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Conference Morsel: Top Five Tips for Grant Application Writing

(An excerpt from the interest session “ I Want Free Money! Grants for Choirs,” presented by Chris Clark during the 2014 ACDA Eastern Division Conference)
 
       Grant writing by choral directors is often a necessary evil, deriving from the desire to see ensembles progress farther than ticket sales and dues allow. Ideally, directors should ask choir members if any have experience in this fastidious realm of fund raising.  As this is not always an optimal arrangement, here are the top 5 tips for choral directors applying to grants.
 
#1. Have the preliminary materials ready before applying.  These materials, required by most grants, include a project description, organization budget, project budget, proof of 501(c)(3) status, and supplementary materials such as recordings or programs.
 
#2. Apply to a number of different grants for one project.  Most granting organizations can't fund an entire project, and look favorably upon submissions that don't assume full funding. Utilize multiple local and regional grants for financing.
 
#3. Use the internet to recommend new funding opportunities. Grantwatch.com, foundationcenter.org, and grants.gov are just some of the sites that can alert users on a daily or weekly basis about grant announcements. 
 
#4. Savor rejection. One regional granting entity had 49 applications for a choral-specific award, of which 9 were partially funded.  This rejection can be a boon if the grantee politely questions why the submission was rejected.  The application can then be tweaked for future submissions.
 
#5. Stand out. Projects that are funded tend to be unique in either the final product or the scheme leading to the final product. Applications that show an exciting conclusion are more apt to be funded.