you think through every step of a project and accomplish your organization’s goals.