Q: Is there a limit on how much funding my organization can ask for?
A: Technically, no. However, there is a finite pool of funds (usually around $60k each year) and Orange County has 170+ arts and cultural organizations, as well as artists who are requesting funds through the Artist Program Grants. We want to fund as many high-quality arts programs as possible. We recommend your requests range from $1,00-$3,000. The average award amount for Grassroots Program Grants during the 2019-20 cycle was $1,529.
Q: We need funding for multiple projects or programs. Should I compile all requests into one application, or submit multiple applications?
A: For the sake of clarity, we would prefer for you to submit one application per program. If you’re seeking operational support, we recommend choosing one portion of your operating expense (such as a portion of a team member’s salary, rent, or an annual insurance policy) and focusing your request around that specific need. Be as clear as possible with your request; we never want the grants panel to ask, “What exactly are they asking for?”
Q: I received a grant last cycle. Can I apply again this cycle?
A: Yes, unless you have not yet submitted a prior cycle’s report that is past due, or you failed to execute a formerly funded program. If this is case, please contact us at 919-245-2335.
Q: Why must my project’s budgeted income equal expense?
A: If your project’s income was more than your expenses, then it would be a revenue-generating project, which is not the intention of this grant program.
If your project’s expenses were more than your income, questions arise regarding the project and if it was well thought-out. You don’t want to plan – and our board doesn’t want to fund – a project that results in financial loss.
Q: What about COVID-19?
A: Contingency! If your program involves public gathering, the utilization of space that may not be available, or any other unknown variables, make sure you have a Plan B. Panelists will want to see that you have thought about alternative plans in the event that COVID sticks around.
Q: What role does multicultural programming play in your grant decisions?
A: In FY2020-21, the N.C. Arts Council will require Orange County to use at least 33% of grant funds to support multicultural programs. Note that this is reference to who is being hired, not the population being served. Priority will be given to programs hiring high quality artists that are African America, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Native Alaskan or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. The population served is also a very important factor in the consideration of your grant, but is not part of our multicultural requirement.
Q: How do I find high quality artists, performers or instructors for my arts program?
A: Hiring quality artists, whether for a large concert or an after-school arts class, is critical and can be the determining factor in whether your grant is funded. Several organizations can help you find performers, including the OCAC. Local schools are encouraged to work with The ArtsCenter’s Arts in Schools to secure high quality, vetted, performers. Other resources include Durham Arts Council’s CAPS Program, and United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County’s Artists in Schools Program.
Q: What are the main tips you can offer to help me submit a great application?
A: First, understand the purpose of the N.C. Arts Council Grassroots Arts Program: to ensure that every citizen has access to quality arts experiences. Your grant should help fulfill this goal, either through programming or through operational support that allows your arts organization to serve the public.
Second, be clear and concise. A grant application is never a place for flowery language. This year’s online platform will help with this thanks to word limits, but if you can clearly explain your proposal in less words, even better!