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How to Write a Grant Application | Writing the Application

Writing grants is an essential skill for those working in the arts, and many organisations depend on successful grants to deliver certain projects and activities. To celebrate the opening of the Regional Arts NSW Country Arts Support Program (CASP), Regional Arts NSW has put together a weekly step-by-step guide on how to prepare a successful grant application. This week we take a look at writing the application. You can read the previous articles on Planning & Research and Budgets.
It’s time to start writing! Here’s some pointers on writing your application.

  1. Read the Guidelines and application form thoroughly
    These forms have information on what type of projects will be funded as well as specific instructions on how to complete the application. Make sure you thoroughly check the eligibility requirements and activities that will be supported. If available on the website, it is a good idea to check the list of successful applicants from previous rounds to get an idea of the types of projects supported. You can find previous RANSW CASP projects here and previous Regional Arts Fund projects here.
  2. Use the correct form
    Each funding program has its own application form so make sure you use the correct one! For Regional Arts NSW applications, these forms are online via Smarty Grants. Some tips for the Smarty Grants system include:

    • Prepare your text in Word to draft your responses to fit the word count, before pasting the final response into Smarty Grants.

    • Make sure your responses fit the word count, and are not cut off when pasting into Smarty Grants. Word counts are also listed as the maximum; under the word count is OK!
    • Don’t forget to save as you go!


  3. Be concise
    Assessment panels will often have to read and assess up to 50-60 or more applications. Use Plain English and George Orwell’s 6 Rules for Writing. Make your application simple and accessible; now is not the time to ramble or be overly academic. Your opening paragraph should be confident and well crafted. Some important things to remember are:

    • Customise your application to the grant you are applying for

    • Sell yourself and excite the reader
    • Use evidence to back up any claims of demand or need for your project in the community


  4. Be precise
    If an application has word or character limits, you should follow those instructions. Also adhere to any limits on the type of or amount of support material provided. If a ‘short bio’is requested, do not provide a lengthy CV.
  5. The fresh eyes test
    It’s worthwhile giving a draft of your application to someone not involved in the project to read and give feedback. This assists with proofing and checks whether the application conveys your ideas clearly.
  6. Final checks
    These points may be obvious to some, but it can be easy to overlook the simple and last minute things:

    • Make sure you have a copy of your application and support letters for your records

    • Ensure that all support material is included in your application. Failure to do this may make your application ineligible.
    • Check all form boxes on Smarty Grants before submitting; if your text had particular formatting or exceeded the word limit, your response may be cut off or visually different.
    • If you are usnure of any requirement or detail relating to any aspect of the application, contact your local Regional Arts Development Organisation, or for non-contributing council areas, contact Regional Arts NSW.

Next week we will take a look at some of your responsibilities as a grant recipient.
If you have questions about Regional Arts NSW grants contact our Manager, Grants & Projects on (02) 9270 2500 or For more information on Regional Arts NSW grants visit the Grants page here.