Funding applications are a fact of life for any creative.
But while they’re necessary and helpful, they can be intimidating for artists and performers, no matter what the chosen discipline.
However, there are a few things you can do to ensure your application has the best chance of success – these are some tips from funding agencies on what makes an application stand out, and increases your chances of getting funded.
- COVID-19 has been the great disrupter to the creative sector over the last two years and unfortunately it’s likely to be with us for some time. Funding applications that provide clear planning around COVID – and in particular, plans for Alert level changes – are necessary during this time. Applicants should give thought to how keep audiences, as well as performers, safe and what contingencies will be in place in case the COVID situation changes.
- Ideas or concepts that are clearly expressed (can you describe what you want to do in a sentence?) are looked on favourably. As are clearly defined timelines for your project.
- Have you outlined all the different platforms your work might be available on? If it’s a staged piece, could it also be streamed? Funding applications that take into account different ways of getting work out to the public have a greater chance of being granted. Also, give some consideration as to shelf-life. How long will your project be available for? Are there ways of ensuring it lives on after your project has finished?
- Ensure your application outlines how all contributors to your project will be remunerated.
- It’s a good idea to do some research on whether there are similar projects to your own, and if so, how does your project differ from anything already being offered? Take some time to think about your point of difference and whether you will be serving audiences who are currently not being served.
- Take some time to think about what you’re wanting to achieve with your project. It’s okay if it’s a way to develop your own practice, but there may also be benefits to the wider landscape and community. If you can articulate what your aims are in regard to your work, you have a greater chance of being funded.
- Have you outlined all your relevant experience? Make sure you’re not under or over selling yourself and include any experiences you have been part of that help reinforce your ability to complete your project. It’s also really important to highlight the skills and experience of any supporting team members in your project. If you’ve had previous success in delivery, then outline it in your application. Experience counts, so don’t be shy in selling yourself.
- Again, detail the relevant skills and past experience of all the people involved in your project.
- Have you included any letters of support or confirmation of participants or partners or venues? It’s always a good idea to have letters of support for any project you’re doing – it helps reinforce the importance of what you’re doing and also gives confidence that there are audiences and support people willing to back your idea.
- When outlining your project – don’t assume that funding assessors will know you or your work. Be really specific about any past projects you have been successful in or delivered. Don’t be afraid of singing your own praises or including reviews or recommendations from third parties. You don’t need to provide a full rundown on everything you’ve ever done, but do point out highlights in your career so far and give the assessors a rounded picture of who you are and what you’ve done.
- If you can outline how your project is going to develop your own practice, or build capability within your sector then make sure you also explain how this will happen. Will this project expand or deepen your practice? Will it manifest in workshops or rehearsals? What will be the feedback process and how will that help refine your practice?
- Take time to make a clear and concise plan that details the project and its goals; an actual plan with details on how you are going to manage it; clear timeframes for the plan from idea to execution.
- Take plenty of time over budgets. While budgeting can be a headache, it is perhaps one of the most important parts of your application.
- Ensure your budgets are realistic. Don’t under or over quote.
- Outline remuneration for yourself and any support people in your project
- Try and be as realistic as possible on any revenue forecasting
- Detail any funding shortfalls and show evidence of how that shortfall will be addressed (potential partners etc.)
- Detail any other financial partners/supporters – this gives greater confidence for funders.