The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Feb 07, 2014

6 pro tips on winning the South Florida Knight Arts Challenge

Posted by marika.lynch

Video: From WPBT2 on YouTube

What do you need to win the Knight Arts Challenge?

A great idea, of course! This is an ideas contest, after all, and the readers will base their initial decisions on the project’s merits.

That said, Arts Program Officer Tatiana Hernandez has a few tips on how to make your 150-word application reader-friendly.

1)  Be Clear, Concise and Compelling: These are the three C’s of writing a great Knight Arts Challenge application. We’re not looking for grant speak – that special language that goes into normal grant applications. We want you to write as if you were talking to family and friends. That’s the language that will feel compelling, and help us hear the passion you have for your work. Which leads to tip No. 2….

Challenge winner Lauren Reskin at a Q&A session.

2) Have someone look over your idea: When you think you’re finished writing your 150-word submission, hand it to a co-worker, or even the person behind you in a grocery store. If they understand it, and can get excited about it, you’re ready to go.

3) Create a fun title: Our reviewers will be reading hundreds of applications. A catchy title will set you apart from the get-go.

4) Don’t worry about the matching funds – at least not yet: In this initial part of the application, we don’t even need or want to know how much money you will be asking for. This phase is purely about the idea. If you’re selected as a finalist, you’ll need to fill out a full proposal that talks about how you plan to raise matching funds. Truth is, most of our winners over six years and three cities have found matching funds. Don’t let that concern inhibit your creativity.

5) You can apply multiple times in one year, but it won’t necessarily help you: Submitting several applications is fine, but don’t go overboard. Readers eyes glaze over after five submissions from the same person or team. Send in your best ideas, not all.

6) Apply early: It’s best to have the readers see your application with fresh eyes, so that you’re early in the stack, not among the last.

Knight Foundation has been hosting community Q&As around South Florida; there are two left next week in the Florida Keys and at Florida International University in West Dade. If you can’t make it in person, you can watch the video of the presentation above, thanks to WPBT2.

Don’t forget to apply by Feb. 24 here at Best of luck!




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