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Winter 2002

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Grantwriting Tips

Don’t send an application for WVCA grants without first contacting staff.
If you have questions about the eligibility of your proposal or the deadline, contact the arts staff. They will discuss your ideas and, if necessary, direct you to appropriate sources. You may also submit a draft application for comments. Consultation with staff members does not guarantee that your proposal will be funded, but it may help you focus your proposal more clearly.

Get it in the mail on time.
The WVCA deadline is a postmark deadline. Late applications will not be reviewed. An institution’s metered postmark is not acceptable; applications must be postmarked by the postal service. Have your proposal hand cancelled if necessary.

Use the correct application form(s).
If you are unsure which form(s) to use, check the program descriptions or contact arts staff.

Use clear, concise language.
The members of the WVCA read over 200 applications each year, so it is important to describe your program briefly and clearly.

Don’t assume that the WVCA is familiar with you, your organization, or your project.
Background information puts your proposal in context.

Send slides with your application.
Previously-submitted slides/photos will not be pulled from the files by Arts staff to be added to your application.

Answer all required questions in your narrative.
This is your chance to sell your project!

Use Your Checklist! Include all required supplemental materials.
That includes your current board list, financial statement, 501- c status documentation, signed artists’ contracts, printers’ estimates, letters of support, marketing plan, etc. Incomplete applications will be reviewed as a lower priority. If you cannot submit any of these materials with the application, explain why in a cover letter and include the date (prior to May 1) when these materials will be submitted.

Document matching funds.
For example, if you list a business or foundation’s support under the Income section of your application, include with your application a copy of the letter from them declaring their intention to contribute the amount indicated.

If you are creating opportunities for artists or forging new alliances, show it.
Get letters of support from everyone with whom you are working — artists, arts organizations, businesses, schools, state agencies, etc.

The contact person identified in the proposal should not receive money through the grant.
This is a conflict of interest.

Type it. Handwritten applications will not be accepted.
Your application and support materials will be photocopied many times. Please submit clear, legible information. WVCA grant applications are available on our website. These applications may be downloaded or scanned for use on your computer. Be sure to submit an original print with original signatures.

Sign the application.
A person who is authorized to legally obligate your organization must sign applications.

Have someone proofread your application.
A proofreader should be able to understand the project from your description. Have them check spelling and math. Spelling and math errors don’t reflect well on an organization.

Make copies of everything for your files.

Please do not staple or bind your application or supplementary materials. Use paper clips.

Prepare your budget carefully.
• Never allow your expenses to be larger than your income.
• Specify your costs, even if they are estimates, and be specific about where grant funds are going.
• Keep your budget realistic. Unrealistic budgets don’t reflect well on an applicant’s financial management ability.

Send only one application.
Only one application is allowed from each organization per fiscal year. This rule applies to the general grants program, not to pilot programs and other special opportunities.

Remember, each application must stand or fall on its own merit. The WVCA grants program is highly competitive. If your application is not funded, or only partially funded, make sure you understand why. All applicants should receive notification of the status of their application in July. You should also receive a grant item sheet listing items funded or not funded, and the reasons for the WVCA’s decisions. If a panel reviewed your application, you will receive their comments as well. If you need more details, contact the arts staff. You are encouraged to review and incorporate any constructive comments into your next application.