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If you are new to the world of funding, here are a few things to consider when putting an application together.
Some funds, like Awards for All, are ideal for organisations that are applying for funding for the first time. They will not, however, accept applications from individuals. Grants for the Arts is a very popular fund for individual artists. It can fund individuals and informal groups as well as established arts organisations.
If you need follow up support with your grant applications, please contact your local Arts Development Officer or your local CVS (Council for Voluntary Service).
Most funders prefer to fund groups. By group, they mean that you have a constitution (a statement of the group’s identity, purpose, set of aims and objectives and agreed method of working), at least three committee members, meet regularly, have a bank account in the name of the group, and have an AGM to which members are invited.
Some funds will only support activity that involves certain sectors of the community, for example the Local Network Fund supports projects that involve young people, others will only support certain types of organisation, for example registered charities. It is crucial to make sure you read a fund’s eligibility criteria to make sure that you only apply to funds that you and your project are eligible for. Some funds are set up to support a specific art form, for example Youth Music supports music.
Many funders are keen to have a chat on the phone about your project idea to help you decide whether to apply. They are very approachable and helpful, and this initial conversation will not be considered part of your application.
Most funders will ask you questions like “how do you know there is a need for your project?” or “who will benefit from the activities you are planning?” You will need to discuss your plans and ideas with potential audiences, participants or customers. This not only satisfies the funders, but it also gives you information about how to make your project a success. Funders tend to prefer projects that have some social, environmental or educational benefit, so make sure you can put forward a case for your activities.
Try not to underestimate costs. Funders will be looking for realistic estimates of expenditure and income. If you have any major costs, make sure you get a couple of quotes and allow for inflation if your project will take more than a year.
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