Resources for Artists: Grant Writing
I’m about to make a few assumptions.
Prepare yourself accordingly, and let’s dive in.
- You are an artist or representative of an arts organization, based in Brooklyn or the surrounding New York Area.
- You have a creative idea or mission you would like to see come to fruition.
- You need money.
I know, I know. How DOES she do it? I could go into my deduction process in depth, but that’d take a while and I’m under a strict character limit.
If the assumptions I made above are true, there’re some resources in and around the city that exist with the sole purpose of helping you (YES, YOU!) achieve the funding necessary to realize your vision. BAC Grants wants to point you in their direction, because, as you hopefully already know, we want you to succeed!
BAC Grants tries to be as transparent as possible about our funding process, but we understand that what goes on behind the closed panel doors can still seem like a mystery from time to time. Applicants call or email with relative frequency to ask what they can do to make their applications more competitive. Here are a couple suggestions:
1. Start working on your application as early as possible.
While questions on the application may change from year to year as we (and other funding organizations) fine-tune our processes, the general type of information requested remains pretty consistent. If you start pulling this narrative together months ahead of the deadline, then you’ll have time for multiple drafts. BAC grants applications will go live later this summer, so remember to check the website regularly for updates.
2. Sign up for a draft review with Brooklyn Arts Council Grants Staff.
Once the applications go live on our website, BAC Grants Staff offer 30 minute application draft reviews for potential applicants. The only requirements are that a) the artist or organization be applying for one of our programs for the current grant cycle, b) they complete a draft with enough time for staff to review it before the appointment, c) they show up! For more information about Draft Reviews, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“But, Sophie!” you say. “We are not applying for a BAC grant this year, but would appreciate feedback on another application.”
Well, friend. I am sorry to say that we at BAC Grants cannot help you there. But do not despair, as there are other organizations who can!
The Foundation Center (which recently moved from 5th Avenue to a new location in the Financial District) is full of dedicated professionals whose job it is to help you with your funding search. Apart from their extensive grant library, access to which is free in-person (and you have the option of purchasing an online account for remote access), The Foundation Center offers a slew of “How To” seminars on multiple different topics related to the application process. Information about these seminars can be found here.
If you are looking for a quick answer to a specific question, however, and don’t have the time for a full-length seminar, a good potential source is managementhelp.org. They have assembled a comprehensive list of grant writing questions and topics.
A final important resource to you in your quest for funding is…YOUR FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES!
Never under-estimate the power of a good proofread.
Once you have a draft of your application, share it with a friend whose opinion you value but who is not necessarily as involved or familiar with the project as you are. This allows you the opportunity to catch some lingo that makes perfect sense to you, the creator, but might require clarification for the sake of the panelists.
I will leave you to navigate the dark waters of grant writing with the following rule of thumb:
The panel will not fund what they don’t understand.
Sophie Kurtze is new to the role of Grants Assistant with Brooklyn Arts Council, after completing a year-long Arts Administration internship with The Juilliard School Drama Division. A jack of all theatre trades, Sophie is a Technical Collaborator with the New York Neo-Futurists, as well as a freelance producer and sound designer. If she has a minute to spare, you can probably find her watching a BBC documentary on YouTube. Sophie holds a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College, where she primarily studied Theatre Production and Human Rights.