A few months ago I had the pleasure of serving as a grant reviewer for a major national funder in the arts. Reading dozens of proposals from small, medium-sized and large arts organizations across the country helped me identify three key areas in which arts organizations as a whole could benefit from added strength.
During this grant review process, I read far too many applications that said something like this:
*Will you be working in partnership with other organizations on this project?
*Have you worked with these organizations in the past?
*Did you involve these potential partners in planning your project?
Responses like these raise serious doubts in the minds of funders.
2. Form meaningful and effective partnerships with other, local organizations.
Funders like to see organizations working together, to see the impact of their financial contributions multiplied and leveraged in ways that benefit larger numbers of institutions and individuals within a community. Think seriously about – and explore in depth – a variety of partnerships and collaborations, and do so at the beginning of your planning process, not as an afterthought:
*What are we trying to accomplish with this project? (Be specific.)
*Who else in our community might have an interest in that outcome?
*What beneficial assets could they bring to this project (e.g., reputation, volunteers, money)?
*How might a partnership/collaboration with us benefit them?
See my previous post on no. 1, Be abundantly clear about what you intend to do, for whom, and why it matters, and stayed tuned for recommendation no. 3!