Written by James Cherry – Follow me here
Funding is incredible, isn’t it? Just the sheer fact that you can ask someone for a sum of money you don’t have to pay back, so you can go and do that thing you love is absolutely mind-blowing. It would be like work buying me a season ticket to my beloved Aston Villa and then they also pay for my travel, beers and pie at every match. Just imagine!
What’s even better is there’s now a number of options out there for all levels of funding, from PRS Foundation’s Momentum and Hit Maker funds, to Help Musicians’ #DoItDifferently and of course, our very own recently launched Sentric Academy Fund. You now have the luxury of being able to pick the fund that applies to your exact needs and objectives.
There’s just one problem, they are super competitive and incredibly hard to land, meaning you need to make your submission as strong as possible so that you stand out from the crowd. Luckily for you, trusty old Uncle Sentric is here to help you do just that. Below you will find our top tips when applying for funding, that will hopefully help you along the way to a great application. Let’s dive in…
Wait until you’re ready
Just because funding is available doesn’t mean you should always apply. Wait until you’re at a point where you meet the guidelines outlined by the funding provider and then start applying.
Allow plenty of time
Funding is incredibly competitive so you have to make sure you submit the strongest application possible. Most funding applications will take anywhere between 45 minutes – 2 hours to complete, so give yourself plenty of time, read and re-read your answers before hitting that submit button, and even ask someone else to read through it for you with fresh eyes. Be aware of the closing date, don’t leave it until the last minute!
Have clear objectives
I cannot reinforce this enough! You have to make it clear exactly what you want to achieve from funding. Get specific; what impact will receiving the funding have on your career? What will it allow you to do? Why is it imperative you receive the support?
Ensure your online presence is up to date
Seems obvious, but if one of the judging panel decides to check out your Instagram and you’ve not updated it for 12 months, or you haven’t tweeted in six weeks then it’s really difficult to make a case for why you should receive funding over another artist who is on it regularly and appears to be more active than you (even if that isn’t the case, perception is everything I’m afraid).
Reminder – You don’t have to have every social channel going. If you don’t understand how to use a platform or don’t think you can maintain it then it’s ok to just stick to what you do know. I’d rather only see a well maintained Facebook page, than a neglected Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat.
Tell us who else is already supporting you
This is your opportunity to tell the funder about any other person, broadcaster or platform that is showing support for your music. Received a BBC Introducing spin? Tell us! Landed on a Spotify playlist? Tell us! Had a premiere on that achingly trendy blog? Tell us!
Keep things simple and clear
The funder will be potentially receiving hundreds of submissions, so will, therefore, have a limited time to review yours. Be cautious not to provide too much information. Provide simple and clear answers, use things like headings and bullet points to structure your answers to make it easier to read.
Stick to the word limits
As a follow on from above, word limits are there for a reason, stick to them and again use little tricks and formatting to save your word count.
Budget, budget, budget
Again, sounds obvious, but the more specific and clear you can be on your budget the more chance you have of being successful. Provide a line in your budget for every expense you foresee and report accurate costs. Do not guess that you think something might cost.
Important – Only request the amount you need. Whether there’s £1000 or £10000 available asking for all of it is usually a red flag. A clear budget will provide an accurate total.
If you don’t receive the funding, then try again and again
As I said at the start funding is incredibly competitive, so do not be put off by rejection. You may feel you deserve it and submitted a strong application, but that doesn’t guarantee anything. On average it usually takes three attempts to receive funding, so if you do get a no ask for feedback, regroup and then go again.