Grant Writing Cheat Sheet

In case you missed it, Gail Marlene Schwartz, grant writer and copy writer of Gail Writes, recently wrote an article about grant writing for artists, effective copy writing, and even rolled out her special discounts just for folks in the Starry Night community. If you haven’t read all about her great work and her time at Starry Night, check it out here

But in case you missed it, she also has graciously given us a simple Grant Writing Cheat Sheet. Scroll down to view the best practices for writing a solid, competitive application for a grant.

We hope this helps you to apply with confidence for your next grant!

This is just a taste of the resources that we have put together in our comprehensive online training course, Artist Resource & Tools.  If you are done wondering how to get ahead as an artist, make this year your year to launch your career and  really grow.

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Gail on Grants

Intimidated to apply for a grant? Writing stress you out? Worried you don’t have what it takes to get funded? The good news is that most artists can learn the skills necessary to put together a competitive grant application. Here are a few tips I’ve gathered from my many years of both writing my own applications and helping clients with theirs:

1) Read, read, read.

First, borrow some successful grant applications from friends to read over. You’ll get familiar with different styles and what works. Then, make sure you read all about the funder you’re considering, especially the application form. Some artists have the bad habit of skimming grant application forms because they are often long. But it pays to read carefully. Read especially for the funder’s criteria and deadlines. I suggest printing out a few copies and throwing them into a three-ring binder where you can also insert some pocket folders for supporting materials later.

2) Call first

Phone the funder if a number is provided and if the application indicates calling is appropriate. Eligibility is the main issue at this phase; make sure you’ve read those criteria before phoning so you’re not making extra work for anybody.

3) Simple and concise

Committees awarding funding want to know, in as few words as possible, who you are and what your project is about. Using fancy language or jargon gets in the way. Aim to be clear and provide specific examples and descriptions. After finishing, let your completed application sit for a few days and then re-read for edits.

4) Three sets of eyes

When you are finished with your revisions, have two colleagues or friends read both the application form and your answers. It’s better if one of these people is not working in the same discipline as you. Integrate their feedback as you judge appropriate.

5) Follow instructions…to the letter

If a funder wants you to format with six inch margins, use Lucida Bright font and print out seventeen copies for committee members, do it. Send your package in well in advance of the due date. Unless otherwise indicated, send final drafts electronically as PDF files.

6) Can I get a witness?

Make it a habit to ALWAYS get testimonials or letters of recommendation after completing a project to have some on hand. If you need specific letters for a grant, give the person you’re asking a month to complete the task, with a deadline attached; make the deadline a week before you actually need it in case the person is late.


Want help with your application? Email me and mention you’re part of the Starry Night community and you’ll get a special rate.


Happy grantwriting!

Gail Marlene Schwartz


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