10 Effective Ways to Find Grants for Your Dance Program
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Research grant opportunities
  2. Identify your needs and goals
  3. Write a compelling proposal
  4. Network with dance organizations
  5. Seek local business sponsorships
  6. Apply for state and federal arts funding
  7. Consider crowdfunding
  8. Partner with educational institutions
  9. Use social media to promote your program
  10. Follow up and thank your supporters

When it comes to running a dance program, one of the biggest challenges you might face is funding. You're not alone in this—many dance instructors and studio owners have been in your shoes, juggling countless responsibilities while trying to navigate the intricate world of grants. Relax, we've got you covered! In this blog, we'll walk you through 10 effective ways on how to find grants for dance, to help keep your program twirling without a hitch.

Research Grant Opportunities

So, how does one go about finding these grants for dance programs? The first step is research. Just like choreographing a dance routine, you need to know what moves to make. Here are some ideas on how to get started:

  • Online search: It may seem obvious, but a simple Google search for "how to find grants for dance?" can yield a wealth of information. Don't rush through this—take your time to sift through the results and make notes of potential leads.
  • Grant databases: There are numerous online databases—like Foundation Directory Online or GrantStation—that specifically list grants for arts programs. Using these platforms can make your search more focused and less time-consuming.
  • Arts councils: Local, state, and national arts councils often provide funding for dance programs. Be sure to check out their websites for any grant opportunities. For instance, the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Dance Movement are known for their support towards dance programs.
  • Non-profit support centers: Organizations like the Dance/USA or the National Dance Education Organization offer resources and guidance on how to find and apply for grants. They can be a valuable asset for your research.

Remember, finding the right grant is like finding the perfect music for your dance routine—it takes time and patience. But with the right approach and resources, you'll be one step closer to securing funding for your dance program.

Identify Your Needs and Goals

Now that you have some potential grants in your sights, it's time to take a step back and identify your needs and goals. After all, it's not just about how to find grants for dance, but also about finding the right ones that align with your program's objectives. Here's how you can go about it:

  • Know Your Needs: Before you can convince someone to fund your program, you need to know exactly what you need. Do you need funding for new costumes? More studio space? More instructors? Or do you need help covering operational costs? Be specific—this will not only help you narrow down your grant search but also make a more compelling case when you apply.
  • Set Clear Goals: What do you hope to achieve with the grant money? Maybe you want to expand your program to more students, or perhaps you want to put on a spectacular end-of-year show. Setting clear, measurable goals can help you focus your efforts and demonstrate to granters that their money will be put to good use.
  • Understand Your Impact: How does your dance program benefit your students and the community? Are you helping kids stay active and learn discipline? Or are you providing a creative outlet for adults? Understanding and being able to articulate your impact can make your grant application stand out.

Finding grants for your dance program is like choreographing a dance—you need to know where you're starting from, what moves you want to make, and where you want to end up. By identifying your needs and setting clear goals, you'll be well on your way to securing the right grants for your program.

Write a Compelling Proposal

Once you've determined your needs and set your goals, it's time to start writing a compelling proposal. This is your chance to tell your story and make a case for why your dance program deserves funding. Here's how you can put together a proposal that will get noticed:

  • Make a Strong First Impression: Start your proposal with a clear, compelling summary of your dance program and what you hope to achieve with the grant. Remember, the people reviewing your application may be looking at hundreds of others, so you need to grab their attention right from the start.
  • Be Detailed and Specific: One of the key ways on how to find grants for dance is to show that you've done your homework. Provide a detailed budget that shows exactly how you plan to use the grant money. Outline your program's needs and goals, and describe how the grant will help you achieve them. The more specific you can be, the better.
  • Show Your Passion: Don't forget to let your passion for dance shine through. Show the reviewers why you love what you do and why your dance program is so important to you and your community. Your enthusiasm can be infectious and could help tip the scales in your favor.

Writing a compelling proposal is an art form in its own right—much like dance. It requires careful planning, attention to detail, and a dash of creativity. But with some practice and patience, you can create a proposal that will help you secure the funding you need.

Network with Dance Organizations

Another crucial strategy for finding grants for dance programs involves networking. Building relationships with dance organizations can open doors to potential funding opportunities. Here's how you can effectively network:

  • Attend Dance Events: Don't let a dance festival, workshop, or conference pass you by. Attend these events and meet people involved in the dance community. They may know about grant opportunities that aren't widely advertised.
  • Join Dance Associations: Joining dance associations provides a great platform to connect with individuals and groups who share your passion. They can offer advice, share opportunities, and provide support. For example, the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) offers numerous resources to its members, including grant information.
  • Volunteer: Volunteering for dance events or organizations can help you build relationships and gain visibility in the dance community. This could lead to introductions to grant-making entities or individuals who might be interested in supporting your program.

Remember, networking isn't about asking for favors—it's about building genuine relationships. Show interest in others, offer help when you can, and be patient. As you build your network, you'll find the dance community is full of people who want to help each other succeed. And who knows? The next conversation you have could lead to your next dance grant.

Seek Local Business Sponsorships

Think about this: local businesses are always looking for ways to give back to their communities—and your dance program could be the perfect opportunity for them to do just that! Here are some tips on how to approach local businesses for sponsorships:

  • Identify Potential Sponsors: Start by making a list of local businesses that might be interested in supporting the arts. Look for businesses that already sponsor local events or organizations. They might be more likely to consider sponsoring your dance program.
  • Develop a Sponsorship Proposal: A good proposal should clearly articulate what your dance program does, its benefits to the community, and what the business would gain from sponsoring you. Remember, businesses want to know that their support will make a positive impact and also provide them some level of recognition.
  • Make a Personal Approach: Instead of sending a generic email, try to arrange a face-to-face meeting or phone call. This will give you a chance to explain your program in more detail and answer any questions the potential sponsor might have.

It's essential to remember that securing a business sponsorship is not just about the money. It's also about building relationships that could lead to long-term support. So, don't get discouraged if a business says no. Keep looking, keep asking, and keep believing in your dance program. Your passion and persistence will eventually pay off!

Apply for State and Federal Arts Funding

Don't overlook the significant potential of state and federal arts funding. These funds can be a substantial source of support for your dance program. But how to find these grants for dance? Here's a simple breakdown:

  • Start with Your State Arts Council: Most states have an Arts Council that provides grants to support arts programs. Visit their website, find out what types of grants they offer, and check the eligibility criteria and application deadlines.
  • Explore Federal Funding: The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is a federal agency that offers grants for arts education programs. Their website is a treasure trove of information on how to apply and what they're looking for in successful applications.
  • Understand the Application Process: Applying for state and federal arts funding can be a complex process, requiring detailed proposals and strict adherence to guidelines. Make sure you understand what's expected before you start filling out forms. If in doubt, don't hesitate to ask for clarification.

Remember, applying for grants is a numbers game. The more you apply, the better your chances of securing funding. So, don't be put off by the work involved. It may feel overwhelming at first, but with each application, you'll get better and faster. And the reward—a grant for your dance program—will be well worth the effort!

Consider Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is another increasingly popular way to raise funds for a variety of projects, including dance programs. But how do you get started with crowdfunding for dance grants? Here's an easy-to-follow guide:

  • Pick the Right Platform: Websites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe have made it simple to set up a crowdfunding campaign. Choose a platform that aligns with your goals and audience.
  • Create a Compelling Campaign: Tell your story in a way that resonates with potential donors. What makes your dance program unique? Why should someone want to support it? Use pictures, videos, and testimonials to make your campaign stand out.
  • Set a Realistic Goal: It's important to set a funding goal that's ambitious, yet achievable. Don't forget to account for the fees the platform will take.
  • Promote Your Campaign: Use social media, email newsletters, and word-of-mouth to spread the word about your campaign. The more people know about it, the more likely you are to reach your goal.

Crowdfunding can be a lot of work, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Not only can you raise money for your dance program, but you can also build a community of supporters who are invested in your success. So why not give it a shot? It might just be the answer to how to find grants for dance programs.

Partner with Educational Institutions

Partnering with schools, colleges, and universities can open up a world of funding opportunities for your dance program. But how do you make these connections? Here are some tried and true methods:

  • Reach Out Directly: Many educational institutions have arts programs that may be interested in partnering with a dance program, especially if it provides opportunities for their students. Send an email or make a phone call to begin the conversation.
  • Offer Educational Workshops: Educational institutions are always looking for ways to enrich their students' experiences. Offering workshops or master classes can help establish a relationship, and may lead to funding opportunities.
  • Propose Collaborative Performances: Joint performances can be a win-win for both parties. They provide exposure for your dance program and practice opportunities for students, while potentially unlocking funding from the institution.
  • Apply for Educational Grants: Many schools and universities have grants available for arts programs. Research these opportunities and be sure to apply before the deadline.

By teaming up with educational institutions, you not only gain access to potential funding sources, but also establish relationships that can benefit your dance program in the long run. It's another powerful strategy when figuring out how to find grants for dance.

Use Social Media to Promote Your Program

Let's face it, we live in a digital world. Social media has become a powerful tool for promoting all sorts of things, including dance programs. So why not use it to your advantage? Here's how:

  • Share Your Story: Social media platforms are the perfect place to share your dance program's story. Post photos of rehearsals, snippets of performances, and behind-the-scenes peeks to engage your followers.
  • Highlight Successes: Did your students just rock their first performance? Share it! Did you secure a new grant? Let your followers know. Celebrating these moments can attract more attention and potential funding.
  • Engage Your Audience: Encourage your followers to interact with your posts. Ask questions, run polls, or start a dance challenge. The more engaged your audience, the wider your reach.
  • Promote Fundraising: Social media is a great platform for promoting fundraising initiatives. Share links to your crowdfunding campaigns or information about upcoming fundraising events.

By promoting your dance program on social media, you not only reach more people but also increase your chances of finding funding opportunities. After all, you never know who's scrolling through their feed and wondering how to find grants for dance programs, do you?

Follow up and Thank Your Supporters

So, you've used all the tips and tricks and found some incredible grants for your dance program. Great job! But the journey doesn't end there. One often overlooked step in the process of how to find grants for dance comes after you've secured the funding—thanking your supporters and keeping them updated.

  • Say Thanks: You might be surprised to know how far a simple thank you can go. Make sure you take the time to thank each person or organization that contributed to your program. This can be as simple as a heartfelt email, a phone call, or even a thank you note.
  • Provide Updates: Your supporters didn't just give you their hard-earned money—they gave it to you because they believe in your program. Keep them in the loop about how their contributions are making a difference. You can share updates through newsletters, emails, or even social media posts.
  • Invite Them to Shows: What better way to show your supporters the impact of their contributions than to invite them to a performance? This not only allows them to see the direct results of their support, but also keeps them connected to your program.
  • Ask for Ongoing Support: If your supporters were willing to help once, chances are they'll be happy to help again in the future. Don't be afraid to ask for ongoing support. Remember, the key is to make them feel valued and appreciated.

Remember, the process of finding grants for your dance program doesn't end when you get the money—it's a continuous cycle of seeking support, utilizing that support, and showing appreciation. So, don't forget to follow up, say thank you, and keep your supporters engaged. After all, they're a big part of your dance program's success story.

If you're looking for more resources on funding your dance program, you might find the workshop 'Applying for Your MFA (Masters in Fine Art)' by Ciarra K. Walters helpful. While primarily focused on MFA applications, the workshop also covers aspects of grant applications and funding opportunities that could be relevant to your dance program. Dive into the workshop to gain valuable insights and tips on how to secure funding for your artistic endeavors.