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A few guidelines when navigating your way through torture-worthy applications!
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Hi Charlotte,

As we stated last week, funding applications are extremely difficult and tedious (trust us, we know, we've done a few ourselves) and after highlighting some of the institutions that you could get funding from, we thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to share some advice when applying for funding too. Strap in, this is a long and fairly serious one...

Seek out the instructions and criteria and follow them
We cannot emphasise this enough. Each funding application will have pages of guidelines and criteria for filling out their applications that can get as specific to the maximum amount of lines each answer can have. Don't follow them to a T, and your application can and probably will go in the bin. Each institution receives thousands of applications every year and the smallest things can cause you to lose out.

Reach out and make a contact in the office
There is always someone in the office who's job is to answer every query you have about your funding application. Creative Europe, for instance, has a help desk for every country in Europe. Here's the one for the UK and their contact details. Try not to hound them with every question under the sun, but be friendly. Maybe even ask them if they would be willing to sit down with you and meet up for a coffee to talk through the application. Make them want to help you. There's a lot of information in between the lines that they can tell you about and help you out with. All you have to do is ask.

Provide supporting documentation
As I said above, some criteria will often times specify application length, down the the length of each answer. But be aware that you can hyperlink supporting documentation and information into your answer. Show evidence of what your festival is doing for the community, of positive feedback and support for the festival, and how it is growing. This isn't necessarily a cop out for you to write essays on what you do. It simply allows you to state and then show supporting evidence for that statement, if they want it. Unless the criteria specifies against this, it's a fairly solid tactic.

Know your market and cite your sources
This is essentially like going back to college. Think about how you wrote essays. Think about how you would have been slated if you didn't cite your sources. Either hyperlink the information or add a footnote. This will mostly apply to the questions that are relating to the topic of the application. For instance, if you're applying to a sub-programme on audience development, you have to be able to cite the most recent figures of cinema and/or film festival audience attendance in particular regions (UK, Europe, or otherwise), and how it is declining (your festival wants to keep film culture alive/bring film culture back into the community) or growing (potential for more growth - increased demand, guaranteed figures). Show that you've done your research and are knowledgeable about your market.

Don't repeat yourself
Honestly, you would swear some of these applications are designed to make you slip up, because sometimes it can feel like you're answering the same question over and over again. But each question is always looking for something very specific, which is why it is so important to seek expert advice and guidance on applications. Even if you can't manage to get a 1 on 1 from someone from the institution, seek out advice from your local Enterprise Centre, because helping with funding and grant applications is totally one of their services.

Bonus from last week:  Denise from LOCO reached out to us after last week's email and highlighted to me that I'd left out Patrons as another great alternative way to get funding for your festival! Thanks Denise! 


We hope some of this advice is helpful and happy application writing!
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