Writing a Funding Application

When applying for funding, it is important to understand what the funder is looking for and the kinds of projects that are normally supported. Funders will be looking for quality of work and a strong idea, with a good indication that you will complete the project successfully according to your past work and collaborations. Visuals will help funders understand your project better and how your project will be completed logistically. Have a realistic budget and timeline and try to instil confidence in the funder that you can complete the project successfully.

Making an Application

  • Check your eligibility for funding before you begin. When applying for arts funding, use the eligibility wizard on the Arts Council website.
  • Read the guidelines carefully
  • Be clear, honest and realistic
  • Use specifics where possible (ie. how many performances, how many audiences you expect)

If a funder asks for specific information, make sure you respond. For instance, if they ask you to write the proposal with set headings, follow them! Funders receive countless applications, so they look for excuses to reject a proposal.

Completing Application Forms

  • Make sure you fill in all relevant boxes. Some may be for individuals, some for organisations, so be sure you have the correct form to fill out.
  • Complete the budget and make sure it is balanced (ie. the expenditure is the same as the income).
  • The amount you ask for is most likely to be the shortfall from your original estimated budget.
  • Funders will not provide you with 100% of your project expenses. The Arts Council expects to see at least 10% of your costs coming from other sources, which are fulfilled by in-kind and earned income support.

Writing a Proposal

  • Be clear and concise when writing about your project. Keep it short and to the point. Make sure you have a well-developed idea. This is your chance to write about your project and really sell it.
  • Fulfill the appropriate guidelines for the application. Imagine you are the person having to look at hundreds of applications. Provide the appropriate information under the requested headings. Treat it as a job application, where information is systematically laid out, allowing for easy comparison.
  • Your project may involve professional development and/or exploring new/innovative artistic processes. Explain and describe your intentions as clearly as possible, and why you want to do this project and how this will help you as an artist.
  • Of course every project is different, and not every point in the guidelines will be relevant, but provide as much information as you can.
  • If in doubt, call them up and ask what they are looking for in the application. Talk to them about your project and expected budget. It will allow you to get to know their expectations and to make a connection.
  • Include any information that is required. The assessor will not know your work and cannot read your mind.

Working with Funders

So, you’ve got some funding? (Congratulations!)

A few tips on working with your funders.

  • Keep your funders informed throughout project. Follow up with feedback, evaluation and documentation when the project is completed.
  • Make sure you credit your funders properly. If you’re including their logo on any publicity, check you’ve used it correctly and ask if they want to see a proof. Funders expect to be credited for their support in order to raise their company profile.
  • Invite them to your events. Whenever you have a performance, workshop or opening, invite your funders to see your work.
  • Thank them when you get the money and again at the end of the project. It is important to express your gratitude and maintain the relationship with funders.
  • Do what you said you would do in your proposal, ie. keep to your proposed budget. If your project changes significantly and you find you need to spend the money on something different, consult with your funder and check that they are happy with the changes (they usually are if you ask first).
  • Keep financial records of what you spend so you can be accountable – consider setting up a separate bank account for the project to keep the finances separate from your personal money.

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