Grant Writing Tips

Plan Ahead

Who, What, Where, When, and Why? The best grant applications are for projects that are planned well ahead of the grant deadline with clear timelines, objectives, and outcomes. In that same vein, you should be clear on how you will evaluate the success of your project before it happens – don’t let evaluation be an after-thought! You will be required to report it.

What to highlight…

  • Community involvement in the planning process.
  • How the project reaches the entire community.
  • The quality of the arts experience.
  • How the grant will be paying for arts related expenses.
  • How you have looked for other sources of funding as well. 25% match.
  • How this grant will make the project bigger, better, more accessible, etc.
  • Add value to your project by considering charging at least a minimal ticket price.

What not to ask for and what not to say…

  • Do not ask for food expenses (other than for artists who are traveling). Stay away from reception expenses if possible.
  • Do not refer to the arts activity as “entertainment.”
  • Do not approach the activity as a fund-raiser or talk about “proceeds” going to another cause.
  • Do not ask for more funding for non-arts related expenses than arts related expenses – festival example.
  • Do not ask for funds to support expenses already incurred (plan ahead).
  • Don’t inflate your budget! It will be noticed right away!

Most common mistakes made on submitted grant applications?

  • Completeness! Make sure everything is filled out. Be sure to sign the application.
  • Budget Page Errors: Double check your math! Round dollar amounts to the nearest $10.
  • Starting Date: The project start date cannot be before the review of your grant.
  • Lack of specifics – artists, dates, times, etc.
  • Lack of Resumes or Bio Materials. Rule of thumb: If someone is getting paid with the grant funds – we need to see a resume or bio.
  • Project narrative not reconciling with budget items.
  • Audience numbers not matching ticket sales.

What happens after I submit my grant?

Once your grant is submitted to the Five Wings Art Council office, our staff will review the application for completeness and eligibility requirements. Applications are then sent to our 11 member Board of Directors for review. Each board member will then review the application and assign a ranking based on the following three criteria:

1) Artistic merit of the project or activity.

2) Need for the project or activity in the community.

3) Ability of the applicant to carry out the project or activity.

The board will then meet to discuss each application and a final ranking is assigned to each application. Funds are granted to the project or acitivity that recieves the highest rankings and then down the line until all funds are disbursed.

Five Wings Arts Council

Serving Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena Counties of Minnesota

© Copyright 2022 Five Wings Art Council
All Rights Reserved


Street Address:
121 4th St. NE
Staples, MN 56479

Use West entrance
located in parking lot behind
1st International Bank & Trust

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 118
Staples, MN 56479