ADVICE FOR MAKING FUNDING APPLICATIONS
We understand that applying for funding can be daunting which is why we have written the following section to help you. We also have a more succinct top tips sheet, but we would recommend the long read if you can.
Before you start
Whether it’s our Help Musicians Develop funding scheme or another scheme please make sure that you read the guidelines thoroughly and make sure that the funding is right for you. We understand that it is hard work trying to build a career and sometimes, it’s a little exasperating as you just need money for rent but it is only worth making an application for an opportunity or project you are passionate about. It’s a waste of your time to apply for something that is clearly outside of the guidelines or only complete a couple of sentences on the form.
Writing the application
It is important to have clear idea of what you want to do, why you want to do it and how you will go about doing it before putting pen to paper, or finger to keyboard. It’s worth looking at the guidelines (again) and making notes about how you and your project fit in with the funding scheme in question before looking through the application form. This way, you already have lots to write about and the questions will seem easier to address.
There is not a secret science to writing funding applications, the English used should be clear and easy to understand but we don’t expect your application to be as beautiful as a novel or as in depth as a PhD. What is most important to keep in mind, is that we probably won’t have any prior knowledge of you or your project so you need to spell out to us:
Who you are
What you have done
What is your project
Why it is important to you and your career
How you will use the skills you have learnt in the future or how will the project have longevity – or how will doing what you want to do be useful to you in the future
After finishing your application it can be useful to re-read it from the point of view of a ‘stranger’, making sure it will make sense to us and the panel. If you can get someone else to read it for you, do it, this can be incredibly useful.
The truth is we get a lot of applications and we won’t be able to consider those applications that lack, substance, passion, evidence and planning.
Writing about yourself
Again it’s important to remember that we won’t have any prior knowledge of your career so far, so have the confidence to be clear how great you are and what you have achieved. When writing the ‘about me’ section, let us know your most recent or best achievements first. It’s great that you started playing at 8 years old or you describe yourself as the ‘most exciting musician of your generation’, but this doesn’t tell what you are doing and achieving now.
As in the guidelines tell us about:
prestigious performances, engagements or commissions
your most recent releases
examples of critical acclaim
evidence of your growing fanbase
qualifications, prizes or awards
For help on writing bios take a look at the following
Results and feedback
On many occasions we have heard from musicians who after failing to gain funding first time, lack the confidence to apply again. It’s important to take stock and try again; lots of our successful applicants are applying for the 2nd or 3rdtime. Sometimes, sadly even if your application is the best you can make it, you still might not get through because you do not meet the criteria or there is someone who might be more suitable. Again read the guidelines and make sure you are applying for the right funding at the right time.
Click here for more top tips written by our own Creative Programme Officer and our friends at PRS for Music Foundation