Many people find applying for funding stressful enough. As more and more funders are wanting to receive application through an online portal or webform, Access2Arts has put together 10 Top Tips to keep in mind when submitting your application online.
1._Perfect your application in a separate document.
When it comes to starting your application, begin your work in a separate document, using Word, Google Docs, Pages or your preferred word processor. Don’t write directly into the online form. Why, you ask? Online forms don’t always save your work automatically. If things go wrong (like your internet connection is disrupted or you accidently close the wrong tab) you may have lost all brilliant work. Super Stressful! Keep using the separate document until you’re ready to submit, and your application will be one-step easier.
2. Take note of restrictions before you begin working on your application
This includes knowing preferred file types, supported browsers, maximum number of attachments and application word limits. This can be especially important when you’re including movie files, audio, samples of your artwork or writing a 1000-word application but are only able to submit 500-characters. Check before you start.
3. Ensure your application is readable, even with limited formatting options.
Use dot points to simplify complicated ideas. Check you are using correct punctuation. And use spacing to give the reader moments to pause. These all help making your application easier to read. Important if you consider your application might be one of many being read in a day.
4. Submit your application early.
Don’t wait until the last minute. We know, this sometimes can be easier said than done! But, how bad would it be if you have to deal with your internet or computer not loading or the online form crashing 15 minutes before the deadline? Give yourself time.
5. Double check your budget calculations.
A budget needs to balance. That means all of your application expenses must equal all of your income (grants, in-kind contributions, money from sale of work, applicant’s personal contributions). If your budget doesn’t add up, funders might spend time trying to find the correct information. Worse, they may not consider your application at all. Ouch!
6. It’s okay to use less words or space than you are given.
Funders value short but complete responses. If you can use five-words instead of ten, do it! Be clear with what you want to do and why.
7. If a provided template is included in the application, use it!
If a funder has a preferred way of receiving the application, try and use it. When your access is an issue, contact the funder and let them know. Or get a personal assistant or a supporter, like Access2Arts, to assist with your submission.
8. Use the same formatting for follow up reports and additional documents.
Just like in Tip 7. Using a similar format when sending in activity reports will help the funder more-easily understand your progress or results.
9. Use the most up-to-date version of your internet browser.
Internet browser software is always being updated, and sometimes the browser you use isn’t always the one used by the funding body. Whether you prefer Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome – if a specific browser has been recommended, make sure you use the most up-to-date version of that one.
10. Safe-guard against technical difficulties.
Experiencing technical problems is incredibly frustrating! Avoid them by using a reliable laptop or computer with updated software. Give yourself plenty of time cause things always take longer than you think. Avoid rushing and resist the temptation of rapid button-clicking, or screen refreshing if the grant webform is taking a while to load.
And here is an extra tip.
11. Stay cool, calm and collected
If, despite all your preparation, something goes wrong. Don’t Panic! More mistakes are made with hasty reaction than considered response.
Access2Arts provides grant application consultation, advice and feedback for Deaf and disabled grant applicants. Contact us to arrange a meeting with one of our consultants to answer any of your application questions.