NET/TEN - Frequently Asked Questions

UPDATED FOR 2018-19! 

1. What is the difference between Travel Grants, Exchange Grants and Continuation Grants?

Travel Grants are intended to initiate and strengthen relationships, removing the barriers of distance. These grants are awarded twice per grant cycle and range from $500 to $2,000. International travel and activities are allowed. Full guidelines and eligibility can be found HERE.

Exchange Grants build on and deepen existing relationships through shared activity and peer-to peer learning with an artistic, technical/production or administrative goal.  These grants are awarded once a year, range from $3,000 to $10,000, and require a 1:1 match. International projects are not supported. Full guidelines and eligibility can be found HERE.

Continuation Grants sustain and move forward relationships previously funded by NET/TEN Exchange Grants. A $10,000 award is granted one time a year. Full guidelines and eligibility can be found HERE.

To see a chart comparing the eligible expenses of  each grant program (Travel vs. Exchange vs. Continuation), please click HERE.

2. What kinds of activities does the NET/TEN program support?

The NET/TEN grant program supports a variety of travel and exchange activities. Funds are intended to provide recipients with the opportunity to take financial risks, explore something beyond what they are already doing, and/or more fully capitalize collaborations. Here are a few examples:

Travel Grants:

  • Visit an artist or company you’ve always wanted to get to know or observe;
  • Bring in a guest artist to guide or lead a rehearsal;
  • Plan a future project with another artist, ensemble, or presenter;
  • Explore a theme, challenge, or technical element of an upcoming project;
  • Host online conversations or e-meetings leading up to an in-person rehearsal;
  • Get to know a potential cross-sector or cross-discipline partner (i.e. someone from outside the arts, or from an arts discipline or genre beyond your own).

Exchange Grants:

  • Share rehearsals or exchange performance techniques, methodologies, or training exercises;
  • Create a shared work or performance;
  • Host a joint retreat with shared workshops and community building;
  • Plan a series of administrative meetings to learn about ensemble consensus, board/staff structures, succession planning, and/or financial management.

Please click HERE to see more examples of previously funded Travel Grant and Exchange Grant activities.

3. Are performance tours supported?

Yes, through the Exchange Grants component of the NET/TEN program; tours are not, however, a required element of these grants. Travel Grants do not support performance tours.

4. Can I apply for a Travel Grant to attend a festival, conference or training session?

No, the purpose of the NET/TEN grants program is to support one-on-one relationship building. If the sole purpose of your request is to register or travel to a pre-existing conference, festival, public workshop or training it will be deemed ineligible. Our rationale is that the Travel Grants are designed for you to build a relationship with an individual or organization; it is much harder to make a case for developing a relationship with a program or event.

5. I’m not sure which grant to apply for, which one do you suggest?

If you answer “yes” to any of the questions below you may want to consider applying for that program.

Travel Grants:

  • Is there an artist or company you have always wanted to know more about?
  • Is there an artist or company you’ve wanted to collaborate with, but haven’t had the time or the money to start the planning process?
  • Is there a specific methodology you are interested in learning, so that you can teach it to other members of your ensemble?

Exchange Grants:

  • Are you an ensemble or collective?
  • Have you been collaborating with another organization or individual?
  • Are you ready to explore a deeper relationship with an existing collaborator?
  • Are you and an existing collaborator wanting to build a shared work?
  • Is there an ensemble or collective you want to host at your venue for an exchange and performance?
  • Is there a specific skill or methodology you are looking to learn?

6. Can I apply for both a Travel Grant and an Exchange Grant?

There is no restriction on applying to both programs; however, you may not receive more than one NET/TEN grant within a single year’s grant cycle. (i.e. If you apply and receive a Fall 2018 Travel Grant, you are no longer eligible to receive an 2018-19 Exchange Grant or a Spring 2019 Travel Grant). If you apply and do not receive a grant, then you may apply again within the same year’s grant cycle or a following year’s cycle.

7. My project was not accepted during the previous cycle, may I reapply with the same project activities?

Yes. If you have applied in the past and did not receive a grant, you may certainly reapply with the same project, as long as your activities still meet the guidelines and take place within the new project period. You are strongly encouraged to contact NET program staff at netten@ensembletheaters to request feedback about your previous application.

8. I’ve applied multiple times and have been unsuccessful. What am I doing wrong and what can I do to improve my chances?

The grant selection process is a competitive one. We understand how frustrating the grant process can be, especially when you have spent a considerable amount of time on your application and it is not selected to receive support. The best way to improve your chances in future rounds is to request a one-on-one feedback call with NET staff. Feedback calls are designed to provide context about the review process and to share the comments of the review panel. We are happy to provide this service as professional development for the field and enjoy working with applicants to strategize and plan for future rounds. Every grant program is a little different and it can take a few times to get the hang of how to craft your narrative and responses to the grant questions to match the selection criteria. We have seen very low scoring applicants significantly improve their rankings in future rounds. NET staff provides feedback and direct technical assistance upon request to help you maximize your chances for a successful application.

9. Can I look at an application that received funding?

Applicants currently have the expectation of confidentiality in terms of the materials they've submitted to NET, so we take the responsibility of maintaining and honoring that privacy seriously. We are therefore unable to offer this service at this time, but we are looking into how to offer this in future rounds.

10. Can you read my application in advance and give me notes?

We currently do not have the staff capacity to offer a full review to every applicant in advance, so unfortunately this is not possible. In some cases, we are able to review a limited portion of your application (i.e. one specific question or your budget). This is offered on a case-by-case basis and is subject to the time and availability of NET staff in advance of the deadline. If you would like to request this type of personalized review, we ask that you contact NET staff as early as possible; requests received close to the deadline are less likely to be able to be accommodated.

11. Where can I find project partners?

NET/TEN grants are all about relationship building. Selecting a project partner depends on your personal circumstances. There is no requirement for a partner to be a NET member, however looking within the NET community may be a good place to start. You can see a list of NET members listed HERE.

Travel Grants are designed for starting new relationships or strengthening relationships that already exist. Partners are often (but not always) a company or organization that an applicant has always wanted to work with, and frequently (but not always) an individual that an applicant has met at a conference or elsewhere in  the field.

Exchange Grants are designed for building and deepening existing relationships, so it’s important that you already know your partner. Who are you working with currently, or have you enjoyed collaborating with before? NET/TEN also looks to support relationships and projects where mutual learning can take place. Who do you want to learn from? Who do you want to share something with? Keep in mind that Exchange Grant project partners may also be outside of the field (i.e. other non-profits, non-arts-based experts, community organizers, etc) or from arts disciplines beyond your own.

12. What do you mean “outside relationships”?

The assumption for Travel and Exchange Grants is that the funds will be used to support outside relationships. In other words, the partner you identify should not simply be a current member of your ensemble who lives in a different geographic region, or a remote staff member of your organization. That said, if you need to use some of your project funds to facilitate ensemble travel that’s related to the supported activities, you can—it just can’t be the sole purpose of your request. We’re looking for grant funds to allow you to do things beyond your normal day-to-day operations, with outside partners.

13. How you do define an “existing relationship”?

We don’t. We are intentionally vague about what constitutes an existing relationship. Relationships can be defined and quantified in many ways, so we leave this up to the applicant to explain in the application. As a general rule of thumb, if you’ve never met before or don’t have a working understanding of each other’s methodology, then you aren’t ready to apply for an Exchange Grant and should instead take a look at developing a relationship first through the Travel Grant program.

14. Can I include multiple project partners in my application?

Yes. For Travel Grants, you may include as many partners in your proposal as you like, keeping in mind what is feasible in terms of your budget. For Exchange Grants, multi-partner exchanges are allowed, however you will need to clearly articulate the reciprocal benefits to each partner. Each partner should have the opportunity to learn from the other(s), either within the grant period, or as part of a larger project or timeframe.

15. May I be listed in multiple applications?

For Travel Grants, applicants may submit only one application, but may be listed or included as partners in applications submitted by others (i.e. you may receive a grant to travel, and another individual/company may receive a grant to visit you). For Exchange Grants, an organization may be named in only one proposal, either as lead applicant or as a project partner.

16. Do applicants and project partners have to come from different areas?

Travel Grants aim to eliminate the barriers of distance and travel, and therefore assume that applicants’ activities will extend beyond their immediate geographic areas. Exchange Grants support activities between any eligible partners located in the United States, even if they are in the same city.

17. Are more established larger organizations and ensembles more likely to receive a grant?

No. NET values a broad range of experiences, multiple perspectives, and diversity in all areas (including organizational size); please refer to NET’s Equity in Funding Statement HERE.

Click HERE to see a list of past participants and the regions where their activities took place. What makes a project most competitive is good ideas and exciting goals!

18. What is the purpose of the community engagement component in Exchange Grants?

Building community is a priority for NET, and is a NET/TEN program goal. The required community engagement activities in Exchange Grants are intended to expose a broader audience to the process and value of ensemble methods and practices. These activities can serve the general public or local artists/ensembles. It is entirely up to you and what makes the most sense for your project and community.

19. Will a grant take away from my ability to serve my local audience?

No. The ultimate goal of the program is to support ensembles in better serving their audiences, by bringing back skills and knowledge to the home organization. Exchange Grants have a required community engagement component, and Travel Grants require applicants to think about how they will share their learning. Every applicant must determine for themselves what their organizational capacity is to fulfill the grant.

20. I’m struggling with how to answer the questions about equity, diversity, and inclusion. Do you have any advice?

The question prompts great conversations in our information sessions and feedback calls, especially for ensembles that are struggling to address diversity within their organization. We encourage applicants to answer both parts of the application question carefully – a) how do you (the applicant/ensemble) embrace NET’s values, and b) how do the proposed activities provide an opportunity for you to further your commitment or open up conversations about where you would like to go deeper? We’re looking for applicants to be transparent about where they are and to communicate in a direct and honest way, instead of giving us a glossy, less authentic answer that you think the panel wants to hear. Before you begin, please be sure to read NET’s Equity in Funding Statement (above) and feel free to reach out to us if you have additional questions or want to discuss this part of your application.

21. What is a Shareback?

Building field knowledge is a primary goal of the NET/TEN program. Thus, in addition to a final report, grantees and their participating partners will be asked to provide NET with at least one piece of content that we can share publicly as part of the NET/TEN Shareback Library.

Sharebacks are not intended to document the work; instead the materials provided should be tutorial or instructive and focus on the most exciting, innovative, and instructional portions of your activities that may be helpful to other artists or ensembles embarking on similar projects or investigations.

Sharebacks from previously funded projects can be viewed at: www.ensembletheaters.net/sharebacks.

22. I don’t understand the 1:1 match requirement for Exchange Grants. Can you please explain?

For every dollar of NET/TEN funding requested in an Exchange Grant proposal, the applicant must show an equal amount of cash or in-kind support from other sources in their proposed budgets. Projects with budgets of $6,000 or less may use in-kind contributions for all of the match, if applicants wish. Projects with budgets greater than $6,000 must use cash for at least half of the match, but the remainder can be from in-kind contributions. Any partner in an Exchange Grant may provide the match; it does not need to come equally from each applicant.

Examples:

Ex. 1:
Project Budget = $3,000
$1,500 grant request + $1,500 in kind contributions

Ex. 2:
Project Budget = $6,000
$3K grant request + $3K in kind contributions or cash match

Ex. 3:
Project Budget = $8,000
$4K grant request + $2k cash match (minimum) + $2K in kind contributions (maximum)

Ex. 4:
Project Budget = $10,000
$5K grant request + $2,500 cash match (minimum) + $2,500 in kind contributions (maximum)

Ex. 5:
Project Budget = $20,000
$10K grant request + $5,000 cash match (minimum) + $5,000 in kind contributions (maximum)

23. What are in-kind contributions, and how do I include them in my budget?

In-kind contributions are goods or services of identifiable value that are provided free-of-charge, or for less than fair market value. These are goods or services that you would have needed to buy or pay for if they hadn’t been donated.

In-kind contributions should be reflected equally in both the income and expense sections of your budget (amount of in-kind income = amount of in-kind expense). The values should be recorded as fair market value -- what it would have cost you to purchase/pay for this, what the donor usually would charge for the good or service (a venue's full standard hourly rate for space rental, the regular hourly rate that this professional customarily would bill for their services, etc.)

24. How do I use the budget template?

Click HERE to download a sample Exchange Grant budget. Click HERE to download a sample Travel Grant budget. If you need assistance, email program staff at netten@ensembletheaters.net to set up a time to speak by phone.

25. May I use a fiscal sponsor to apply?

Yes, funds can be issued directly to an organization or via a fiscal sponsor, subject to any rules your fiscal sponsor has about applying for and receiving funds. You are strongly encouraged to check with your sponsor (or sponsorship agreement) prior to submitting an application.

If you have any further questions, please contact program staff at: netten@ensembletheaters.net

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