|Make sure your project is original.
Research distributors interested in your topic and read their
catalogs. Talk to organizations or individuals who know the
subject. Survey selected members of your intended audience.
||Don't assume your project is
original just because you want to produce it.
|Research each foundation carefully.
Gain a full understanding of each foundation's mission. Take
the time to look at what the foundation has funded over the
last two years, where it has made grants, and the size of those
grants. In your cover letter, ask for an amount within that
giving range that will underwrite something specific
in your line item budget. For example, if the foundation generally
awards grants in the $5,000 range, pick one $5,000 item the
grant could cover entirely.
||Don't be dissuaded by a
foundation's lack of experience with media grants, especially
if your project looks like a good match. But, if a foundation
has no demonstrated interest in your topic or target audience,
|Try to contact the program
officer and see if he/she will discuss your project before
you apply to see if it is a potential match. This will probably
only work at medium-sized or smaller foundations. Large foundations
will want to see a letter of inquiry (LOI).
||Don't call a program officer
too frequently and never ask a question that is already
covered in any of the print materials. This is a fast way to
have them lose interest in you and your project.
|Think about what your project
can do for the foundation. Put yourself in the grantmaker's
shoes. Why would the organization invest in your project? Discuss
how your project can help the organization further their goals.
||Don't forget that it's
the job of foundations to give away money to projects that further
their goals. They are looking for the right investments.
|Present a complete, well-written
proposal. If you're not a great writer, team up with one.
Follow the foundation's specific guidelines. Make sure your
writing is concise, direct and compelling. Look at A
Media Proposal Checklist to see what foundations are looking
for in a proposal.
||Don't forget that defining
your audience, outreach and distribution are the most important
parts of your written proposal.
|Make sure your sample tape
and work samples look great inside and out. The tape need
not be lengthy, but it should represent you and your work in
the best light. Simple attractive packaging is appropriate.
If you want the tape returned, be sure to include a self-addressed
||Don't send a low-resolution
sample tape or work sample if you can possibly avoid it.
Grantmakers have limited or no experience in production. They
think the final tape will look like the samples you send—so send
tapes that put your best foot forward.
|Call your program officer after
submitting your application but before the panel meets. Make
sure the proposal arrived safely and then ask if the program
officer has any questions or concerns that you can address.
||Do not expect the foundation
to get back to you with any mistakes a grantmaker finds
in your proposal or with any questions that might arise from
your narrative or budget.
|Call the foundation if your
project is rejected. If the program officer will take your
call, thank the foundation for considering your proposal, then
politely ask for any additional information on why you were
rejected or request any panel notes. This feedback can assist
you greatly as you write future grants.
||Never make a follow-up call
when you are angry. Never berate a foundation for not granting
you funds, and do not try to change their minds.
|Send a written thank-you note
whether you get the grant or not. Grantseeking is about relationship
building. You may apply again or meet the program officer again
in your career.
||Don't hesitate to apply
to the same foundation more than once. Every grant cycle is