Making an Application
When preparing an application for funding be sure to thoroughly read all information provide by the funding body. It is also important to familiarise yourself with the organisation and previous projects they have funded so as to have an idea of the work they support. Most organisations will answer questions and be happy to discuss your eligibility for their specific funding program.
For in-depth information about the stages involved in writing your application we recommend the excellent tips provided on the Artquest site Writing Applications. This section covers the many stages involved in writing your application. Including: research you need to do before applying, guidance on filling in application forms and writing an artists' statement, budget advice, and making unsolicited applications. It also outlines the different approaches you will need to take depending on whether you are applying to a trust, foundation, public subsidy or private sponsorship.
Most funding applications will require you to send some documentation of examples of your work. It is vital that you do your work justice by sending in high quality, professional, clearly labelled examples. Never assume that the funder knows your work. It is unlikely that the person or panel reviewing your application will have time to view large amounts of material, so you will need to carefully select clips and short pieces that are a good representation of your practice. The LUX Distribution Guide outlines a good approach to preparing promotional materials relating to moving image works. This relates to general promotion of work but is just as relevant for funding applications, particularly in relation to CVs and showreels.
You will usually need to prepare a balanced budget showing all your other income sources and everything that you will need to spend. A simple way to prepare a budget is to write out a 'shopping list' - an itemised account of everything that you will need to purchase, hire, and spend money on. It is a good idea to be as detailed as possible. For example, rather than put an entry like 'film stock = £396' make sure to give more detail, for example '16mm Fuji colour negative stock 500T = £56.13 per roll x 6 rolls'. Include any 'in-kind' support - anything that you are getting for free, including goods and people's time. This needs to be included in your expenditure list, and also as an income - you are simultaneously spending it and having it paid for, making it free!
Some examples of funding application budgets can be found here (an example travel and film project from an artist applying to the Arts Council England 'Grants for the Arts' scheme).
We also recommend the Artists Information Company website which contains good guides for artists on preparing budgets, funding applications and proposals. You will need to become a subscriber to access all of them (rates currently start at £28 for a UK based individual).
- Be aware of funding deadlines - many funds only have one per year so be sure not to miss them.
- Research the funding source you are planning to approach, and contact them directly to make sure that you are eligible.
- Have someone read over your application before you submit it. This is helpful in picking up on typos, but also is useful in making sure that your application makes sense and that there are no gaps.
- Double and triple check your budget.
- If your application is unsuccessful, don't be discouraged, contact the funder for feedback.