Innovative Services, Libraries, Nonprofits

Grant Opportunities and Marketing

Many libraries and other community-serving organizations rely on grants to fund and enhance their programs and services.

Unfortunately, marketing and communications considerations are often an afterthought when applying for grants. I have heard this from colleagues at libraries and nonprofits for years. So why not flip the script and start your grant application process with a marketing mindset? 

In its purest form, marketing is a management function that identifies human needs and wants, offers products and services to satisfy those demands, and delivers those products and services to customers. This is a strategic process that starts with the needs and wants of your customers, which is what many grant applications require. So as you are gathering research for your grant application, think about how you will incorporate marketing into the project. Any good marketing plan will include who your audiences are, how you will reach them, and with what message. You can find more tips on strategic marketing planning in my book (below). 

Many grants provide funding for marketing, so think about what investment would make the most sense. In for-profit industries, the rule of thumb is that 5% of your budget should go to marketing. So if you are applying for a $10,000 grant, see if you can set aside at least $500 for marketing. 

I am available to help libraries and other organizations develop marketing plans for their grant applications. See below for some upcoming opportunities. There are also many other types of grants, including IMLS Grants and Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants, which are administered state by state and have their own deadlines. Some of these can be specifically used for marketing and training. If you need help, please shoot me an email. And good luck with your application!

Upcoming Grant Opportunities

NEA Big Read 2021-2022

The NEA Big Read supports dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read book. I have worked on Big Read programs before, and marketing is definitely a big part of the project! Arts Midwest accepts requests for proposals annually starting around mid-October with a deadline in late January. Proposals are now being accepted for NEA Big Read programs to take place between September 2021 – June 2022.

Dollar General Literacy Foundation Grants

Applications for these grants, which include Adult Literacy, Family Literacy, Youth Literacy and Summer Reading, will be available in January and are typically due by the end of February. You can learn more about each category and see lists of past recipients on their website. These grants awarded to libraries, nonprofits, schools and other organizations. Set a calendar reminder for January!

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