You’ve look deeply into your soul and determined your passion, your project, your commitment, and your readiness. (That was yesterday, in part one.) You’ve settled on a grant possibility that’s just right for you. Now what?
Examine the grant carefully. WHAT DO THEY WANT? Become an expert on this. Read everything on the website; check out past recipients; make sure you understand the guidelines. Are you eligible? Is there a fee? The most frequent mistake is to ignore their rules. They really do seem to care about that stuff. Who knew?
Pay attention to deadlines. Chart your calendar. Plan ahead. Break the process down into smaller objectives: do you need references? Tax forms? Give yourself plenty of time. Don’t wait for the last day. (I am trying to learn to take my own advice. This one is particularly difficult.)
Cultivate allies. You may need letters of references. In that case, be sure to be specific in your request, and give people an adequate length of time to respond. Be appreciative of any help others give you, and help others as you can. Be in it for the long haul.
Update and customize your resume. Make sure it’s formatted appropriately for your field. Do they ask for a resume or for a CV? Don’t be shy about recording your accomplishments, and do proofread carefully for style and accuracy. A good-looking resume beats a head shot any day. Even with cleavage.
Formulate a budget. Do you need help with this? Ask a friend who’s good with financials. Don’t undercut yourself—you’ll betray your inexperience if you don’t account for reasonable expenses—but do be resourceful. Some grantors may request or require that you find outside sources help fund your project.
Tackle the application with confidence. Below are a few tips that will help you do that.
These people want to give you money. Help them do it!
What’s the main thing? APPLY. You can’t win if you don’t try. (Thanks, Jennifer Simpson, for the reminder!)
A few more general ideas?
SUMMER WOOD is grateful to have received grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, A Room of Her Own Foundation, and other philanthropic organizations. Her second novel, Raising Wrecker, was written with the help of the $50,000 Literary Gift of Freedom from AROHO, and is due out in paperback from Bloomsbury in September. Learn more about her atwww.summerwoodwrites.com.