Filling out grant applications is one of the most stressful things artists deal with when trying to fund their projects. After all that work, it’s so frustrating when the funding doesn’t come through. Don’t lose hope- there’s still a way to put all that effort to good use! Here’s why you should follow through on your creative project, no matter what… and how to do it:
photo by Markus Spiering
You already have a project plan
You took the time to map out your entire plan, including artistic vision, team, budgets, and locations in your grant application. To waste all that effort because you don’t yet have funding would be a cryin’ shame! Consider your application a work in progress, and shift dates around if necessary while you secure the extra cash to follow through. Or look at ways that you can shave spending out of your budget, through bartering, changing locations, using more affordable team members, or product/manufacturing changes.
It shows others that you do what you say you’re going to do
As part of your project, you probably contacted several people to outline what you intended to do and how you wanted to involve them. If you’ve tentatively lined up a hard-to-get producer, publicist, or agent, and then back out of the project, it will make you seem flaky and unprofessional. It will also hurt your reputation when you go back to apply for another grant and the funding panel sees that you haven’t made any progress since your last application.
It’s important for your morale
Putting something in writing has a major psychological influence on us. It strengthens our commitment to an idea. Not following through with a plan that you’ve worked hard on will make you feel as though you let yourself down. Following through on commitments you made to yourself is even more important than keeping those you made with others. You’ll feel more confident, empowered, and accomplished.
Still stuck? Here are some ideas for other sources of funding:
– Other grants: Are there other Arts Councils or funding bodies you can pitch your project to?
– Crowdfunding: Go to your fans and request assistance with your project such as pre-buying your album.
– Family or close friends: It’s easiest to borrow money from people within your inner circle (as long as you have a reputation for paying back your loans). If you do go for a loan through family or friends, be sure to have a repayment agreement in writing to protect your relationship!
– Private investors: Are there any businesses or people you know with money in your social circle that may be interested in partnering on your project in exchange for some of the profits?
– Fundraiser: Could you throw a fundraising party or concert to raise awareness of your project?
– Personal Loan: Do you have personal financing available, through a line of credit or a small business loan from your bank? It’s always important as a creative entrepreneur to get to know you bank manager! Credit unions or smaller financial institutions are often better are a better option for small businesses than big banks.