- Start in time and plan well.
- Read the criteria in the subsidy rules carefully.
- Double-check the formal requirements. If you don’t comply with the formal requirements, your application will usually be declared invalid straight away. So make sure of the following:
- Do I need to have a non-profit organisation or are de facto associations and individuals eligible as well?
- Where do I need to be active? Are there any geographical constraints?
- What is the deadline? Is the deadline on or before a certain date?
- Make sure you completely understand the requirements for content: try to imagine what the authority in question is trying to achieve with that specific subsidy and figure out how your application responds to those aims. How do you ensure that your project fits into the established framework?
- Look at which initiatives have received this type of subsidy in the past and what amounts were awarded.
- Go and talk to:
- your co-organisers,
- local government,
- the person in charge of the subsidy in question,
- the relevant support bodies (Danspunt, Kunstenpunt, Demos etc.),
- colleagues or other people who have already been through the application process,
- possible partners who might be able to strengthen your application,
- Take a step-by-step approach. You don’t need to go for tens of thousands of euros all at once. You can gradually increase the subsidies you apply for. Start with your city or municipality and work your way up to the larger applications.
Or ignore that advice and go for it: aim high right from the start. Sometimes fortune favours the brave!
Do you need help or advice? Contact Danspunt.
Writing a good application file
- Writing a good application file takes time.
- Let one person coordinate the composition of the application, even if some parts are written by different people.
- Always get people who don’t know anything about your application to read it through. This is useful both for final editing (spelling mistakes etc.) and to check the content. Does the person understand what it is about?
- Know what the reader wants to hear and be guided by that (although of course you should concentrate on your own strengths).
- Most importantly of all:
- write clearly: make your text comprehensible and not too complex
- write explicitly: mention everything and don’t assume the reader knows what you mean
- write succinctly: short and to-the-point is better than long-winded and difficult to understand.
- Assume the reader does not know you or your organisation. So explain well who you are, what you do, what your ambitions are etc.
- But don’t forget Google! Obviously the reader can google you, so make sure the information available online supports what you say in your application.
- Refer where possible to specialist literature or other examples in your field of work.
- If you file annual subsidy applications for similar projects, don’t just copy your application from last time round. Explain new areas of emphasis, new approaches etc.
- Explain the value of your project and the reason why your want to put your idea into practice.
- Demonstrate that you are self-critical, that you have thought things through and that you know what you are doing.
Adding a budget
- A budget always consists of expenditure and income. So never provide a budget of your expenditure only.
- Generally speaking, subsidy applications require a balanced budget. In other words, your expenditure must be equal to your income. That sometimes takes a bit of puzzling and you may need to estimate your income.
- Make your budget clear and transparent. Make sure you know how you have arrived at certain amounts and explain your calculations or estimates. When stating payments made to people, always explain how that person is paid (as a salaried employee, by invoice, through a social bureau for artists, as a volunteer, under the small fees scheme for artists (KVR) etc.) and how the person’s pay is calculated (flat rate, daily rate etc.).
- Make sure your application is realistic. Ask for what you need without being (too) greedy.
- Always make sure your income is spread between various sources. Besides this subsidy, make sure you have subsidies from other bodies, as well as generating your own income, sponsoring etc.
- Include partnerships where you receive contributions in kind in your budget! For example, if you are allowed to use a hall free of charge, you have two options:
- On the ‘income’ side, create a category for ‘income in kind’ where you state the name of the hall and the amount 0 euros.
- Or put the estimated cost of hiring the hall in your expenditure AND in your income, under ‘support with hall’.
- If you are applying for various subsidies but have not yet heard back from them, you can state ‘subject to confirmation’ on the income side. Indicate which subsidy you are talking about and when you expect to hear back.
- Check whether your budget includes or excludes VAT and make that clear. If you are not subject to VAT, draw up your budget including VAT. If you are subject to VAT, draw up your budget excluding VAT.
- Have you been granted subsidies? Be sure to let Danspunt know the good news: it makes us happy!
- Carefully read the conditions you need to comply with once the subsidies have been allocated and apply them. For example, include the government body’s logo in your communications etc.
- Keep the contact person at the government body informed about your project and invite them to your event.
- Adjust your budget to the amount of subsidies you have actually received (this is sometimes less than expected).
- Inform the government body if major changes are made to your project (both in terms of content and budget).
- Keep your bookkeeping and expenditure records up to date. Make sure you have valid documentation of everything. Don’t cheat with the small fees scheme for artists (KVR) or payments. Make sure everything you do is above board. Keep careful records of everything.
- Check the date when you need to submit your final statement or end report. It will usually consist of a report on the content of your project and a financial report. Sometimes you need to provide documentation. Do not forget this deadline – you often only receive the final 20% of your subsidy once you have submitted this final report.
More info or advice?
Danspunt can help you find the best ways for your initiative to get subsidies. It can also check your application or budget. Contact Danspunt.