1. find a good fit. look at their past recipients, their mission, who their supporters are. these are some good clues to see if that grant is a good fit for you.
2. research the reviewing process. every organization's panel goes through a slightly different process, so just call them and ask about it. for example with artist trust, the first round of review is based only on the artwork. they sit in a room all day and look at each of the 10 images from each of the hundreds of applicants and narrow it down to 20%-30% of the applicants. they don't read your artist statement, resume or proposal during their first vote. so that means about 75% of their decisions is based on your work. so....
3. only show your best work and make sure that you have killer photos.
4. keep it simple and to the point. your artist statement, proposal, budget, everything. say everything you need to and be clear, but in as few words as you can. keep in mind that they are reading hundreds of these applications.
5. apply (and apply and apply) your not going to get their money if you don't try. and your probably not going to get most of the grants that you apply for, but don't let that slow you down. they say if you don't have a stack of rejection letters on your desk your not applying for enough grants. and there is really a grant out there for everything (i mean everything ) go research it, apply and make art.