The Realities of Funding

Wow. After reading the articles, grants sure seem intimidating, in a weirdly complicated way for someone who has never looked at them before.  On the one hand, successful grant writing seems like it’s mostly just following instructions and using common sense.  But on the other, the writer must find the balance between vagueness and specificity.  For example, the grant reviewers do not want to get bogged down in minute details, but they also do not want something that is too broad and vague that does not convey relevance and significance.  I suppose that I found the process intimidating based on the sheer numbers of applications with just a small number of those applications accepted. It’s deceiving that the NEH grant page has an entire list of grants available, but in the grand scale of thousands of applications, the probability of getting chosen is very small.

When examining the Digital Projects for the Public and the Digital Humanities Advancement grants a few similarities emerge.  Both grants highlight acceptance of applications for projects in all phases of development related to digital projects.  This struck me as interesting because in my mind, most applications would be for projects still in theoretical development, but that is not the case.  Once started, projects may still receive funding, even if a project was abandoned and is now in need of revitalization.  Along those lines, both grants look for projects that are sustainable and deepen the understanding of a given field.  Since these are digitally focused, both grants stress appealing to a broad public audience, as well as students and other scholars.

The sample application narratives that I looked at for both grants, were wanting to utilize digital technologies to broaden and enhance techniques within history and archaeology.  One similarity that I noted was the fact that both applications wanted funding to bring together field professionals for meetings to best discuss how to implement digital technologies.  This was interesting to me because even though neither proposals had begun their projects while awaiting these meetings, both applications had outlined how the money would be used, their timelines for project completion, and the scholars involved.  To me, it looks like one key to these applications was showing the grant reviewers your dedication to organization, the ability to stick with a proposed timeline, knowing exactly what you are going to do and when.  They follow the guidelines, while remaining specific about the goals of the projects and their significance, but not emphasizing even little aspect of the projects.

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