Deciding if a grant is right for your museum
Once you pinpoint a few promising grants, the next step is choosing where to submit your application. Each grant must be carefully assessed for eligibility and suitability.
Define your proposed project
Before diving deeper into your grant research, make sure your initiative and its scope are already defined. You should have a clear idea of your project’s objectives, budget, timelines, participants, and foreseen outcomes.
Otherwise, it will be difficult to determine whether a grant is a strong fit for your museum—let alone convince its funding agency!
Check the grant status and deadlines
Always ensure your chosen grant is active and that its application deadlines are feasible.
Museum grants are subject to different lifespans. Funding programs can run annually or biannually, exist temporarily in response to an urgent need, or stop operating after a few funding rounds.
Once you’ve confirmed the grant’s status, take a closer look at its deadlines. Some grants have rolling deadlines, allowing you to apply when it’s most convenient. While others follow rigorous, multi-step processes with strict due dates attached.
Read the eligibility guidelines
For each grant, review the eligibility guidelines carefully—both for the grant itself and for its granting agency.
Understanding these criteria is key to determining if your project is a viable candidate. Ensure your type of institution and the initiative you’re proposing lines up well with the stated mission and funding mandate.
Review past recipients and projects
Check for details on previous recipients and their projects when visiting grant sites. Many agencies publish online lists of past awardees, allowing you to gain a better sense of who and what they fund.
Comparing your proposed project to successful applicants can help indicate a grant’s suitability.
While not always an application dealbreaker, the absence of similar institutions and/or projects to yours should be a sign to pause and evaluate further.
Consult with a granting officer
When in doubt, reach out to the program officer for support. Many grant agencies have staff members to answer your questions and assist you during the application process.
Making use of their expertise and insight can help ensure you’re set up for success upon applying.