5 tips for writing music grant applications

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Cultivating a successful career in music can often come at a pretty high price, but luckily private institutions and sometimes even governments have grants available that can help foot some of the bill. Here we take a look at three important tips for writing a successful grant application.

Guest post by Sayana of Flypaper by Soundfly

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Getting your music career off the ground can be expensive – no matter how many skills and how much time you have, there will inevitably come a time when you will need to pay someone to help you.

Fortunately, government or private institution grants are a viable option for many and can help make a huge difference in your ability to bring your projects to life. The only problem is that they are very competitive. In order to receive grant money to finance your next musical project, your application must stand out and convince the jury that your music deserves to be supported.

So, let’s go over some tips that can help you make sure you’re doing everything in your power to receive the funding you’re applying for.

1. Read (all) instructions

With every grant you plan to apply for will come with a pile of paperwork – and while it can be tempting to skip the reading, the details are extremely important.

First of all you want make sure you are eligible for funding. Many grants have very specific criteria, such as your age, region, education, professional accomplishments, past accomplishments, etc. Don’t waste your time applying if you don’t qualify; believe me, juries will never let something pass their attention.

Then you want to carefully read all the supporting documents for be sure to submit all items requested by the jury. They may need things like an .mp3 file, lyrics, a marketing plan, or a budget. You can submit the most amazing song, but if you accidentally miss any of the components, your entry will automatically be added to the “Rejected” pile.

Reading the guidelines will also help you get a feel for exactly what the jury is looking for and understand their assessment criteria. Pay attention to the keywords and the language they use. For example, they can search for “emerging” and “promising” artists. In your application, make sure you clearly state what makes you a emerging Where promising artist.

Jurors will most likely go through your nomination rather than read it carefully, so you want to make it as easy as possible for them to take note of the information they are looking for.

2. Be specific

A good music grant application is essentially an explanation of why do you need money and how you plan to use it. Jurors will want to know that they are giving money to someone who has thought carefully about their music career and made a plan to move it forward.

This means that your plan must be incredibly detailed and specific. Take this opportunity to show the jurors that you’ve done your homework, that you know what you’re doing, and that you know how to use the money wisely.

What does it mean?

Rather than saying that you would like to use the grant money to “promote your music”, include a list of marketing efforts you can plan to pay – like photography, videography, graphic design, social media advertising, hiring a PR agency, etc. – and if possible get preventive quotes of these stakeholders. Be sure to itemize any specific amounts and, if you can, name the specific vendors you plan to work with.

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3. Be realistic

Most grants will specify a maximum amount they can offer, so make sure that the expenses you have included in your plan don’t exceed that amount. When developing a plan for how you would spend the grant money, it’s important to be realistic about two things:

  • How much you can realistically accomplish with the amount you request.
  • Activities in which you should invest at this point in your music career.

It’s also a good idea to do some research to get a feel for the cost of things. For example, a marketing plan that allocates $ 50 for a music video just won’t be taken seriously by the jury, because a professional video usually costs a lot more. On the other hand, you probably don’t need $ 5,000 for a cover photo shoot.

Your plan’s activities and related expenses should also reflect where you are as an artist. The jury will be able to tell from other sections of your application – or maybe even a simple Google search – what you have accomplished so far and what should be your next steps. For example, don’t ask for a grant to help fund a world tour if you’ve never played a single show outside of your hometown.

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4. Mention the team members

This is often what differentiates a successful grant application from an unsuccessful application. The truth is, your music career isn’t the job of one person – it takes a whole team of people who specialize in something you don’t have the skills or the time to do.

Mentioning these people in your grant application will increase your chances of being approved because it tells the jury two things:

  • You are ready to take your music career to the next level and you understand that you cannot do it alone.
  • You have people in your corner who believe in your music and want to be a part of your success as a musician.

If you’re just starting out, you might not have an official team yet, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have people supporting you. Think about everyone involved in your project – This may be someone who supervises you, a collaborater, Where someone you hire for a specific service.

If you haven’t involved anyone yet, mention the people you plan to work with. Just make sure you’ve told them about your project first, and Avoid letting down top industry professionals if you don’t have a relationship with them.

5. Pay attention to details

The most important aspect of your grant application is, of course, the content. However, the way it is presented also has a big impact on your chances of being approved.

It means that the request must be well written and easy to digest, it must be fluid and must not contain any grammatical or spelling errors. If you are not a strong writer, consider having someone edit your application for you. At the very least, have a friend proofread it for any glaring mistakes.

If you can afford it, wrapping your app in a cohesive and visually appealing format can really make it stand out. This can be a professionally designed .pdf document that reflects your artist brand or even a dedicated page on your website. If you choose to go this route, just make sure the application guidelines allow for that kind of flexibility (sometimes all they want is you to fill out an online form).

One last tip …

If you can’t remember anything else from this guide, remember this: start working on your grant application as early as possible. It is not something that you can leave until the last minute.

Make sure you review the application requirements at least two months before the due date to give yourself plenty of time to put together everything you need. You may find that the application requires letters of reference, in which case you will need some time to ask for your references and give them a chance to write something. Or what if the app requires a link to your website, but yours is extremely outdated (or maybe you don’t have one at all).

Starting early will give you plenty of time to fill in gaps like this.

Hope these tips will help you improve your chances of getting financing. Good luck with your grant application and your music career beyond!

Sayana is a contemporary R&B singer-songwriter based in Toronto, Canada. When not making music, she creates personal development content and navigates her life as a musician. Instagram and website.



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