Grants are a great way to help finance your theatrical productions and supplement the income from ticket sales, but if you don’t have a designated grants person in your organization, the process can seem like a giant mountain to climb. So with that in mind, here are 7 easy steps to help you start applying for theatre grants. 

Search Locally, Regionally, and Nationally

Funding opportunities are everywhere, and they may be closer than you think. Does a board member work at a company that provides grants to nonprofits? What foundations are in your city, region, or state? Your regional arts council and state arts agencies exist to help you find funding, so make sure to bookmark their websites. And then, of course, there is the NEA

As it turns out, many foundations don’t have a website, but luckily, directory sites like FDO,, and GrantStation exist to help you find funding opportunities on a broader scale. 


Start Early! 

Grants are serious business that should not begin in the eleventh hour. There’s often a lot of writing and data-collecting involved, and that takes time. Do yourself a favor and get started as soon as you come across a new grant or Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). And give yourself an internal buffer to submit the application a couple days or even a week before the actual deadline, because unpredictable things can happen, and you want to be prepared.

Pro Tip: Create a calendar of grant deadlines and known FOAs to stay on top of the workload. Many foundations and grant bodies have regular grant cycles from year to year, so use your calendar to keep track of these so you can anticipate them in the future.   


First Read the Fine Print

Read through the entire document to learn the qualifications and instructions before beginning the application process. 

If your organization does not or cannot meet the grant requirements, move on to a different grant that you can apply for.  


Create a Checklist & Set Reminders

Create your own checklist of tasks and subtasks so you know exactly what needs to be collected and completed. Keep it as the front page of your paper or digital documents so you can reference it easily and know where you’ve left off. Set deadlines and reminders for each step of the application so you stay ahead of the final grant deadline.   


Write and Assemble the Materials

Now the real work begins. Whether you’re working on a team or need to request data from an outside source, make sure to give everyone a reasonable timeline to get back to you with the materials so you can meet the deadline. This is why we start early.  

Save and archive your documents and supplementary materials for easy access for the next grant. Many of them ask for similar data and information, so you’ll want that handy, but of course, you should write separate proposals tailored specifically to each grant. 

A good resource to help with this step can be found here.


Proofread and Proofread Again

Once everything is written and assembled, proofread the finished application. If you’re working on a team, have everyone on the team proofread it. Then have at least one outside person (either in a different department or if your budget allows a professional grant proofreader) look it over. 


Submit Your Application

Now that everything is completed and proofread, you’re ready to submit! Good luck! We hope you get it!

While grant writing still requires a heavy human hand, when it comes to ticket sales, seating, and streaming, On the Stage has a digital solution for your theatre company. Book a demo today to find out more!

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