Writing the Application/ Asking for Funds


Writing the application and asking for funds. Image from Strong Lady Productions UK

Key to writing a successful application is formulating an impactful paragraph as your opening summary and echoing the funders criteria/strategies or sponsors/donors interests in your answers throughout your application.

All funds are oversubscribed. Do not underestimate the time and hard work it takes to raise the cash. You can do this yourself or employ a fundraiser. You can not include the costs of a fundraiser to write the application to the fund to which you are applying, but this could come out of your overheads budget line.

Arts Council Project Grants applications need to align to their Let’s Create Strategy 2020-2030 here and  their Equality Objectives in their Creative Case for Diversity.

Key criteria and question in the Arts Council Project Grants application include

A) Quality B) Public Engagement C) Finance  D) Management

Guidelines for Arts Council Project Grants here.


A strong idea with clearly expressed aims.
Ability to achieve the ambition.
Intention to develop your work/skills.
A track record in delivering good quality work.
Quality of the experience for the people taking part in the project.
Quality of artists/organisations involved.

Public Engagement

Target audiences for the activity are clearly identified.
The activity increases opportunities for people who don’t currently get involved in the creativity and culture or are involved a little in creative and cultural activity.
The activity increases opportunities for people already taking part in creative and cultural activity.
Plans to market the activity to audiences are well-defined, and are likely to achieve your aims.
There is no immediate opportunity to involve people (for example, research and development), whether there is potential for the public to get involved in the future; and where relevant, whether access and diversity have been considered effectively.
How the activity might align with Arts Council’s Equality Objectives.


The budget is appropriate for the activity that is planned (is the amount of money being requested suitable for the scale and type of activity? How appropriate are the areas of income and spending?)
All items in the budget are relevant and reasonable (are fees or wages appropriate to the context? Have quotes for assets been appropriately researched for any asset purchases?)
The application demonstrates that the activity is attracting income from other sources; is any other income confirmed? If not, do potential income sources seem realistic? We will think about this in the context of the current situation, as outlined in the supplementary guidance note if appropriate financial controls are in place.


The activity is realistic and well-planned (including having a realistic tour schedule, where appropriate.)
The application shows your ability to manage the activity successfully.
The team delivering the project has a track record of managing similar activity.
The activity is supported by appropriate partnerships.
Plans to evaluate the activity are appropriate.

Other Lottery Funds

National Lottery Grants for Heritage can provide grants of £3K to £10K and £10K to £100K. They are not interested in the art of your project. They are interested in the way you can share or interpret heritage with a project that is focussed on inclusion, led by and/or engaging diverse groups typically under-represented in heritage (for example, young people, minority ethnic and LGBT+ communities, disabled people and people from lower socio-economic backgrounds). This work could include: ✔ Exploring different generations, communities and their history. ✔ Mental health and historic environments. ✔ Youth-led history focused projects. ✔ LGBT+ heritage. E.g. making a show (interpreting heritage) with the local community and performing it (sharing the heritage) in a heritage space. You need to do your heritage research to justify the funds. E.g. the old well is based in a historic park in the town of x.  These projects work with the community to explore the social and industrial heritage of wells and shares the heritage with the diverse community through an event which includes performance and the historic craft of well dressing. National Lottery Grants for Heritage budgets have fixed categories.  Take care when compiling the budget as you can not shift spend between categories whilst running the project without their prior permission.  

The National Lottery Community Fund for grants under £10K is not interested in the art of your project, but rather how it will benefit communities most in need and how they have been involved in the planning and decision making of your project. For example, taking a relevant street performance to a neighbourhood that has experienced difficulties with community cohesion and have expressed an interest in your work, or to help draw attention to a piece of land that the residents would like to bring into use for the community.

The Community Fund seeks projects that support communities to thrive, meeting their aims of:

✔ Building strong relationships in and across communities.

✔ Improving the places and spaces that matter to communities.

✔ Helping more people to reach their potential, by supporting them at the earliest possible stage.  

Once you start thinking clearly about community benefit, this is a relatively easy form to complete and success rates can be good.

Individuals and sole traders are not eligible to apply for Heritage or Community Funds from the Lottery. You must evidence a bank account with at least two signatories in the name of your organisation.

+ Further Information

Outdoor Arts Guide

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