Feature in Issue 7-2 | Summer 1995

Chenine Bathena, of arts administration agents Bathena Jancovich, ties down some pointers to finding project funding. In recent years it has become increasingly difficult to obtain project funding from public funding bodies. Funds have been chopped and competition is fierce. It is crucial therefore that you present yourself in the best possible way. Below are some suggestions to help you in your campaign.

Preparatory Work

1. Establish good contact with your local authority arts officer, Regional Arts Board (RAB) officer and Arts Council officer. Keep them updated on your work regularly. But don't hassle!

2. When creating work, try to link up with your local arts centre, theatre, venue and negotiate use of their space for rehearsals and performances.

3. It is also important for a company to link with local schools, to teach their style of work and lead residencies where a presentation can be shown for parents, teachers, and governors. It is feedback from the general public that will prove the quality of your work. And feedback to the local education authority officer will often be passed on to the local arts officer.

4. When presenting work ensure that you invite the appropriate officers to attend at least six weeks in advance.

5. Once you have proved your ability as a professional group working locally, you should approach your local authority arts officer and enquire about potential funds for a project you have in mind.

Follow Up Work

1. When you have received your first local authority grant, you are in a much stronger position to then have further discussions with your RAB officer. They will see this grant as validation of your work and hopefully will then be more interested in considering you for a project grant. Discuss with them the different schemes being operated and which is best for you and how much you should apply for as a new company.

2. When you are writing your application remember to emphasise the regional spread of your work, as well as wanting to grow and tour outside of your region/county. They are keen to see ambition but are also concerned that their support will prove to be a good investment for the region.

3. There are many types of RAB support: a project grant to make work; an encouragement subsidy to enable you to tour in your region at a reduced fee; commission money to support you in creating new work, possibly in collaboration with a venue; training/education support – e.g. to assist you in extending your work in schools and also as performers in developing your own skills, marketing support, where the RAB funds and assists in design of print etc. OK, they won't be very big amounts, but they will help you establish a good reputation for producing work! It should be said that some RABs have no money, but should be able to provide advice and valuable support.

4. Once you have obtained local authority and RAB funds, you are set to approach that mega hive of arts activity funding – the Arts Council. You need to continue inviting them to see work, making sure that you are on their mailing lists and that a dialogue has been opened. However, take their advice on applications, wait until you are ready – you might only get one chance.

5. Speak to the Arts Council officer, tell them about your work, both touring and educational/outreach. Explain why you need more funds. Talk about new ideas and the future project. BE POSITIVE!

6. Application writing has become an artform in itself and it is best to submit a draft to your contact officer for feedback before you send the final edited copy. They are there to give advice so use it.

7. Finally don't ever depend on public funding and make sure you put in lots of applications to other organisations (trusts, sponsors, etc).

And if you don't get funding after all this don't be disheartened, follow up the result with your officer and start working on the next application.

This article in the magazine

Issue 7-2
p. 11