KEEP IT SIMPLE AND SUCCINCT
The people assessing your application will probably be reading hundreds of submissions. To capture their attention and maintain their interest you need to keep your arguments and language simple, direct and easily digestible.
KEEP IT PERSONAL
Remain mindful of the need to capture/convey your project’s human story. The urge to cram as much information in as possible can make your application seem impersonal, detached and bureaucratic. Quotes from participants or stakeholders go a long way to give a personal touch.
In being succinct you shouldn’t sacrifice specificity. By including detail (e.g. participant background, exact location of project) you ground your project in a concrete reality and give assessors a tangible picture of what your project will look like. If you’re working in an organization where other people are working at the coalface in delivering projects and engaging participants, pick their brains and then re-use their language to describe aspects of the project (e.g. participant issues/needs) in your application. It’s always more authentic and immediate coming from the horse’s mouth.
Back up your arguments with facts and figures. Most applications have a section on project ‘Need’. Here assessors are looking for objective evidence of a particular need within the community that you will address through your project. Good sources of data include the Australian Bureau of Statistics and profile.id.
EMPHASIZE YOUR PROJECT’S POINT OF DIFFERENCE
It may be clichéd, but funding bodies love to fund ‘innovative’ and ‘unique’ projects. Try to identify a point of difference about your project and then sell it.
Funding bodies increasingly want applicants to address ‘impact’ rather than mere ‘outcomes’ (impact = outcomes that would not otherwise have occurred in the absence of the project). They want quantifiable evidence that funding your project will make a difference to people’s lives and the community. Impact might include things like: “Through this project 6 emerging artists were given their first commission to produce work in their chosen art form.”
Words by Ziyad Springborg.
Photo by Del Ray Fruen.
Image from ICE project Heat From The Street.