Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How to write a Letter of Support for Grant Applications

During my years of TAFE and University studies in the arts, we have learnt and studied much about grants and applying for them, even practicing with made up grant applications to get the experience in filling out the forms. But until you either finish your studies and are ready to embark on your professional art career do and actually do one for real, do you come across things practicing does not inform you of. 

For instance, we know and are told and learn that you need to get quotes, budgets and letters of support...but it wasn't until I was applying for my own first time real grant application did I find it a bit of an obstacle.

There is not really a "formula" on how to write a letter of support (LOS) nor really what to do. Yes some grant applications do describe the  things they require, but it is not always clear what is actually required. 

For me I am someone who likes to know the 'structure' or template to follow something.

So from my experience of securing my own grant therefore have completed the relevant components such as acquiring LOS and also writing them for fellow colleagues here is some information on what could be required and what you might include. The easiest example I can tell you is think of your LOS like a job application cover letter (but written by someone else).

Things to be included for someone else writing a letter of support for you, the artist, applying for the grant or vice versa if you are writing a LOS for someone else:
  • Who is the artist/Who are you
  • What is your relationship to the applicant? How do you know them?
  • At what stage is the applicant in their arts practice (ie emerging or professional) 
  • What qualifications do you know of the applicant possesses
  • What similiar experiences in skill or knowledge whether work, volunteer related or other do you know of the applicant has which could assist completion of the project. 
  • Provide information on you, the referee, to give credence to the applicant. E.g. Your professional background. Your profile in the arts industry if applicable. 
  • Summarise how the applicants' project would be beneficial to the arts and therefore should be funded 
  • Give your referees as much notice as possible. As they have to find time to write this for you.
  • Give your referee a sample of what is required to help them know all the facts and what to write. I.E. Sent them information about you and the grant you are applying for. It is better to provide more information then what is required as sometimes it can take a couple of days for them to get back to you.
  • Give them a deadline a few days or so before you need it. As sometimes they will take right up to the deadline or over.
  • Include this information on a letterhead if you have one
Here is one template and another (NEW as of 2013) template suggestion to use as a guide, and an example. Please do not copy this template word for word, it is to be used as a guide, modify it to suit your own needs.

I do not profess to know if this information is correct or true to what the funding bodies seek. Each organisation is different in their expectations. Read through your submission guidelines on what they require, they do say what they want, read between the lines. Always go back to how the grant will benefit your project (and them of course).

Grant Application Writing Factsheet from AbaF


  1. Wow, I'm in crunch time for writing a grant and this is fabulously helpful.
    Kudos to you for putting this on the web!!!

  2. Thank you so much, I'm applying for my first art grant and this will be very helpful!


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