Interns- Intro to Grant Writing
- 1 Why Write Grants?
- 2 Define Your Project
- 2.1 Where do I Find Ideas?
- 2.2 Creating a Requirements Matrix:
Why Write Grants?
- Writing a grant for just the money is usually not a recipe for success. Rather, seek out grants that our tied to your goals and aspirations.
- Think of grant writing as a way to fund your personal and professional growth. Grants are an opportunity to better understand your chosen field and are a tool for building and sustaining innovative projects.
Define Your Project
- Take your time and define what you want to accomplish before working on your grant application.
- Ask yourself some basic questions.
Where do I Find Ideas?
1. Identify a Problem
Use literature and research from your field, brainstorming with peers, and personal experiences. Search for issues and obstacles that intrigue and interest you. You could create a list of problems that you face, your field faces, your peers face, your institution faces, etc. and then decided what issue seems the most worthy for your to tackle.
Once you've identified a problem, the next step is to:
2. Frame the problem by asking questions
- What problem I am trying to solve?
- What do I need to solve this problem?
- What will the situation look like if its been addressed?
These questions will hep you frame the parameters of your funding request and help you organize your ideas into actions and tasks.
3. Find Possible Funding Sources
Consider the size of your project:
- You want to have a large enough project so the funding agency sees value in what you are doing. However you don't want the scope or activities of your project to be so large that it becomes unmanageable or appears to lack focus.
- You don't want funding request to seem like non-related activities thrown together. On the other hand, a project that's too narrow may have trouble appealing to the funding agency, because the project won't have a broad enough impact.
- Questions like: Who will be impacted? How many will benefit? How long will it take to solve the problem? Can all help to frame the project's scope.
How Do I Find a Funding Agency?
Michigan State University has a great list for artist grants. http://staff.lib.msu.edu/harris23/grants/3arts.htm
Understanding a Funding Agency:
- A big part of a successful grant is understanding the funding agency. What are their mission and goals? What are the priorities of the organization? What have they funded in the past?
- This knowledge can be gathered through research and active involvement with the agency providing the funding. Start with the organization's website. Many agencies also provide databases of past projects or list past awards as well.
Creating a Requirements Matrix:
Often grant applications are long documents with many sections and it's important to read and understand what is being requested and outlined in each section.
Once you have a feel of the basic idea of the grant, the next step is to create a requirements matrix.
A requirements matrix is a table that list every requirement of the grant application and the corresponding page and paragraph number of the requirement.
Listing all the requirements helps ensure that your grant will be compliant with the request of the funding agency. You may think that locating all the requirements for the funding agency would be straightforward, but sometimes requests are embedded within the language of the grant application.
A requirements matrix becomes especially important if you are working collaboratively, so no one is on the team lets something fail through the cracks.
Steps for Developing a Requirements Matrix:
- Have everyone read the grant application individually
- Identify the requirements of the grant
- Individual team members generate their own matrix and then compare each matrix developed by the group
- If an item is on everyone's list, it's definitely a requirement. If the item is only on one person's list, it needs to be revisited to determine whether or not it's an actual requirement. This process is effective for identifying all that needs to be done to satisfy the funding agency.
Requirements can be broken down into 3 types:
Submission Requirements: items like page count, font sizes, and spacing.
Project Requirements: the requirements that relate to the nature or your project. For example: From a media arts grant from the National Endowment for the Arts: Film/audio/new-media festivals and associated public programing that include artists, critics, and/or scholars