Is it a crime to feel overwhelmed by funding applications? + Any tips?

Kate Willoughby, 11 July 2012

Annie, Scott, Selina, Becci

This discussion took place at different intervals in the afternoon, so I've included everyone who shared ideas or questions.

I almost didn't get up and write my title for a discussion, but after a full day of devoted with a dash of disgruntled, I hope that the suggestions below are of use to you.

Funding has seemed to me like an impossible mountain to climb, but today's discussion has made it seem much less frightening.

Becci from TSF:

Funding Central is a good website to look at when first starting out. It's free, so double check the details with any organisation you may want to approach, as some details may be a little out of date.


Get together with other creatives to talk through stuff to do with funding applications, or even just meet at somewhere like a library and get working. Sharing a space with like minded people is helpful and gets you out of your room.

I put this advice to good use and managed to write up a background document that I'd been putting off for weeks. D&D is very good for you!


Sometimes it can feel that funders have an invisible force field around them, but they're just people and they have funds that they have to allocate so don't talk yourself out of getting in touch with them. They are paid to invest that money and they want to help.

When starting out go for a small R&D grant for say 1 week's development work on a project from the Arts Council. This will give you a clearer idea of how you want to develop the project and it also means the Arts Council have already made an investment in your work, so it's easier to make a later application for the finished work.

A lot of funding application forms prompt you how they want you to answer each question, so read them carefully and make sure your wording ties in with their requirements.


We need to look outside of the arts for ideas on funding work and not just looking to the Arts Council.

Programmers may well prove to be the last link in your application. You may need to chase them to get dates in the diary. Be warned.

Should art be subsidised? Think about who your work will appeal to. Don't forget your audience unless you're just doing work for you and your friends.

That's about it for the helpful tips and suggestions. If you have any other suggestions to do with approaching funders, please do leave a comment.

Many thanks to Phelim, Kirsty and Natalie at Devoted & Disgruntled. Big thanks also to Annabel and Helen at Arc Stockton for hosting this incredibly positive and inspiring day.



arts, Project, Arts, Council, Funding, funding

Comments: 1

Victoria Martin, 10 August 2012

Couple of tips…

Read the guidance carefully and highlight key objectives that they want you to fulfil, make sure you address these.

Keep things simple and concise. Don't ‘pad out’ applications with information that is irrelevant, it's a waste of yours and their time. For example don't list all the projects you have ever been involved in, just think of some key appropriate ones.

Talk ideas through with someone else… anyone else… or even better with a couple of people, they will highlight potential problems, help you generate ideas and boost your confidence about your project.

Think about involving partner(s), it looks good that you are working in collaboration, but more importantly it can help your capacity and security to deliver. They may even be able to help you write the bid!

Hope this helps.