Grant season for museums is almost upon us. The majority of grant opportunities (or Notice of Funding Opportunities) are refreshed in the new year with application deadlines spanning April to October.
These also tend to be the busiest months for museum staff as it spans school field trip season, spring break, and summertime tourism. With this in mind, the best time to create your museum grant writing roadmap for 2022 is right now.
There’s not an exact process that you have to follow in order to create your grant writing roadmap, but there are a few steps I recommend you use as the basic elements of your roadmap creation process. To get you started, here are 5 steps to create your Grant Roadmap 2022:
- Review Your Grant Knowledge and Resources: Review past grant activities (if any) for the museum, and identify grant opportunities that may be appropriate for a 2022 application. If you’re not familiar with grant opportunities, then you can start by reviewing grant resources available through both your regional and national organizations. (For national grants you can search Lucidea’s Grants Database). Knowing what grant options are available will assist you during idea generation and may even serve as inspiration.
- Brainstorm Project Ideas: Whether it’s just you or a large-team, it’s time to brainstorm potential projects to seek grant funding for. During this stage of the process, it’s OK to put any and all ideas on paper. The more ideas are explored, the easier it is to see where both opportunity and staff enthusiasm lay.
- Prioritize the Project Ideas: Work through potential grant project outcomes and benefits as well as resources needed. Analyze these elements of each project and use those as the criteria to work through prioritization. Some projects may be a better fit due to timing, a coalescing of interests, etc. Others may be able to greatly improve an area of the museum collection, programming, or exhibitions.
- Match the Project Ideas to Potential Grant Opportunities: Take the prioritized list of ideas and compare them to the list of known grants you compiled in the first step. Capture the basic opportunity information such as award amount, deadline, and eligibility requirements. Review your list of grant projects and match them with grant opportunities where your application will be the most competitive.
- Create Your Grant Roadmap 2022: Depending on your/your team’s capacity you will likely need to further narrow down the number of grant applications you place on your roadmap. Compare the grant application deadlines to the museum calendar and schedule out which grants you will apply for. Working backwards, begin to schedule and assign portions of the application to relevant parties so that they can begin their work with plenty of time on the schedule to successfully complete.
Tip: Each team should begin this work at least 6 weeks prior to the application deadline or, preferably, up to 3 months prior to deadline.
Resources to Help You Get Started
We have a few resources to help get you started or refresh your grant writing knowledge!
Lucidea Grant Writing Webinars (recorded)
Museum grant writing requires planning and attention to detail. By preparing your grant roadmap ahead of time, you and your team can better plan for the work ahead, and construct a more thoughtful application. Another benefit to planning ahead is that it tends to increase staff efficiency, allowing them to work on these tasks during an appropriate (not rushed) timeframe.
A List of Grant Writing Posts via Lucidea’s Think Clearly Blog:
- 3 Common Hurdles to Get Over and Get into Grants
- 8 Tips to a Bulletproof Grant Proposal
- How and When a Museum Should Hire a Grant Specialist
- How to Determine Museum Grant Eligibility: A Check List
- How to Determine Museum Grant Suitability: A Check List
- How to Find the Best Museum Grant Funding Opportunity
- How to Increase Museum Grant Success by Mastering the Lexicon
- Identifying Museum Funding Roadblocks
- Museum Grant Application: What Happens if You Fail?
- Museum Grant Pitfalls—Know & Avoid Them
- Museums with Zero Funding—Stop Saying These 4 Phrases
- Top 4 Funding Ideas for Museums
Rachael Cristine Woody
Expert Rachael Cristine Woody advises on museum strategies, collections management, and grant writing for a wide variety of clients. In addition to authoring several titles published by Lucidea Press, Ms. Woody is a regular contributor to the Think Clearly blog and a popular webinar presenter. While you’re here, check out our market-leading museum collections management system, Argus, used daily by forward-thinking museum professionals.
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