Orginally Posted Thursday, June 7, 2007
The main question coming in from patrons lately is, "Will you still have the Signature Ticket Initiative next year?" I'm not going to answer that question yet. But, I thought you might be interested learning a bit more about the process of securing our subsidized tickets. I caught up with Brooke, Signature's grant writer, to find out what goes into acquiring grants.:
How do you find grants?
As the Grants Coordinator, one of my primary responsibilities is to conduct thorough, ongoing research about Signature's current and prospective institutional funders - that is, foundations, corporations and government agencies and representatives. When the development department and I come across a funder who is - let's say, for example - interested in supporting initiatives which provide broad access to the arts for diverse or traditionally underserved audiences, then that is truly exciting for us. We seek out funding partnerships that are not only a good match for our unique mission and artistic programming; but which ultimately serve the priorities of the funding institution, as well.
What is involved in the preparation of proposals?
At the core of the process is identifying the priorities of the funder and crafting a thoughtful, persuasive proposal that lays out a mutual partnership which will serve the artistic integrity of the work as well as those who are ultimately experiencing it. After the case is made, then comes the relationship-building and the team effort between company and funder to actually realize the work, resulting in me reporting back to the funder on all the great things their gift has made possible!
How important is it for us to receive grants?
If I had my druthers it would be right there in every arts organization's mission statement - "to create and produce exciting work by exciting people with the essential help of everyone who understands how important the work is!! " In short, grants are essential, as is the support of individual donors. The work of a non-profit - especially when that non-profit, like Signature, has its eye set on the highest possible artistic standards - would NEVER happen without contributed income, period.
What appeals to you the most about grant writing?
One of my favorite parts of being a grant writer is, ironically, what happens after the writing - when we turn a prospect into a funder and the partnership has begun. Now there's a person's name attached to the foundation's title; there's a voice on the other end of the phone and a body in the seat at the theatre. It's incredibly rewarding to make personal connections with people who spend their lives supporting the arts, and it's thrilling to be a part of something that moves people.