REPOST: 6 tips on getting a head start on your BAC Grants proposal

This post is updated with info on our current grant cycle – hope you enjoy! – mlt 

Out of town working or playing this summer? Planning your 2016 funding calendar? Whatever the reason, we’ve received a lot of inquiry as to what artists and organizations can do to start prepping for their 2016 application now.

Taking the main aspects of the application into consideration, I’ve gathered some tips on what you can do now to get a head start on your 2016 application. So familiarize yourself with our program & get ready for some creative planning.

1. Project Narrative: dream big
This is a great time to dream big about your 2016 project. While September is the time for brevity (we only allow 500 words in the application’s main project description), now is the time for being passionate and illustrious! This is a great time to brainstorm and expound on what you intend to do. Write at length about your dream project; who you want to work with, where you want it to occur, and why it would be the best thing for someone to fund – just go for it! Whether you’ve applied to our program successfully or unsuccessfully before, take out your previous application, shake the dust out, write & re-write. Think big & edit later. Spring is also a good time to polish your grant writing skills: take a workshop, or read a grant writing book.

just - serenity now.

just – serenity now.

2. Project budget: plan your resources
While you’re in dream state about your upcoming project, start thinking about using the budget as a different tool to tell the same story as the project narrative. They benefit from being created together. While I suggest holding off on the nitty-gritty bubble-bursting line items until at least the second draft of your narrative, start planning your resources: where else you will go for funding support? Are you planning on supplementing with a crowd funding campaign? What are your options for earned income or in-kind donations? Will you have to rent space? Will you be working in conjunction with another organization? What resources can they provide? Thinking of your budget as another tool to help craft your dream project may help curb some anxiety later on.

3. Work sample: document now
Always Be Documenting! Spring & Summer are busy months that provide great opportunity to build on or begin creating your work sample. Take pics and video of your spring & summer shows, or make arrangements to get copies of the work if someone else is documenting it. There is no such thing as documenting too much. NYFA has put together a great three part blog series on video samples; check it out.

4. Scheduling: the early bird, and all that jazz
Yes, our deadlines aren’t until September, but we suggest you schedule your submission early – for a few reasons. First, we offer a draft review service that is first come, first served, and it stops a week prior to deadline. If you would like to take advantage of that service, we need to see a draft ahead of time. Second, it’s VERY EASY to forget little details at the last minute. Allow time for yourself to double and triple check your application to make sure you didn’t forget anything. Finally, our website gets a lot of traffic on and around deadline day, and has more of a chance of timing out. It’s perfectly secure, but in order to preserve a little bit of sanity for everyone, we highly suggest you submit early.

5. Blah: the nitty gritty
This is different for individuals than organizations, but it could be a good time to think about the residency and fiscal paperwork that is so easy to put off until the last minute. For individuals, we will need a proof of residency. If you’re applying on behalf of a fiscal sponsorship or with a nonprofit partner, we’ll need that info too. For organizations, we need proof of nonprofit status, organizational budgets, etc. Full requirements are in the guidelines. If you’re a current grantee, make sure you’re up on your reporting.

6. Have fun!
Grant writing is not ALL a bum out. Hopefully starting early, peering through the lens of the dreamy, creative artist will help you remember how much you love to do what you do, and that will in turn inform your grant writing. We look forward to working with you this summer, fall and beyond!

Morgan Lindsey Tachco is a creative administrator, actor and writer. She joined Brooklyn Arts Council in 2008 and filled several roles in the Grants and Arts in Education Departments prior to becoming the Grants Program Manager in 2013 and is now Grants and Services Director. Morgan oversees BAC’s grantmaking and Creative Coalitions programs, and serves as a general resource and matchmaker for artists and organizations across the city. She lives and loves in NYC with Zooey, her fuzziest and best friend. 

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