25 Sep 4th August, 2020: “Writing A Grant Application” with Joy Haynes
This week, Joy Haynes joined us for a session on writing grant applications. She used Arts Council England’s Project Grants as her main example, although much of her workshop would be mappable on to other funding streams and organisations.
Joy started the session by sharing this quote:
She talked meaningfully about how power is often found in the hands of the managers, rather than the people making the work. By being able to write our own bids, and understand the producing side of the industry, we can wrest some of that power back from the gatekeepers, and back into the hands of the artist.
After giving us a brief overview of her own creative journey, and how she came to equip herself with the necessary skills to write successful grant applications, Joy began by demystifying the bid-writing process.
Her first piece of advice was to START WITH THE PROJECT. Have an idea for a project. Ask the simple questions around that project: the what, the why, the where, the how and the who. If you are able to answer those questions, you are then able to identify where you may be able to source funding.
She also advised keeping a working document on your project, that acts as a master document. Having all your ideas in one place, rather than scattered across multiple grant applications, can help you to keep a project coherent, and act as a document that can serve many purposes: you can use portions of it to secure partners, pull the relevant sections for different bids, etc.
Her next piece of advice was THE BUDGET IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. She talked us through the importance of costing for your time, which is often overlooked by artists approaching funding bids for the first time.
Generously, she shared her working document for an Early Years project she was developing before lockdown hit, giving us a useful case study of how to approach activity plans, research, budgets, support-in-kind, marketing strategy and evaluation. We then looked specifically at an Arts Council Project Grant application, and Joy explained how she might approach each section of the form in more detail.
Joy then took questions from the group. One of the interesting conversations that arose was how to handle risk-management in a funding bid, which felt particularly pertinent in the current climate.
She left us with a final piece of advice: KEEP RESUBMITTING. If a bid doesn’t succeed, work on it, develop it, and don’t lose hope. It’s a rolling process; just keep going.
Our Tuesday sessions are enabled thanks to the generous support of Arts Council England.
Image Credit: www.joyhaynes.co.uk