With a new round of ArtStart funding just around the corner, I’ve been asked to share my successful application and give a few tips. If you’re reading this and thinking about going for all the money you need to transform your life into a non-stop nightmare of responsibility, crippling financial set-backs and feelings of unworthiness like it has mine, hopefully this will help you get there!
Just The Tip(s)
First, here’s the very basics:
- Read EVERYTHING around the grant you intend to submit for, especially eligibility. If you’re not eligible, you will be knocked back, and all your hard work will have amounted to some proposal writing practice. This has happened to me too many times. Well, like three, but it always sucks anyway.
- ArtStart is only for career development. Don’t make the mistake of pitching anything project-oriented to the board, it will be knocked back.
- Especially read what they want to see in your grant proposal. They will always favour certain things in each round, be it community engagement, innovation, whatever, and it tends to change slightly each round. They also post these really detailed documents on how they assessed the last round of grant proposals and what won them over, if you look at the notes from the last two or three you can generally get a good feel for what judges will be impressed by, even though I think they change judges for each round.
- When they outline what questions they want answered in the proposal, use them as subheadings. This isn’t an essay. Cleverly working the answers into a cohesive argument won’t win you any points. What WILL win you points is brevity and readability. Let the assessor arrive at the information they need in the shortest time possible.
- You will be assessed on creative potential, but what is MUCH more important in this case is viability. Wonderful ideas are a dime a dozen, what they want to see is something manageable, that you specifically are the right person to pull off. These proposals are almost like applying for a job that you’ve outlined for yourself.
- A lot of viability will come from providing a detailed budget. Put the time into this, research all possible expenses, provide notes. There is a pre-submit spreadsheet available to you, that you can fill out, and email to someone at the council for checking. DO THIS. I made a few mistakes in my first budget that probably would have cost me the grant if they hadn’t been flagged to me.
- Building on the above point, if you have any questions about eligibility or how you are allowed to use the funds, email the people. They’re nice and helpful, and want you to make your proposal the best it can be, because funding good, well developed ideas is their bread and butter.
Psst… you didn’t hear this from me
Okay, so I have a little insider knowledge on this one. A tiny, tiny amount. But my brother conferred with the fine folks at the Australia Council and found that proposals that are community-minded and innovative, especially in a digital field in some way, are stronger performers lately. Make of this information what you will.
And finally, the $10, 000 document
It can be a lot of work, but if it’s what it takes to make your dreams into a reality, then go for it! There’s no bigger crime in this life than sitting idly by and watching the life you could have had pass you by, so knuckle down and make it happen motherfucker, I believe in you!