MUSICNSW’S GUIDE TO EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GETTING A GRANT
WHAT IS A GRANT?
A grant is money – that you don’t have to pay back – given to fund a specific project or purpose. Sources of grants can be (but aren’t limited to) government and non-government departments, Councils, educational institutions, and not-for-profit entities, such as MusicNSW.
If you’re a practicing professional artist, arts worker or organisation and an Australian citizen or permanent resident, there’s a broad range of grants available to you. These are designed to fund national and international projects which involve Aussie artists and their work. However, before applying you’ll need to research the most applicable grant for your project – and carefully check and refer to the eligibility criteria.
WHERE DO GRANTS COME FROM?
There are a wide variety of grants which exist via different funding bodies and ‘grantors’ to suit specific projects and career goals. In most cases, you can apply as an individual, a group, or organisation.
The Australia Council of the Arts (AusCo) defines an individual as “a practicing artist or arts worker”. Groups are defined as “individual artists who join together informally to collaborate in the creation, development or presentation of a work.” They don’t have to a registered body, but the group must nominate one person to be responsible for finances and legalities, and that person needs an ABN. (If no member has an ABN then you may need to use an auspicing body – see the Auspicing section further on in this brochure). To apply as an organisation you must be registered under law (e.g. an incorporated association) or created by law (e.g. a Government statutory authority).
To find a grant that suits you, ArtsNSW and AusCo provide downloadable PDF guides on their current funding programs – both available on their websites (arts.nsw.gov.au and australiacouncil.gov.au). AusCo also provide a great search tool, where you can search for grants by art form, grant type, applicant type, start and closing date.
MusicNSW will keep you up to date with current grants and funding opportunities – be sure to subscribe to our free E-Newsletter, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and keep an eye on our website for updates.
Here’s a list of funding sources and the types of grants they offer:
MUSICNSW QUICK RESPONSE GRANTS
MusicNSW, through support received by Arts NSW, offers rounds of Quick Response Grants to support artists and artist managers in developing export opportunities whilst attending Australian industry conferences, trade fairs and other career defining opportunities. These are obtainable for both artists and artist managers. Check out our Funding page at www.musicnsw.com
INDENT PARTNERSHIP GRANTS
The Indent grants program has been specifically developed for young people to stage all-ages, drug and alcohol-free music events across rural and metro NSW. The grants assist young event promoters and emerging artists by offering support, resources and materials to get gigs happening in their area. See www.indent.net.au
Arts NSW have a number of different grants available which support projects, programs, organisations and individuals. Opportunities for touring, quick response and industry development are just a few of the initiatives on offer. For more info, head to www.arts.nsw.gov.au, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 358 594.
THE AUSTRALIA COUNCIL (AusCo)
Whether you’re interested in recording, promotion, touring , marketing, showcasing or beyond, AusCo offers several grants that will target your particular area. The Music Board is currently inviting expressions of interest (EOI) from leading music organisations to apply under the “Key Organisations-Emerging category” in 2013 (i.e monies for 2014-2016). Plus, there’s also support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists too: visit www.australiacouncil.gov.au/grants
CONTEMPORARY MUSIC TOURING PROGRAM (AusCo)
If you or your band wants to tour Australia, you can apply to the Australian Government’s Contemporary Music Touring Program (CMTP), faciliated by the AusCo. There’s up to $15,000 of assistance for artists and managers, one tour per application. To be eligible it’s imperative musicians write and perform their own material. Head to www.australiacouncil.gov.au/grants for more info and application forms.
APRA supports local artists through an annual Grant program. The funding for APRA grants is made up of 1.75% of distributable APRA revenue, backing projects, and organisations who promote and acknowledge the use of music by APRA members. Examples of past projects include songwriting workshops, awards, and live showcases. Applications for the 2013-14 are now open: for enquiries email email@example.com
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT ARTS FUNDING PROGRAM
Every year the Australian Government provides grants for artists, primarily in the form of funding for touring and festivals. They also offer support for emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the form of the Breakthrough program – see below. For info on all their available grants head to www.arts.gov.au/funding
BREAKTHROUGH INDIGENOUS CONTEMPORARY MUSIC PILOT INITIATIVE
The Breakthrough grant provides a funding opportunity for aspiring Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander musicians. Before applying, it’s imperative to know that artists must write their own music, and be sure their material is at a level of quality suitable for a commercial release and broadcasting. The main incentive behind the program is to provide better exposure for up-and-coming Indigenous artists. In addition, Breakthrough is designed to provide a greater level of international recognition for these artists, and Australian Indigenous music on the whole. With funding of up to $25,000 per applicant, the money goes towards producing studio-quality recordings. See www.arts.gov.au/indigenous/breakthrough
BRITISH COUNCIL: ACCELERATE PROGRAM
The Accelerate program is targeted at Indigenous Australians who are working in creative industries, and who’re looking for chances to expand in Australia or the UK. Available for exceptional applicants, it’s a fantastic opportunity for specific leadership development, mentoring and industry placements. The program provides a rare opportunity for cultural leaders to flourish within the arts industry. See www.accelerate.org.au
BRITISH COUNCIL: REALISE YOUR DREAM PROGRAM
The Realise Your Dream program is renowned for recognising some of Australia’s most promising creatives. Through the British Council’s use of some of the UK’s finest industry specialists, successful applicants earn experiences that allow for professional development, as well as making an endless list of lasting Brit connections within established networks. Check it out at www.realiseyourdream.org.au
PPCA PERFORMER’S TRUST FOUNDATION
The PPCA Performer’s Trust Foundation provides grants for the logistical side of music and performing arts. So if you’re looking for funding for tuition fees, travel costs, accommodation, venue or PA hire, concert or festival promotions, staging costs, tour support or equipment purchases, the PPCA can assist. Head to www.ppca.com.au/ppca-about-us/ppca-performers-trust-foundation
THE SEED FUND
Established in 2005 by musician John Butler, The Seed has a broad selection of grant categories that range from management workshops to publicity grants and help for Indigenous musicians. Check it out at www.theseedfund.org
THE HILLTOP HOODS INITIATIVE
Each year Adelaide’s finest (teaming up with APRA/AMCOS) offer $10,000 worth of prizes to help any emerging Australian hip-hop act release an album. Plus there’s legal advice and gear too. Get the lowdown at www.apra-amcos.com.au
Support Act provides assistance to many people in the music industry, including crisis-grants to musicians needing welfare support (whereby they pay bills for their clients). Note: they don’t pay money direct to individuals. www.supportact.com.au
AWARDS AND OPPORTUNITIES
QANTAS-SPIRIT OF YOUTH AWARDS (SOYA)
The Qantas SOYA program offers a unique opportunity for musicians aged 18-30 to perform at the CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival in New York City, with the added on bonus of $5,000 cash. Head to: www.soya.com.au
Managed by Austrade (the Australian Trade Commission), Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) are a chief Australian Government program. They assist in providing grants for both aspiring and established exporters. The EMDG scheme supports various industry sectors, and the export of intellectual properties internationally. See www.austrade.gov.au/assistance
APRA PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AWARDS
The APRA Professional Development Awards are conducted by APRA every two years. The PDA’s offer money, travel, education and esteemed recognition to eight composers in the early stages of their careers. www.apra-amcos.com.au
WHAT TYPE OF HELP CAN I GET TO SUBMIT MY GRANT APP?
FUNDING INFORMATION SESSIONS
Arts NSW and the AusCo offer free funding information sessions across metro and regional areas in NSW. These are designed to provide you with details of their funding programs, info about arts and cultural policy in NSW, along with tips on how to apply and write a successful application. Contact Arts NSW and AusCo directly to find out when their next session will be, or check their websites.
If writing grant applications isn’t your best skill, you can always engage a professional grant writer! There are plenty of grant writers in Sydney: do a bit of research and find one who suits you to create a solid application.
CALL OR EMAIL THE FUNDING BODY DIRECTLY
Don’t be shy: funding bodies and grantors are happy to answer questions and guide you in the right direction. They’ll chat to you about your project and help you find a suitable grant to apply for.
WHAT IS AUSPICING?
If you’re applying for a grant as a single applicant, you can apply directly to funding bodies. However, if your application involves two or more applicants, a number of bodies require group applications to be ‘incorporated organisations’ and ‘not-for-profit’. As MusicNSW is both incorporated and not-for-profit, we offer our service as an auspicing body, which enables group applicants to apply for funding easily. Types of funding may include: grants, scholarships, or partnership programs.
What’s involved with auspicing?
Once you’ve identified the grant(s) you want to apply for, you need to complete the relevant funding body’s application form. Notify MusicNSW of your intention to ask us to auspice your grant application at least one week before the application’s closing date. MusicNSW will then submit the grant on your behalf, which means that we’ll be the contracting party with the funding body.
If your grant application is successful, MusicNSW will then receive the monies directly from the funding body. An agreement will then exist between MusicNSW and you for the delivery of the project. This agreement will outline the financial relationship, acknowledgement requirements, and acquitting obligations. Basically, the funding you apply for will be administered to you by MusicNSW.
How much does auspicing cost?
MusicNSW charges a 10% auspicing fee on the total of the grant you are applying for (if you’re successful). It’s a good idea to factor in this cost into your budget when applying for funding.
For help with auspicing contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
TOP 10 GRANT WRITING TIPS
1. Some grants are ongoing – you can apply for them throughout the year. Others have specific rounds. Be aware of grant timeframes and project start dates: this will allow you more time to prepare your project and grant application. There’s nothing worse than discovering you’re ineligible to apply because you’ve missed the deadline.
2. Have a thorough understanding of your project’s incentive and its scope. You’ll need to be able to articulate your project clearly and concisely in a detailed manner.
3. Read through the selection criteria thoroughly: how will your project address it? You need to provide evidence to support all criteria.
4. Prepare a realistic budget – don’t ask for too little or too much. Ensure all budget items are eligible under the criteria.
5. Attach all required supporting documents, but don’t include additional docs that aren’t requested.
6. Before submitting, show your application to someone who can give suitable feedback. Ask them to explain what your project is back to you, and how the funding will benefit your project. If they’re able to answer clearly then you know you’re on the right path!
7.Read through your application twice from start to finish. The first time you should be checking for spelling, grammatical errors and word counts. The second time, ensure it makes clear sense, is articulate, and addresses the selection criteria.
8. Pay attention to the grantor’s ‘mission statement’ or anything similar. Make sure you align your application answers with the goals of that organisation. Repeat a few of their terms and concepts (in a way that relates back to your own project, of course). This will demonstrate that you know what they’re about, and that you want to support their mission via your own work.
9. Use simple language, and be sure to answer the actual question asked. There’s no need to use fancy words to impress! Simple and direct is the key to effective communication.
10. If you’re unsure about your eligibility, the application process or its criteria, clarify it before submission with the grant provider. Funding bodies are always happy to advise you on your project’s suitability and provide guidance as to which grant might suit you best.