Avoid wasting unnecessary time filling out the wrong form by sitting down and researching what funding options the Arts Council provide in order to find which type of funding is right for your project.
The Council now meet quarterly to discuss funding applications so it is worthwhile checking when the deadlines are so that you can give yourself as much time as possible to complete the application (no one enjoys an all-nighter!). Council do not fund retrospectively so you wouldn’t want to miss out on that all important funding if your event falls before the next funding deadline.
Just as important as the deadlines. Check out the guidelines to make sure you’re familiar with the funding and decision making process. That way you will know what to expect when contacting the office team about your application.
Start writing well ahead of the deadline. Put it aside for a couple of days and come back with fresh eyes. Ideally, get someone else to read it through. Bad spelling and grammar won’t necessarily rule you out, but they leave a bad impression and don’t inspire confidence.
You can’t always assume that everyone has heard of you so help make Council’s job a little easier by providing as many examples of your work that best represents you in relation to your application. If you’re a musician, ensure your music is easy to access (with working links), if you’re an artist, provide high quality images of your work etc. Make sure that what you do best comes across in the most accessible way possible.
If you give a link to something make sure it is up to date and relevant showcasing your most recent gigs and current social media activity. Remember the Council will most likely Google you!
The Council are looking for artists with credibility. Though a testimonial is not essential, providing evidence shows that audiences is actively engaged or invested in your work. For example you could include things like if you’re getting radio airplay, good write-ups about your workshops, reviews in publications, prestigious gigs or a fast-growing fanbase.
This is especially important if you're applying for funding for projects relating to bands, film or venue support. The Council want to see that you understand what you need to do next and where you want to get to with the project so a strong plan is a must. Convince them that the money will be well spent.
Add realistic costs - we like to see balanced budgets. Also consider what other sources of funding there are.
Try to find the right balance between providing too much information and too little. Avoid jargon or overly academic language. Be as clear as possible about what you want to achieve and how you would do it if you received a grant. Headings and bullet points can help to structure an application in a way that makes it easier to read.
Can the person assessing your application understand your ideas and intentions properly? Remember who your audience is, read through and imagine you are the funder – would you back your project?
Let the Joint National Strategy for Culture and the Arts be your best friend. Though it is not a guarantee of funding, telling the Council all the ways in which your project will help them meet their six ambition points will ensure a strong application.
It’s okay to make mistakes, we’re only human after all, but try to avoid making the same mistake twice. Those taking feedback on board before re-applying are more likely to receive funding.
Part of the Arts Council’s conditions of funding is that you acknowledge us when promoting, exhibiting and publicising your work. Make sure you take note of any specific conditions, and keep the us up-to-date with any changes to your plans. There is usually some flexibility if your project develops in a slightly different way to how it was originally planned. Remember also to credit the Arts Council appropriately with a logo and verbal shoutout, invite us to gigs, and to give us a mention every now and then on social media!
We’re really appreciative when we receive thanks as it helps others to realise the importance of the arts in our everyday lives and it means that we can keep up to date with all the amazing things you’re doing.
Remember human beings will be assessing your application. They want to be excited by your ideas, so show your excitement, your passion and your desire in the way you write.