Saturday, 3 October 2009

Eleni-fest: A word on grants

I have to say that I am in no way an expert on grants. I was lucky enough to get grants from two avenues that presented itself this year. But the following are some thoughts I believe a person should keep in mind when contemplating grant applications:

  •  Do your research. There are all sorts of grants available for writers, such as government organisations like Arts SA and Australian Council for the Arts; organisations such as Copyright Agency Limited (CAL), and even local governments.
  • Check eligibility criteria and make sure you fit them. If in doubt, contact the co-ordinator to discuss. 
  • Most grants have set due dates and also dates for when the project/program to be done during a certain period. For example, the RLADT grant I applied for had to be in by the end of March and the project proposal had to be for the period between July 2009 to June 2010. However, there may be ‘emergency’ grants for a lesser amount for situations that come up unexpectedly.
  •  Address the selection criteria thoroughly. Add information that is needed - example a writing CV and examples of your writing. 
  • Be professional in your approach to obtaining the grant and when undertaking the project. You are not only representing yourself but also the organisation if you obtain the grant.
  •  Be mindful of what is expected of you and what you need to do.
  •  Be realistic when constructing your budget. For example, I could have applied for up to $10K as an individual (more if you are part of an organisation/group), but I knew that I wouldn’t need that much. I worked out my ‘core’ expenses – registration fees, flights, and accommodation and worked out the rest from there. Keeping in mind of promotional activities, I had to figure this into the budget too. Not having ever done this before, I have learned the importance of keeping accurate records and underestimating costs. 
  •  While I was received my requested amount $3K, I was mindful that maybe only part of the costs would have been covered.
You can also approach than one source for the same project. Some councils like my own have programs to help their residents with professional development. I was successful at obtaining a $250 grant via the City of Charles Sturt's Personal Development Assistance Program . Every cent counts when you are on a fixed income.

As you can imagine, I was ecstatic to be able to attend the Romance Writers of Australia conference, and these grants helped me to enjoy the experience and not worry about all the finances. I'm very grateful for the opportunity. 

More on my grants

The Richard Llewellyn Arts & Disability Trust is offered via Arts SA  
(Below is an overview which is paraphrased from their site)

  • It's aim is to support "projects and initiatives that develop and celebrate the creative and artistic aspirations of people with disabilities in South Australia."
  • It was established in 2006 and is named after the late Richard Llewellyn, "a tireless supporter of the arts and an enthusiastic advocate for universal accessibility."
  • This grant is available to both individuals, organisations, and even federal agencies.
  • Assessments are overseen by a panel and they consider the application against the assessment criteria. This includes a commitment to high quality, innovative and original artistic work; a commitment of partnerships between disabilities and the broader community; and effective planning & use of resources including funding from sources outside Arts SA.  Also the application should have a resume, letters of support, and letters of confirmation from artists and other parties.
  • And of course there is support material, which will be different for every application. Failure to provide adequate material will make the application illegible. However, still choose only those support material relevant to the application.

A presentation is on the webpage with RLADT manager, Clare Tizard (audio form). And of course there is the Arts SA Handbook.

The Personal Development Assistance Program is offered via the City of Charles Sturt.

  • As with all council grants you have to be a resident in the area. I discovered this grant when doing my original research. 
  • It's purpose is to assist those over 25 to participate in an approved personal development program. I had to confirm that conferences were considered a relevant program and provided documentation & commentary on the application form.
  • Again, if in doubt, contact the coordinator, they are more than willing to help and answer questions. 

I wish everyone the very best when applying for a grant. Let how much you want to develop your writing career shine through.

There will be a workshop on this topic at the next Romance Writers of Australia's national conference by CC Coburn, Harlequin American Romance author, and a future article in Hearts Talk by Rowena Cory Daniells.

(Oh and if you are entering the Heart & Craft competition on the site, this blog has information to help answer one of the questions...*grin*)

Updates on Eleni-fest - Spreading the Word
The following people have 'pimped' Eleni-fest

Emily - Elove
Shelley Munro
Anita Joy
Kylie Griffin

Thank you ladies. Remember for your chance to win a trade book cover, please enter the Spreading the Word competition. Details on the site.


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