10 Application Tips for NEFA's Grant Programs
Before applying to NEFA’s grant programs, be sure to do the following:
- FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE GRANT PROGRAM FOR WHICH YOU ARE APPLYING.
Read the guidelines—including the funding criteria, eligibility, priorities, and goals—of the program. Changes are made regularly to every program, so review the guidelines at the beginning of each grant cycle. Does your project proposal align with the goals of that program? Does your project fit the timeframe specifications of the program? Contact the appropriate NEFA staff if you are not sure about eligibility.
Do some research on NEFA grantees. Reading about the artists, projects, and presenting organizations who have recently received funding will help you become familiar with the scale, scope, and genre of the work that is supported by the program.
- UNDERSTAND WHAT IS REQUIRED TO FULFILL THE GRANT AWARD.
Before applying, be sure that you will be able to comply with NEFA’s grant regulations if awarded. NEFA’s programs generally require a final report, funder crediting on web and printed materials, and documentation of the project. Failure to comply may result in a cancellation of the grant.
- MARK YOUR DEADLINE DATE.
Deadline dates change annually, so check the guidelines early on. Give yourself plenty of time to fill in and submit the application and plan on submitting in advance of the deadline date. That way, if you have a problem, NEFA staff will be able to help you. Click on a grant from our list of grants and programs to find guidelines and deadlines.
- REVIEW AND BEGIN TO GATHER REQUIRED MATERIALS FOR SUBMISSION.
Start an application as early as possible so that you can identify forms that need to be included with the application and other required information. Starting an application is as simple as entering a Project Title and saving. Taking this initial step will allow you to refer back to the application as often as you like while you pull together all the necessary information.
Application requirements may change with every grant cycle and may include EIN and DUNS numbers, Section 504 Self-Evaluation Workbook, nonprofit status forms or fiscal sponsorship, resumes, and artist statements or biographies. Check to see if letters of support or recommendation are required and give those contacts time to get these materials back to you for submission.
- ANSWER THE QUESTIONS.
Give the information that is asked for. Review panelists are looking for specific answers to the questions asked on the application. Make sure that you are giving precisely the information requested with as much detail as the space allows.
- READ ALL ONLINE SUBMISSION DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY.
Required fields must be filled in or the form will not submit.
Narrative questions should be reviewed carefully. Your responses should relate to the criteria and funding priorities of the program, as well as the mission and goals of the organization. Be clear and direct in your answers. The panelists have many applications to evaluate. Pay attention and adhere to character and word counts. Have someone else read and provide feedback for clarity and responsiveness to the questions.
- READ ALL WORK SAMPLE DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY.
Format your work sample exactly as stipulated in the directions. If possible, edit it to the required time period; otherwise, clearly mark the selected time. Many of the programs at NEFA do not accept promotional videos. Again, have someone else look at the sample to see if they find it compelling; it should support and enhance what you have written in your proposal. Finally, retest the link, password, and/or DVD to make sure that it works.
- SAVE OFTEN.
It is unlikely that you will complete the form in one sitting. Therefore, save often to avoid losing your work if you are timed out or if you need to continue at another time. Unfortunately, the website may not give you a warning that it is timing out. It is a good idea to save frequently, especially after you have entered a significant amount of information. Also, it may help to draft your responses in a separate document. You can copy your responses in the website as you complete the online application to prevent losing your work.
- CHECK YOUR APPLICATION BEFORE SUBMISSION.
When you are ready to submit your application, check for the following:
- Required fields are filled in correctly.
- Spelling is correct (use spell check) and character counts are met.
- Contact information is correct.
- Attachments are uploaded.
- Work sample links are working.
- CONTACT US!
Finally, if you have any problems, contact the appropriate NEFA staff. We are here to help you!