Ready to Apply? Some Tips & Tricks for a successful grant application

Published On: August 20th, 2020|Categories: Funding|Tags: , , , |

New to the world of grants and funding? Check out some of our essential tips & tricks for writing a successful  application or proposal.

  1. Finding grants & applications for funding opportunities.

    • There is no master resource list of available grants (except, maybe, for the one we’re building!), so you’ll have to do some digging. Knowing key terminology can help narrow down your search. Check out our terminology section for more resources on terms.
    • Know where to look for the type of funding you need. Search government sites for small business funding information they even have an industry guide to narrow down your search. Explore available funding opportunities here. Individual grants are often provided through provincial funders, councils and organizations. Start with The Canadian Council for the Arts,  and remember to search local collectives and provincial alliance websites for individual grant listings and deadlines in your region. You can also search by industry or discipline, for example, searching the SOCAN foundation website for music grants, and narrowing down your search by discipline on the Ontario Arts Council funding database.
    • Always ensure you check your eligibility and you read the instructions thoroughly before you apply.

More resources for help on finding grants:

  • Canada Grant Watch – Search for art and culture grants including grants for artists, performing arts, music, dance, visual, arts programs, local arts events, arts education and graphic arts programming.
  • Artreach – Make sure to check out their upcoming funding deadline calendar
  • RBC – Check out their emerging artist programs. RBC bank has long been a supporter of the arts and the role they play in building vibrant communities and strong economies.
  • The Department of Canadian Heritage – lists current funding opportunities for Canadian NFP’s and small arts organizations
  1. Do your research, and don’t be shy!

    • Many experts recommend researching the CV’s and profiles of previous grant recipients, this can help you get a better sense of what the organization may be looking for.
    • Some foundations use quantitative measures in their qualification process, taking in to consideration any ties to the organization or if you have received previous funding.
    • If possible, contact the foundation or program officer with questions and clarifications. This ensures eligibility and can help fill any missing gaps in your application. Your name may also stick out later on.
  2. Making your application stand out.

    • Make sure your language is clear, but thorough. Avoid heavy use of academic and/or marketing language, remember, often you are speaking to a jury of your peers or fellow artists.
    • Stick to the specifics of the project and keep any research proposals matter-of -fact. Be realistic about your funding needs, an ask too lofty may raise a red flag.

More tips on making your application pop:

  • Peak Proposals – An entire blog dedicated to helping you perfect research proposals and funding applications
  • Library Strategies Consulting – offers a guide of 9 ways to make your grant proposals stand out
  • Charity Channel – Outlines the design elements best used to ensure your application pops
  • org – Offers a style guide and tips for business’ applying for grants
  1. Have a trusted, but not so close peer read it over.

  • Getting your proposal peer reviewed is an essential step in the application process. It’s best to have someone not familiar with your work or the field of study read it over as it ensures you can communicate your ideas clearly and effectively to an objective reader.
  1. If you get rejected, ask for feedback.

    • You could be declined for many reasons; could be a lack of funders or an unexpected surge in applications. Request a review or call from the grant agent in charge of your application, and ask for more details or clarification. Now you have a better idea of what to do for next time!

For more tips & tricks for grant writing, applications and proposals, check out the resources below:

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    About the Author: Meagan Barnes

    Meagan is a content contributor and partnerships coordinator for artsUNITE/UNITÉ des arts. Prefers flora over fauna.

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