As with self-promotion, fundraising can take you out of the safety of your studio and into competitive situations that won’t feel comfortable at first. It’s important to not let fear and insecurity show itself in your grant application.
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While conceitedness is almost equally as bad, do not resort to a tone of neediness. Be very clear and matter-of-fact about your efforts and results.
By not applying for grants you are effectively robbing yourself of opportunities. If you are rejected for a grant, do not write it off. Apply again and again and again.
The juries are almost always new each submission period, so you essentially get to start from scratch.
One option for funding is to have a non-profit organisation become your fiscal sponsor.
If your work aligns well with their mission they can be an umbrella for you, opening up opportunities to apply for grants and funding only available to non-profit organisations.
Performing artists and filmmakers have used this method for years.
As your fiscal agent, the grants money would be received by them but dispersed for you.
The non-profit does the bookkeeping for your project and files any necessary forms for the government. They operate a bit like your bank.
One of the final chapters in this book contains a letter which I wrote to the New York Foundation For The Arts. In this letter (which I included in this book as an example for artists, about how to be flexible in your approach), I detailed how I managed to raise $10,000.00 to fund my participation in an international art biennial.
In it I said: “After receiving my invitation to participate in the Biennial, I suggested to a prominent Law firm in Australia that if they sponsored me to go, I would in return give them an artwork, which would be in equal value of the sponsorship. Immediately I received the sponsorship to the value of $10,000.00.
I am amazed how quickly businesses respond to sponsorship requests, when they can see a tangible return. This may give some ideas to those artists who had difficulty raising the money to participate.”
Also consider donations of in-kind goods and services. These contributions come from manufacturers, distributors, stores and professional firms.
You can also identify possible funders by doing a reverse search – look at artists with work and needs like your own and find out who has supported them. Once you have identified potential funders, initiate contact through a query letter or a request for guidelines.
This is a brief letter of introduction no more than two pages in length. It includes: who you are, what you have been doing, a brief proposal summary, the total cost of your project and your funding request.