5 Mistakes to avoid when applying for Funding

So you’ve got a brilliant idea for a new project, you just need the cash to be able to do it and your ready to write an application to get that cash. Here are 5 common mistakes to avoid when writing that application!

Not reading the Guidelines or checking if you are eligible for the fund.

This is a real frustration for the funding body or assessor and happens on a regular basis, where an individual or organisations are applying for a project or idea that doesn’t meet the criteria of the fund, or the fund only supports not-for-profit organisations and you are an individual. Reading through the criteria and eligibility section can save you and the funder a lot of time, effort, and frustration! If you are unclear about your eligibility or criteria then phone them up or email them and double check.

Asking for too much money or not enough

Be clear on how much money you need to deliver your project, just because the fund can upper limit is £20,000 doesn’t mean that you should apply for £20,000 if your project only needs £15,000. However, asking for not enough money is just as bad – an assessor looks at how realistic a budget is, has the applicant researched how much it will cost to deliver the aims or objectives of the project. Some applicants assume that asking for less money will increase their chances of success, this is not true and can have the opposite effect.

Avoid jargon and buzz words

Applicants can get caught up in trying to use the ‘right’ language while writing their applications. Use your own words to describe your project, make sure you explain any acronyms or phrases that might be particular to your sector – don’t assume the assessor will know what you are talking about. Using jargon or buzz words can often distract from what you are trying to communicate about your project.

Budgets that don’t make sense

Not only do you need to make sure your budget is correctly calculated, that the income and expenditure match but it also needs to match up to the narrative about your project in your application. For example, if your planning on marketing your project by creating flyers – make sure there is a budget line that shows the design, printing, and distribution of the flyers.

Repeating exact phrases from the funder’s guidelines and not explaining how your idea will address them

Yes, the funder needs to know that your project is high quality, but what makes it a high-quality project? Is it the people involved, is it the product that will be created, is it the partnerships? Just saying that it is or that you will do something from the criteria doesn’t give the assessor enough information to be able to evaluate if it meets the particular criteria.

Need help with your funding application? Check out our workshops ‘Intro to Funding for Creatives‘ or ‘Write that Funding Application‘ or book in for an application check – here!

Jennifer McGlone

Jennifer was a Development Officer at Scottish Arts Council and Creative Scotland for almost seven years, she worked on a variety of funds which involved the assessing of 100s if not 1000s of applications over the years from creative individuals and organisations. She now supports individuals and organisations to develop, create and find funding for their own projects.