Grant Applications

One major source of funding in the cultural and creative sector is through grants from local authorities, charities, the government, and other agencies. Especially when setting up, or seeking an expensive premises, grant funding can be a very valuable source of large one-off payments.

These awards can be very competitive, and it is important to make sure you make an application that gives you and your organisation the best chance of success! This guide will walk you through what information to include and tips for taking advantage of money available.

Before you sit down to write your application for a grant fund, keep these top tips in mind:

  1. Give yourself enough time – if you don’t have other people who can help, writing applications, gathering evidence, etc. can be very time consuming so you don’t want to find yourself scrambling around before a deadline. When you first see the opportunity, have a quick read and think about what is involved and how long you think you will need and plan accordingly. Do also check out the system being used for the application process – for example sometimes you might need to pre-register before being able to apply.
  2. Think about who is giving the money – do you know the funder’s objectives? Make sure you match any criteria otherwise you will waste your time.
  3. Prepare – make sure you have complied with any specific requirements of the funder (Do you need a bank account? Do you need to be set up as a specific business structure? Do you need to be a Charity?)
  4. Focus your attention – the best applications are clear on your objectives and how the money will help you achieve it. The funder will want to know their money is well spent on a specific purpose. So take the time to think about exactly why you would be a good recipient and what you will be spending the money on. This doesn’t mean writing more and often funding applications will have a strict wordcount, so clarity at the beginning will save you lots of time.

Writing your application

When you come to writing your application, you will have hopefully prepared your financial documents, organisational documents, and be ready to go! So, where do you start.

Some grant applications will ask you specific questions to respond to, others won’t.

If you are given a blank canvas to apply, think about explaining the following:

  1. Your organisation
  • Summary of you.
  • What do you want to do?
  • How much will it cost? Try and be realistic and accurate – have you got quotes?
  • Why is it important? Think about the community that will benefit.
  • What resources do you have? Staff, expertise, Trustees?
  1. The funder
  • How do you meet the funder’s criteria?
  • Will your project meet a gap in their service?
  • Is the budget realistic and deliverable – can they trust you?
  1. The project
  • Is the project a one-off or ongoing project?
  • Who does it help and how? Do you have any support from local groups, local Cllrs, local schools etc.
  • Who is the intended audience / recipient?
  • How will people find out about you and your project?
  • How will your success be measured? Do you have any case studies of any similar projects?
  • What partnerships can you engage with, who else might be operating in the space? Your application will be stronger if you show an awareness of potential partners, or others doing similar or aligned work.
  • Do not feel that the budget you are applying for has to cover everything. Be realistic and targeted.

Why have previous applications been unsuccessful?

There isn’t always an option to get feedback on applications (although it is always worth asking). These are some of the main reasons applications fail (so try to avoid them):

  1. Incomplete applications (including not providing requested information or paperwork).
  2. Missing deadlines.
  3. Not being eligible / meeting the specified criteria.
  4. Asking for more money than is on offer.
  5. Projects are not clearly articulated.

Where can I apply for grants from?

Case Study

This resource by Power to Change is aimed at those who want to set up a thriving community hub and includes a range of funding information.

Are you reading this page as part of our Guide for Opening, Running and Growing a Cultural or Community Space? Have a look at Crowdfunding next.

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