In the US in 2016, The National Endowment for the Arts gave slightly over $82 million in grants to fund various music projects. If you want to come up with the ideal grant proposal for your music project, the following tips will be of great assistance.
Research the Programs in Your Area
Starting with Google, and focusing on your city, state (or province) and country, draw up a list of all grant and funding opportunities available in that area. If you’re still in school, you might find ready lists that can help you during your research. Moreover, most of these schools might even be giving out these grants.
If you’re in a band that has strong connections in the music scene, it would be good if you asked other bands and artists which grants they have applied for and where they get information. Ultimately, you’ll be able to access any information out there. Most financiers like to post their programs online alongside full eligibility criteria and what’s required for one to apply. Go over the eligibility requirements and make sure that you qualify. It might seem tedious, but it’s an important task. No shortcuts. For example, there’s no need to apply to a program that’s only offered to music school graduates when you know very well that you’re not one. Another example is that there’s no need to apply to a program offered in a state or city that you don’t reside in.
By going through the eligibility criteria, you’ll be able to know the program you qualify for and those you’re not.
Schedule Meetings with the Grant Agents
Once you have a list of all programs that are perfect for you, try to find a grant agent to confirm your eligibility and inquire from the agent what you can do for your application to stand out. If you can’t physically meet the agent, try to use apps like Skype or even make a phone call to communicate with the agent. Don’t be afraid of them as they can greatly help you.
If you’ve arranged for a meeting, ensure that you come prepared for it. You should be ready to talk about your musical projects and your goals in a precise manner, and also ask whether the program is a good fit for you. In addition, you should have prepared your questions as well. Afterward, let the agent talk while you pay close attention. Take notes, especially if they make suggestions on what you should and shouldn’t do.
What’s more, most applications for grants don’t go through because of some errors made during the application process. Since governmental institutions offer numerous grants, they like to do things as they ought to be done. Ask the agent if it’s possible to remain in contact with them in case you have more inquiries and if they’ll go over your application before it’s submitted.
Prepare Your Application
After having met the agent and ironed out any relevant issues, go ahead and prepare your application. Normally applications are relatively short; thus, you’ll have to explain yourself using fewer words. The answers you give should convince the financiers that your project is unique, and that you have a plan to implement it. Address every item in the assessment criteria specifically. This is what your application will be evaluated against. Remember that grants are very competitive.
Consequently, do not hand in your application last minute. Submitting your application a few days before the deadline might put it on top of the rest. Know yourself at all times and be ready to ask for help. If you’re not good at writing, and can’t for example clearly articulate how music has changed your life, get someone who’s good at it. One thing to note is that some of the most talented musicians have little or no practice when it comes to professional writing. Thus, don’t feel ashamed for asking for assistance. Find someone who you trust and who comprehends what you do musically and has the critical skills.
Submit Your Application
Ensure that you submit all the required support material, like recordings and videos alongside your application. Your application might not go through if you don’t include some support material. Providing proof of professionalism is also part of the process. Make sure that you’re aware of all these requirements before you begin your application so that you prepare yourself sufficiently.
What If Your Application Goes Through?
What if your application is successful? What next?
When you eventually receive that grant, you have to send a report once the project is finished. It’s important for you to complete the report in good time, and it should be done nicely so that you are qualified for more grants.
Artists tend to have a lot to do during a project and after it’s completed, thus, compiling a report is not often at the top of the priority list. However, a report is one of the most crucial features of the grant. It is one way of establishing trust between you and the financier.
Why were you financed? The financiers want to make an impact. They want to collect both quantitative and qualitative data on the music industry from the artist’s viewpoint and want to know how further grants can be given more efficiently in the future. Any information like those who interact with your art, the money required to bring a concept to life, the project’s scope, and your audience’s demographics are all important. Moreover, you need to file your correspondence, application, and receipts as you might want to access them later on. For instance, in the event of an audit, you’ll be required to produce these documents.
One important thing that you should strive to do is to establish a long-term relationship with your financiers. You’ll be able to get more funding for your future projects as your requirements will change over time. Even if the application process was tiresome and you didn’t get the amount that you had hoped for, it is advisable for you to continue submitting applications to a financier. Also, they’ll constantly be monitoring you to see if you’ll deliver on what you promised.
There you go. Use these tips to come up with the ideal grant proposal for your music project. A lot of work that goes into getting a grant has to do with how much your objectives and skills correspond to the profile that the grant looking for. Ensure that you demonstrate why you are the most suitable candidate for that grant.
Are there other tips that we’ve left out?