Applying for funding can be a daunting prospect at first. It can be hard to know what funders are looking for and what they’re not looking for.
Whilst each funding body may have their own unique set of requirements, there are some general tips that will apply to most.
Not too long, not too short
Your project outline needs to get across the main points but avoid waffling on. Be concise and to the point but don’t make it too short either – funders need the important stuff! Keep it simple and try to think like the funder, providing only the information they would want. Your narrative should flow naturally and be uniformly formatted so as to be as easy to read as possible.
Read the guidelines (and stick to them)
Most funding bodies will have guidelines to filling in applications. They can sometimes be rather dull documents but make sure you read them – they are there to help you! In most cases where you come across a problem, the answer will be in the guidelines.
Include everything asked for
If you are required to supply additional documents like a budget or photographs, then make sure you put them in. If you don’t, delays will occur which could have knock-on effects and jeopardise your project. Make sure you have all supporting documents and evidence when you send the application.
Once you have completed your application, go back through checking for spelling and grammar errors and any missing information that the funders require. Get someone unrelated to the project to read through your proposal; if they have trouble following it, so will the funding evaluator. You should check your application at least twice.
Meet the deadline
Deadlines are there for a reason and if you miss the funder’s closing date your application is likely to be rejected. Make sure you have everything you need to hand and don’t leave it all to the last minute!
If you’re unsure – ASK!
Sometimes applying can be confusing, particularly if it’s your first time running a project. If you are unsure about anything within the application form then get in touch. Not filling in a section or putting it off will undoubtedly cause delays.
Try to avoid making these common mistakes:
- Rushing - give yourself enough time for the application
- Difficult to read - don't use jargon, acronyms, technical language etc.
- Errors - spelling, grammar, format etc.
- Missing sections - complete the entire form as required
- Lack of focus - your proposal should be clear
- Missing the deadline
Go to the next section - Cash and cash flow
Go to the previous section - Fundraising