If you’re a professional artist, chances are you’re going to have to put together a formal proposal at some point in your career. And the difference between a great proposal and one that’s perhaps not so great can make all the difference in advancing your next project. But what kinds of proposals are out there, what makes a proposal stand out in all the right ways and how do you craft a message that will help your project get noticed?
Jennifer Young is the Executive Director of Business & Arts NL, and a skilled facilitator and proposal writer who brings a wealth of experience working with business and arts organizations across the country. On Wednesday, November 15, she will share her expertise as she leads a session in grant proposal writing at the Neal Building on Harbour Drive in downtown St. John’s. Recently, Jennifer took some time out to offer a few quick tips in advance of her workshop.
Business & Arts NL: For some, especially those who have never written a proposal before, the process may seem a bit daunting. Are there any tips you can offer first-timers to help make the process go a bit smoother?
Jennifer Young: The most important thing to know when writing a proposal is it must be focused, well written and speaks specifically to the funding source. The funding source can be a whole myriad of places – government, private foundations, investors – whoever they are seeking funds from. The point of the workshop is to teach the attendee how to apply to all kinds of funding sources.
Business & Arts NL: When it comes to artists preparing project proposals, is there any room for them to employ their creativity to help them stand out from the crowd, or should they leave the bells and whistles behind?
JY: There is always room for creating an individual message and customized project – but if you are proposing to do something that is of no interest to the funder, you will not get funded. Your project needs to stand out, but it must also show that you have customized the request to fit the interests of the funding source and/or the granting body criteria.
Business & Arts NL: In your experience, what are a couple of the most common mistakes people make when putting together a proposal?
JY: The worst proposals are poorly written with spelling and grammar mistakes – documents that have obviously been slapped together at the last minute.
Business & Arts NL: What, in your view, makes a proposal awesome?
JY: An awesome proposal is one that is clear, well written and easy to understand.
Workshop: Grant Proposal Writing
Date/Time: Wednesday, November 15 from 1pm-5pm
Location: Neal Building, Fourth Floor, 50 Harbour Drive
Price: $10 Business & Arts NL members/$15 non-members
Advance registration is required. Click here to register.
Note: This session will be preceded by “How to Finance Your Arts, Craft or Creative Enterprise” with Carolyn Wakeham of Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) from 9:30am to 11am in the same location. This session is $5 for Business & Arts NL members and $10 for non-members. Advance registration is required.
For more information on both sessions, please click here.