We just opened a new grant program at New Music USA, providing general operating support (that is, unrestricted money) to small new music ensembles and venues based in New York City. If that’s you, go apply to the New Music Impact Fund.

I’m writing about it because my team has launched a couple of other really cool features to make this program, and its approach to funding, possible. Our platform already works on public-facing content instead of private letters of application. Projects at New Music USA are meant to build audience, and meant to help us build your audience. Our main program, project grants, supports specific, time-limited projects in this way.

Instead of biographical notes or letters of intent, our system asks you to maintain a single lightweight profile (or just to link to your existing website; no need to maintain something extra if you don’t have to). Because the impact fund is about supporting organizations directly, the application process is based on these social media style profiles. They’re where organizations can keep descriptions of their work, and samples of their music. The only things we’re requiring you to make and upload are a budget and your calendar for last year’s shows. And the eligible organizations probably have those things handy already.

A lot of what we’ve done at New Music USA is about making applying easier, and about helping artists achieve their goals without wasting time. This new program will also include a lot of interesting marketing support that we’ll talk more about later, but right now the thing I’m most proud of is this: most of the applications for this grant were pretty much done before we even started building.

As funders, its our job to make a process that can fairly distribute resources with minimal disruption for the community we support. It’s not the applicant’s job to conform to our requirements to make our jobs easier. We’re able to make this process this easy because we have three awesome developers on staff and a whole organization committed to our platform.

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