There are just a few weeks left until the October 26th deadline for all Queens Arts Fund grants. We asked QAF panelists what they felt makes a competitive application!

Here are a few tips to help you before you hit submit!

1. Follow Instructions

The guidelines and eligibility requirements for each of the four grants are listed on the Queens Arts Fund website. With your project in mind, make sure that what you’re looking to have funded is eligible under the grants’ guidelines. You can use QAF grants to fund:

Artist fees

Administrative fees

Venue fees

Equipment rentals

Art supplies and office supplies

Marketing and promotional costs

All projects must have a culminating event that is open and accessible to the general public in Queens, that must take place in the 2018 calendar year.

Make sure these elements are addressed in your narrative!

2. Write A Clear And Concise Narrative

Your project narrative is your opportunity to answer all of the questions panelists may have about your project proposal. Along with the describing what your project is and where and when it will happen, you’ll also be asked to tell the panel why your project should be funded – both to culturally enrich the borough of Queens, and in helping you grow as an artist or an organization.

…Use Simple, Understandable Language

The grant selection panel is made up of members of the Queens arts community – artists, art administrators and community members. While they have a lot of arts experience, don’t assume that they will always know what you’re talking about. Avoid flowery language and too many technical terms, and stick to concrete explanations that will be easy for the panel to understand, and make it easier for them to vouch for your project!

One Panelist said, “A fundable proposal is one that presents a clear and specific vision of what the project will be and demonstrates that the potential grantee has done some homework already. Proposals that are too general or provide too few details make me assume that the writer has not thought the project through and may not understand what it takes to plan and complete a project.”

 3. Get A Second Set Of Eyes and Proofread

After you’ve finished your draft proposal narrative, have someone not connected with your project take a look. Whether it’s a friend, a colleague, or anyone else, ask them to see if they understand what you’re trying to say, and to make sure you’re not making any assumptions of your readers that will make your proposal confusing.

It’s easy to miss these things after working on your narrative for a long time, so use that second set of eyes to read and identify anything you might have missed.

4. Reach Out To Your Network And Community

QCA requires 25% of your project be funded from outside sources from private or individual contributions, or a crowd funding campaign, or funds earned from charging admission or sales of work. Another great source of outside funding are local businesses, your local legislator, or other foundation grants. Reach out to your network and the community you’re hoping to work with, and see if they will be able to contribute anything to your project.

And keep in mind – if they can’t donate any money, there are other ways they can help. Perhaps they can help you secure a venue, provide some in-kind donations, or help you spread the word and promote your culminating event!

5. Avoid Budget Mistakes

There is nothing that will hurt your application more than an incorrect budget. Make sure that all of your expenses are itemized and clear, and that the dollar amounts are correct. The panel is looking for a practical and feasible budget, to make sure that your project makes sense and has been well thought-out.

And remember that QAF requires 25% of your project’s budget come from outside sources. Be sure to double check your math when finalizing your budget, to make sure you meet that requirement!

6. Make Sure Your Support Materials Are In Order

QCA will ask that you provide some supplemental materials to support your application. Organizations will need to submit documentation proving your or your fiscal sponsor’s nonprofit status, along with board of director’s list, and resumes of key personnel and participating artist. Use the instructions on the supplemental section as a checklist on the application, to make sure that you have all of the materials required.

And a note about work samples –

Along with making sure to provide the proper file format, make sure work samples are recent enough to show the panel what your practice is.  Your work samples should be of high quality and exemplify the work that you create. There is nothing worse than a work sample that has poor lighting that does not do your work justice!

#1 Grant Mistake

Missing The Deadline!

The deadline is Thursday, October 26th at 5 PM.

Don’t forget to hit submit!

Best of luck with your application!

If you have questions-

You can reach Lynn at llobell@queenscouncilarts.org or 347 505 3015 and Dan at dbamba@queenscouncilarts.org or 347 505 3017.

Do you have any other tips or tricks that you think may help your fellow applicants? Share them with us below!