Organizing applying to grants, conferences, calls, etc


I apply to a number of grants, Call for Artists, Requests for Proposals, proposals for conference talks, and more. I usually apply to about half a dozen or so a month, though sometimes many more.

When I was first applying to things a few years ago I met with a friend who showed me how she did it. She used a google spreadsheet. I copied some parts of her system and then built my own system that I've been using for years now. It's simple and works for me. Feel free to use any of this info, which is pretty basic, in case it works for you.

This post is completely on my organizational system and not at all on the content of what I choose to write/apply with. I may do a post on that at some point, but it's not found here.

Organization system

A single file

I use a single plaintext (markdown) file that lists Upcoming deadlines, followed by a section called Applied, followed by a section called Missed. If I apply to something, I move the line from Upcoming to Applied. If I missed one I move it to Missed. I don't look at Missed very often at all if ever. I check Applied after I get email responses to things letting me know whether I got a grant or not. For example, I sometimes apply to 100 things a year and might not hear back from an application for months or up to a year, so it helps me to go back and see "what was that again?" This is a very simple system because I need it simple and foolproof.

Note that below I'm leaving out the info on the individual things I'm applying to. After, I'll show you what that looks like.


## Upcoming Deadlines
* xxxx
* xxxx
* etc ..

## Applied
* xxxx
* xxxx

## Missed
* xxxx
* xxxx

Above I showed you the basic organization of my document. Here's what a single application line will look like for me, in Markdown.

* [ ] Name of organization and/or grant/funding/conference - [more info]( - Deadline date, time, timezone - quick note on what I'm thinking I will propose

For those on a device that makes it hard to scroll, I'll break it down:

* [ ] - text here

This is a list item with a checkbox when converted to markdown in some specs. I click the checkbox by filling it with a X instead of a space when complete. I then move it down to the "Applied" section in my text file. For those things I don't end up applying for because I didn't have a good idea or I missed it, I move the line to the "Missed" section.

After the checkbox I list the organization and conference name, then a link to where the info and application is located online, followed by the deadline day, time, timezone. Sometimes I add a quick few words on what I think I may apply with, which could be a specific project I have in mind. Other times I don't know and leave this blank for now.

Now, I'll describe how I organize the "work" of applying to each opportunity.

A series of folders with my apps

This section is where I do the writing and saving of my files relating to these applications.


I have a directory called Opportunities. In that I have directories for each year. Inside each year directory I have a separate directory for each opportunity I end up applying to. Usually I copy files from a previous application I've done and duplicate it into this new opportunity's folder. Then I open it up and end up editing this application to more appropriately respond to the call. Often these opprtunities I'm applying for use a Google form or similar. So I copy the questions (followed by listing the character/word count) to a text file, then I write and edit in the text file. This is helpful because I can check my word count or character count and keep editing til I get it right. I also don't have to worry about what happens if the website crashes and I've been doing my editing inside the form.

For artist calls I usually have to submit a portfolio of images, or links to a portfolio somewhere on the internet. For academic conferences I usually have to submit a CV, either my full professional CV or else a 1 page CV, or sometimes a 3 page CV. Other times they ask for a bio, an artist statement, or something else. Always I start by using previous text I've written, then modifying it for character count, or to tailor its content to that specific call.

Here's a little more detail on how the directories are organized:

Opportunities >
              2022 >
	      2021 >
	      2020 >

Deadlines and Timezones!

I live on the east coast of the US, and many of the things I'm applying to have deadlines of midnight on the last day of a month at midnight EST. For example, I had several grants due on midnight on halloween this week. Other grants are due at midnight on the 1st of the month. Organizations or conferences on the west coast of the US have deadlines perhaps at midnight PST, which is 3am here. Organizations or universities in Europe could be one of several different times. Some organizations, particularly government institutional ones specify deadlines of 5pm in their timezone.

If you apply to everything way in advance, you can ignore this. Unfortunately, that's not me. I'm sometimes working on an app on the last day and hours it's due. For this reason I always have to be careful I check the timezone, then translate that to my timezone so I know exactly when an app deadline is dropdead due. Unfortunately, with daylight savings and similar phenomenon this causes confusion, especially as the US may or may not switch following Daylight savings, some states ignore it, some parts of Europe follow a different daylight savings switch date, etc.

Because of this many particularly European opportunities list UTC time. favorite timezone is Anywhere on Earth (AoE)! I've only ever seen this specified on one opportunity I've applied for, G-d bless it.

Anywhere on Earth (AoE) is a calendar designation which indicates that a period expires when the date passes everywhere on Earth. It is a practice to help specify easy to understand deadlines such as "March 16, 2004, End of Day, Anywhere on Earth (AoE)" without requiring timezone calculations or Daylight saving time adjustments.

Anyway, that's my organization system. Hopefully it's useful for you. Best of luck on your projects!

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