One of the best and worst things about my job is letting people know about the results of the Paint It Up! funding competition. Paint It Up is a simple program that we manage at Crime Prevention Ottawa in partnership with Public Works. We give small grants to groups in the community who want to create an outdoor mural in a grafitti prone location by engaging local youth in a summer project.
But it’s a competitive system, people work hard (or some not so hard) on applications and about half of them get rejected and disappointed. Sometimes when I read the applications I want to scream – I hate it when an fabulous organization, with a really good project, makes a simple mistake in their application. I know that the project has merit, that they worked long and hard on the application, but it won’t get funding because they didn’t bother to follow the guidelines.
So here is my best advice to grant seekers: get yourself on a jury for a funding competition. Sit through the decision making process, it can be long and tedious and you will spend your weekends reading proposals – but you need to understand the process from the OTHER side. I know that agencies have visions of what they want to do and that is important, but if you want money, you need to learn to play the game.