Archive for October 24th, 2008

Fund Your Writing Projects: Prepare Your Budget (Part 2)

Gigi RosenbergBy Gigi Rosenberg
A couple of months ago I talked about calculating the expenses for the budget that goes with most grant applications. This month, let’s look at the side of the budget form where you list the income that you might earn from this project.

You may wonder: how can a budget have a section for income? Isn’t income the money I am trying to get from the granting organization? How could I possibly have other income to list? In fact, the grant you’re applying for may only be part of your income.

Why does income matter? Many granting agencies like to see that you have several sources and that you are being supported in many ways besides this one grant you are applying for. Having several sources of revenue is also a good thing for you: if one dries up, there are always others.

What are some examples of income?

Other grants: Maybe you’ve already received a grant to fund a portion of your project. Or maybe you have applied for other grants and haven’t yet heard if you’ve been funded. You should list these grants on the budget form. If you’ve applied and don’t know the outcome, list it as “pending.”

Merchandise: Let’s say your project is a literary event. Maybe you’ll be selling books, posters, or t-shirts at the event. The money you bring in from these sales can be listed as income on the grant application.

Ticket sales: Your project may include an event that people will buy tickets to attend. The money you take in as ticket sales can be listed as income. Estimate how many people will attend based on how many are on your mailing list, how many have attended your past productions, and how vigorously you’ll be getting the word out. Always underestimate.

In-kind donations: An in-kind donation is a product or a service that a company or individual gives you for a project, such as a graphic designer who donates her time to design your poster. Or a commercial printer may give you the paper to print the poster. In-kind donations show that others have so much faith in your work that they are willing to give you valuable goods or services in support. List the monetary value of such donations as income.

Having several sources of income on your grant application will make your application more competitive. Let’s face it: if two writers apply for a grant and one lists no other sources of income while the other says she’s already earned $1,000 from another grant or is poised to sell her books, other merchandise, and tickets, who would you fund? Chances are you’d fund the writer who showed, by her efforts, that she plans to succeed, no matter what.

Next month we’ll explore more ways to earn income for your project. For now, brainstorm like an author-preneur. How many ways can you think of to earn money (or donations) for your project besides this one grant you are applying for?

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Gigi Rosenberg writes about motherhood, relationships and the writing life. Her latest essay “Signora” appears in the Seal Press anthology The Maternal is Political. Her work has been published in Parenting, Writer’s Digest, The Oregonian, The Jewish Review and featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting. Gigi coaches writers on how to read to an audience. She is currently writing Get Your Art into the World: How to Fund Your Creative Endeavors a book to supplement her national workshops on grant writing.

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