Marketing Grant Program

Visit Winona is committed to helping its partners be successful in the tourism industry, so it is launching a Marketing Grant Program that will assist partners in their marketing goals.  Read about the inaugural grant program below and please don’t hesitate to ask us questions. 

Grant applications are not being accepted at this time as recipients were notified May 25 for this first round of grant funding.

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Promote and facilitate external marketing by Visit Winona partners with the goal of increasing overnight visitors to Winona.


This Grant Program has been created solely to increase travel and tourism in our community by assisting partner attractions and events in marketing to their target markets that are more than 60 miles from Winona.


The Marketing Grant Program is based on limited dollars available and is a competitive process.
To be considered for a portion of the inaugural marketing grant money, applications may be submitted between Friday, May 4, and Friday, May 18, 2018.

The maximum application amount per event or attraction is $1,000, with a total of $15,000 to be distributed in marketing grants. Partial awards may be given at the discretion of the awarding committee.

All applications received between May 4-18 will be considered and scored together according to the criteria set forth below. The award committee will consist of the executive director, representatives from the Visit Winona Board of Directors, the Visit Winona marketing specialist, and neutral community members. All decisions are final.

Winning grantees from the inaugural grant process will be announced Friday, May 25, 2018. If additional funds are available beyond that announcement, Visit Winona will continue to accept grant applications and consider them on a first-come-first-served basis.

Eligible Applicants

● The applicant organization must be in good standing with the 2018 Visit Winona Partnership Program.
● Applying organizations must be within Winona County or, if not, be specifically promoting overnight travel to the city of Winona


According to state law, grant dollars must be used for marketing expenses only, such as (but not limited to) print or digital advertising, direct mail, designing and printing brochures, enhancing website appearance, etc. Eligible requests can include marketing projects beyond the current calendar year.

Ineligible Elements/Projects: Administrative/staffing costs, capital improvements, equipment purchases, items for resale, raffles, prizes, permanent signage, studies, application taxes, others determined by the Visit Winona Board of Directors.

A maximum of $1,000 per organization is available through this grant program each year. Visit Winona may fund full or partial requests depending on the budget available as well as the nature of the grant request.

Applicants may be asked to answer follow-up questions for the sake of clarity, however, applications are expected to be thoroughly completed and the committee will not follow up for missing information.

Due to the limited funds of the grant program, it is likely that not all eligible requests will receive grants. Past CVB funding of a project should not be construed as approval of future funding for the project. In the event that more grant money is requested than is available, the awarding committee will rank applicants according to the criteria below.

Requests that are missing information or deemed to be ineligible will not receive funds even if grant funds remain available.

Funding will not be made retroactively.

Policies subject to change by the Board of Directors.

Grant Requirements & Restrictions

● Grants may be used in conjunction with other grants or funding for marketing campaigns.

● Grants may not be used for marketing projects already completed.

● Grants may not be used for any purpose except for marketing primarily outside of the Winona area with the intent to bring visitors to the community

● Grant money may not be used for contest awards, wages, capital purchases, operational expenses, or local advertising. Local advertising is defined as any medium primarily designed to reach an audience within 60 miles of Winona.

● Grant applications may include funding requests for multiple, unrelated marketing elements. For example, an applicant could request funding for a direct mail campaign plus a series of digital banner ads or print ads. The total sum of the request may not be more than $1,000, and partial awards may be granted rather than the entire amount requested.

● Any marketing programs using grant dollars must be directed at the public as a whole irrespective of membership or association. The event or attraction being marketed must be operating within city, state, and federal laws and be open to the public.

● Grant dollars will ONLY be awarded to applicants who provide in their application the specific costs for a marketing project along with the timeline, provider, audience, reach, and other details based on research completed in preparation for a marketing purchase. Nonspecific marketing requests will not be funded.

● Visit Winona will provide, via a written agreement, the specific approval for expenses eligible for grant funding. At the discretion of the awarding committee, a partial award may be made to an applicant, who will then have the option of accepting the grant or not. Grant recipients will be responsible for executing the agreement based on the written approval from the award committee.

● Grant dollars, without exception, will be paid to winning applicants AFTER the agreed upon marketing purchase is made and receipts showing date, amount, and final total cost, as well as ad tear sheets, invoices and other proofs are provided to Visit Winona.

● All advertisements and/or collateral materials created with the help of promotional grant funds must include the Visit Winona logo.

● Advertising and direct mail projects must be directed at marketing outside of the Winona region and cannot be used for local promotion, signage for an event, or printed programs or brochures distributed at the event or attraction itself.

● If guidelines are not carried out as agreed, the organization will not be reimbursed and will not be ineligible to apply for future Visit Winona Marketing Grant Programs for a period of five years.

● In the event that Visit Winona offers two grant programs within a calendar year, an organization is only eligible to receive a grant once per year.

● Grant applications will not be held on file for future grant programs.

Applicants are invited to contact Visit Winona marketing specialist Cynthya Porter with specific questions about the grant program.

For those looking for assistance cultivating a marketing plan, Visit Winona has prepared a handout containing marketing co-ops and other marketing opportunities that organizations of all sizes may find beneficial. In addition, Visit Winona will host two marketing workshops for partners prior to the May 4 grant application opening. Those workshops will be brown-bag lunch sessions from noon-1 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, and Wednesday, April 18 in the Briarcombe Classroom at the Winona County History Center. Please RSVP to Kate Carlson at

Applications can be submitted as PDFs via email to or by hard copy to Visit Winona, ℅ Executive Director Pat Mutter, 160 Johnson Street, Winona, MN 55987


(1.) Organization Information

Organization: ____________________________________________

Contact Name: ____________________________________________

Mailing Address: __________________________________________

City: __________________________ State ______ Zip _________

Phone: ________________________

Email Address: _________________________________________

(2.) Promotions Information (please attach additional pages as needed)

Description of the Grant Project Overview–a description of the project or marketing campaign including how and where you plan on using the funds:

Project Estimated Begin Date: __________________

Estimated Completion Date: ____________________

Please include any other dates related to the project:


Grant project schedule to include, when applicable, the following information:
The proposed media placement and schedules (if applicable).


Estimated project cost to include copies of professional service bids such as creative design, print, enhancements, photography, and so on. (Please include information on local vendor services, if applicable).


Include the distribution/marketing plan for your project, include the quantity of promotional pieces to be printed, distributed, and/or mailed, (if applicable), or the expected digital or print audience.


(3.) Funding Information
The costs should be estimated as closely as possible based on actual quotes received.
Total Project Cost $ _______________________________________________________________________
Grant Funds Requested $ ___________________________________________________________________
Applicant Match $ _________________________________________________________________________

How is your organization funded, and what other funding sources have you applied for or considered to support the grant project? Please Explain.


(4.) Required Information

What goals have you set for this marketing activity, and how to you expect it to increase the number of visitors to Winona?


Are new partnerships being formed to support the grant activities?

What do you expect the economic impact or other benefits will be to the Winona region as a result of this marketing activity? Are there other ways this project will impact the community? Please Explain.

What percentage of your customers or attendees are currently coming from a greater than 60-mile radius of Winona?


How will this project be tracked?


By submitting this application, I have read the guidelines and agree to follow them. If guidelines are not carried out as described, the organization is, in turn, ineligible to apply for the annual Visit Winona Grant Program for a period of five years.

In the event the festival or event receiving grant dollars is canceled, the undersigned accepts full financial responsibility for the grant disbursement and will repay the full amount within 30 days of the event or festival’s cancellation, regardless of the reasons for the cancellation.

Printed Name: ____________________________________________

Signature: _______________________________________________

Date: __________________________

Please include additional supporting information and/or materials, if desired, as attachments.

Evaluation Form
(for internal use only)

Applicant: __________________________ Date: _________________

Summary of Request: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Evaluation criteria:

Criteria to Consider Rank on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high)
a) The application purpose meets eligibility criteria.
b) Applicant has completed request thoroughly with specific figures, obvious research, and a formed plan based on solid marketing principles.
c) Marketing campaign would have a measurable effect on the organization’s success as well as its ability to attract overnight visitors to Winona.
d) The marketing plan has an appropriate reach with relation to cost, the applicant has a strategy for tracking results, and the marketing results are measurable.
e) The marketing program is likely to benefit Winona overall including ancillary businesses that may benefit from visitors attracted by this campaign.
The marketing plan is primarily directed at a non-local audience (60+ miles) with any local reach to be incidental
The organization has a clear understanding of who its target audience is and has selected a marketing plan that will enhance its success reaching that audience.

Approval: Yes/No
Grant Awarded: $_____________ Notes:__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________