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A Guide to Grant Writing in the Arts

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  1. A Guide toGrant Writing in the Arts Presented by the MSU Writing Center Grace Bernhardt and Brit Austin

  2. Our Objectives for Today • To give you a brief overview of the grant writing process; • To provide you with resources to start your grant-seeking process.

  3. Overview of The Grant Writing Process • Define your project • Locate appropriate funding sources • Read through proposal guidelines • Contact the funding agency • Develop a plan • Write the proposal • Submit the proposal • Follow up

  4. Define Your Project • You must start the process by defining what it is you want to do and why. • Identify a need for the work you want to do.

  5. Locate Funding Sources • With a project in mind, begin researching grant agencies. • Michigan sources: • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation • General Motors Grants (for organizations) • Other states: • Kentucky Foundation for Women • Arts Midwest

  6. Locate Funding Sources • Determine grantmakers’ goals, objectives, and priorities. • If your project does not match their goals, you are less likely to be funded.

  7. Read through Guidelines • Thoroughly read and understand the guidelines! • Make sure you are eligible! • Note things like the submission deadline, page limit, required attachments! • Note the format that your proposal should be in!

  8. Contact the Funding Agency • Making personal contact is a good way to make yourself stand out. • Ask for clarification or further explanation of the guidelines.

  9. The Pieces of a Proposal • Determine what pieces you will need to include in your proposal. • Cover sheet, • Narratives: • Needs assessment, • Project goals and objectives, • Methodology, • Evaluation, • Budget/Funding Requirements, • Qualifications, • Conclusion, • Appendices.

  10. Cover sheet • One page • Typed on letterhead • Overview of the organization • Purpose and reason for funding request • Amount of the funding request • Show how you meet the grant makers goals and mission

  11. Narratives • Narratives answer: • What do we want? • What concern will be addressed and why it is important? • Who will benefit and how? • What specific objectives can be accomplished and how? • How will results be measured? • How does this funding request relate to the funder’s purpose, objectives, and priorities? • Who are we (organization, independent producer) and how do we qualify to meet this need?

  12. Needs assessment • Problem Statement • 3-4 Pages • Purpose, goals, measurable objectives, and a compelling, logical reason why the proposal should be supported. • Background provides perspective and is often a welcome component.

  13. Project goals and objectives • 1–2 pages • Describe the proposed project outcome and accomplishments. • Include: • your overall goal(s) • specific objectives or ways in which you will meet the goal(s).

  14. Methodology • 4+ pages • Restatement of problems and objectives. • Clear description and explanation of program/project scope and activities. • If relevant to the project state the sequence of activities, staffing, clients, and client selection. • Time line of activities.

  15. Evaluation • In general: • 1-2 pages • Determine the plan for meeting performance and producing the program/project. • Justify how you will measure the effectiveness of your activities. • State the expected outcome/achievement at the end of funding period.

  16. Evaluation (cont’d) • Evaluations should include • Plan for evaluating accomplishment of objectives. • Plan for modifying process and methodology. • Provide methods - criteria, data, instruments, analysis. • In some cases: • Some grantmakers require very technical measurements of results. Inquire about expectations.

  17. Budget/Funding Requirements • Most grants will require you to submit a budget which lays out how you will allocate the money if awarded the grant. • Be sure to only include items that the funder will cover--some funders will not cover administrative or overhead costs. • Present a reasonable and well-thought out budget. • Some funders will supply a form to fill out.

  18. Qualifications • Your qualifications will show your past projects and work that make you qualified to carry out the proposed project. • Typically you will include a copy of your resume or CV.

  19. Conclusion • Summarize the important points of your project proposal and highlight why you should be funded. • Be convincing!

  20. Appendices • The attachments to your proposal will vary but often include: • letters of support, • proof of tax exempt status if you are part of a non-profit organization, or • other financial documents.

  21. How to Describe your Project • Make clear … • What project you wish to undertake, • Why this proposed work is meaningful and valuable to others in the field or the public, • Who you are and why you are qualified to undertake the proposed project,

  22. How to Describe your Project (cont’) • What you have previously worked on, • How you plan to accomplish your objectives, • How your funding request fits with the grantmaker’s purpose and objectives.

  23. Writing Style • Use clear language in describing your proposed project. • Limit jargon that your reader might not be familiar with and explain terms as needed. • Be persuasive! • Convince them your work is valuable • Include pieces of your previous work when possible

  24. Submit your Proposal • Plan to submit your proposal before the submission deadline. • Follow all guidelines for submission • make sure your proposal is in the correct format and submitted the correct way (by mail, electronically etc.)

  25. Follow Up with the Grant Agency • Confirm they received your proposal. • Inquire as to any next steps.

  26. Mistakes to Avoid • Starting too late • Not following instructions • Applying for the wrong grant or not meeting eligibility requirements • Missing deadlines • An underdeveloped project • Bad grammar, punctuation, spelling • Not learning from past grant applications

  27. Proposal Writing Online Courses (for a fee) • Foundation Center • http://fdncenter.org/getstarted/learnabout/proposalwriting.html • Money for Art.com • http://www.moneyforart.com • WRA 451: Grant and Proposal Writing at MSU

  28. Grant Agencies in Michigan • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation • http://mott.org/programs/programs.asp • General Motors Grants • provide “support to organizations that promote appreciation of the arts, recognition of diverse cultures and awareness of arts in education programs.” • http://www.gm.com/company/gmability/community/guidelines/index.html • Top 50 Michigan Foundations that Give Grants • http://www.tgci.com/grants/Michigan/foundations.asp

  29. Grant Agencies in Michigan, cont’d • Michigan Community Foundations • www.forgoodforever.org/Community Grants.htm

  30. Grant Agencies in Other States • Idaho Commission on the Arts • www.arts.idaho.gov/grants • Kentucky Foundation for Women • www.kfw.org

  31. Grant Funding Databases • National Endowment for the Arts • Database: http://www.arts.gov/grants/apply/index.html • Foundation Center • Database: http://fdncenter.org/findfunders/ • E-newsletter:http://fdncenter.org/afw/ • Creative Capital • www.creative-capital.org

  32. Grant Funding Databases (cont’d) • MSU Database • http://www.lib.msu.edu/harris23/grants/3arts.htm • NYFA Interactive • http://www.nyfa.org/nyfa_source.asp?id=47&fid=1 • Arts Midwest • http://www.artsmidwest.org/funders/funders.asp • http://www.artsmidwest.org/links/links.asp

  33. Proposal Writing Tips • Arts Resource Network • http://www.artsresourcenetwork.org/professional_growth/business_of_art/grant_proposal_writing.asp • Corporation for Public Broadcasting • http://www.cpb.org/grants/grantwriting.html • Arts and Humanities Proposal Writing • http://www.research.umich.edu/humanities/write.html

  34. Fellowships and Internships • MSU Graduate School • http://www.grad.msu.edu/funding.htm • MSU Arts & Letters: • http://www.cal.msu.edu/portals/GraduateFunding.htm • Metropolitan Museum of Art in N.Y.C. • http://www.metmuseum.org/education/fellowship.html • National Gallery of Art in D.C. • http://www.nga.gov/education/interned.shtm • The Getty in L.A. • http://www.getty.edu/research/scholarly_activities/

  35. Further Questions? MSU Writing Center writing@msu.edu http://writing.msu.edu Phone: 517-432-3610 Or Walk In