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March 17, 2016

Grant-Writing Tips and Tricks

Grant-Writing Tips and Tricks

This is the first in a series of blog articles leading up to the next Artists in the Classroom (AIC) grant application deadline. This series is intended to help raise awareness about AIC grants, spark exciting project ideas and help translate those ideas onto paper. Visit to find the Eligibility Quiz, Grant Guidelines and Application Form, Frequently Asked Questions and more.

Feeling overwhelmed about writing a grant application? Not sure how to present your idea? You're in luck! There are many people out there who have dedicated their lives to the art of grant-writing. And some of them have been nice enough to share their expertise.

Below you will find links to articles that provide tips and tricks for writing grant applications. Each writer comes from a different perspective and has experience in a different area. You might not find everything applicable to helping with your Artists in the Classroom application, but there are some great gems here.


Show Me the Money: Tips and Resources for Successful Grant Writing by Linda Starr, Education World

From the article:

"Make sure everyone who will be involved in implementing the project also is involved in the application process."

"Read the funder's guidelines carefully—and follow them exactly."


Writing the Perfect Grant—Part 1: The Narrative by Mary Ann S. Anderson, Little Dog Creative Consulting

From the article:

"Bottom line, the key concepts for writing: clarity (no jargon or artspeak!), brevity, relevance, factual (if you haven't fully worked out an aspect of the project, just say that, don't lie), engaging (personal stories, examples or quotes to back up a point)."


Artist Grant Proposal Writing Handbook by First Peoples' Cultural Council

From the article:

"You may already have a well-developed idea of your project in your head, but you will likely need time to translate your vision into words on a page. Beginning to write requires that you allow yourself to get your ideas out, without the pressure of having your thoughts come out perfectly on the first go. It is often useful to allow your mind to wander freely and write down all the thoughts that come to you, without judging your ideas or your writing."


What do Winning Proposals Have In Common? by Gary Carnow, Scholastic

From the article:

"Winning proposals are written in positive terms. Some writers believe that if you describe how bleak a situation is, someone will throw money at you to solve your problems. This is not true. Funders hedge their bets by backing proposals that describe worthwhile programs that will meet identified needs and match the criteria set forth by the grant-maker."


Grant Applications: 5 Mistakes Not to Make by Molly Sheridan, NewMusicBox

From the article:

"Starting early and submitting your materials well in advance of the deadline arguably increases the chances you will get a grant, as it leaves time for calmly reading the instructions and double checking your application, asking colleagues and the granting organization questions, and correcting your application should the granter notice you've left out an important piece of information."


There are also tons of books written about effective grant-writing. Check out your local library to see what resources they have. Many are also available in ebook format online. One example of a great resource (last updated in 2014) is The Only Grant-Writing Book You'll Ever Need by Ellen Karsh and Arlen Sue Fox.

Now that you've uncovered the some of secrets of grant-writing, it's time to apply them to your project! Start by taking the AIC Eligibility Quiz to find out if you're a good candidate for an Artists in the Classroom grant. Then read the full grant guidelines and familiarize yourself with the application form (in one document here).

Questions? Contact Laura Aliaga, Grants Manager at or 604-336-0626 ext 110.


Read other posts in this series:

  1. Grant-Writing Tips and Tricks
  2. AIC Project Inspiration
  3. Why Bring Artists into Your Classroom?
  4. From the Jury Box
  5. The Creative Process
  6. Common Application Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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