Irene Lemon is our fabulously experienced regional creative industries business advisor who loves start-ups and freelance businesses. She is phenomenal at grant and tender writing, and is a fan of social entrepreneurs and female-driven businesses. Irene is based in lovely downtown Armidale, and in addition to advising our clients she is a music producer, performer and llama lover.
It’s almost Happy New Year time!
Just like the elves workshop at the north pole, it’s getting busy here in creative industries land too! We see so many makers, creators and craftspeople whipped to a frenzy by the Christmas trade opportunities, not to mention all the creative services consultants racing to the December deadline so they can have everything neatly sewn up before the holiday lull… so it’s probably the last thing on your minds to be thinking about grants, awards, prizes, and residencies!
However, it is precisely this time for you to think about the 2018 calendar and start jotting down your professional development ideas. The lull that may be coming up for some of you also gives you the time that you need to dream a little bit, reflect on the things that didn’t work for you this year and the opportunities you didn’t have enough time to take advantage of. Grants, prizes and residencies are cyclical, and you can spend time over the summer preparing for the next turn in the cycle.
TIP ONE – GET READY!
This means prepping your Grant File. This nifty tool can help you to plan your fun adventures into grant-land. Here are the bare minimum things to have in your Grant File to help you prepare:
- CV (different versions)
- Biography (different versions)
- Portfolio (including a snazzy online website version)
- Research results (who is funded by whom, and what opportunities are out there)
- Thesis Statement – think of this as your elevator pitch or 100 word project description. This is the question you want to answer or the hypothesis you wish to research
- Shelf Project – this is an overview of the entire project, from your ABN and bank account details to the expected or desired project outcomes. Go to town here and populate as much information as you possibly can! I have a brilliant template to help you compile a shelf project, which I use as the base document to order my thoughts before the applications are open. Then I tailor my shelf project to meet the selection criteria. It’s easier than starting from scratch
- Budget! How much will your idea cost, and what income potential exists outside of the grant monies? Get some quotes too, for capital items or supplies.
- Letters of Support, references and project references/partnership MOUs.
Crickey! So much to do… and we haven’t even got to the turkey yet!
TIP TWO – MARKET RESEARCH
Develop a dossier of successful residency stories based on who funders picked in the last rounds. For instance, check out Gerwin Davies, the inaugural Kyoto Art Center Exchange, Japan residency. As part of your research, also look at the opportunities on offer.
TIP THREE – SUCCESS STORIES
Funders love success, and they want to give their money to people with a proven track record of getting things done. It’s time to gather up your success stories, turn them into a case study or request a testimonial and refresh your CV, so make it the number one task in your calendar… and notice that this work can be started before the applications open (hint hint)
TIP FOUR – GET ORGANISED
Get your filing under control now. Save things into digital folders with meaningful file names, keep all the “bits” together. Practice good digital hygiene (backups baby), because you will be reapplying! And if you’ve avoided the Cloud, now is the time to investigate Google Drive or Dropbox. It will change your life.
TIP FIVE – GRANT CALENDAR
Your market research, and the results, help you understand what opportunities are available, what funders want and who they have funded in the past. It’s now time to take that research and turn it into action steps – and that means a basic grant calendar. Here’s an example:
Now you’ll need to dedicate time to reviewing your calendar, include it in your monthly and weekly tasks and break your goals down into little chunks so the whole task doesn’t eat you alive!
TIP SIX – ALL THE REST
Residencies, fellowships, prizes, awards, bursaries, matched funds … all of these opportunities occur throughout the year, and require your attention. Think about which ones you’re interested in, and add them to your calendar to they don’t take you by surprise.
There are so many opportunities to pursue, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Start with YOU first. What do you want? What do you need? Be discerning about which opportunities match your goals. Don’t try and apply for everything!
It’s really important to be focused on the parts of those processes you can control… which is getting the best possible application in on time!
A note from Irene and the Team – Many merry Festivus feelings for you, and here’s to Chardonnay, Chocolate and BBQ prawns, and a Happy New Year!