At The National Lottery Community Fund, we know that filling in your application can feel like hard work! However, putting in the effort to tell us what we need to know can really make a difference. At this romantic time of year, here are a few top tips on how to make us LOVE your application!
1. Focus on how you’ll spend this grant (not just on your group’s history, or your current work)
It’s useful to give a short summary of what your group does at the start of your application. However, most of the form should be used to discuss what you will actually spend this specific grant on! We get a lot of applications that don’t do this. Instead they give us extensive information on the organisation’s history and general activities. But we mostly need to know what you will spend the grant on, why you want to do this, and what impact this will have.
2. Tell us how you know the community wants this
We also get a lot of applications for projects that sound great, but where it’s not clear if they are a priority for the local community or the people involved. We expect applicants to involve their community in designing and running the work we fund. You can find out more in this blog about involving your community.
The best applications provide a range evidence that the local community or users of the project have had their say, and evidence of how this has been used to develop the idea to meet their needs. Some groups tell us about how they involve local people in their organisation, focus groups they’ve run, community consultation events or surveys. But sometimes its as simple as telling us that you’ve had a chat about the project with the people who are likely to be involved or affected, and used their view and suggestions to develop your plans.
3. Leave out the jargon & buzz-words
People sometimes think that we expect certain ‘buzzwords’ or jargon in applications. In reality we would rather that you wrote your application using plain English where possible. The clearer your application is, the easier it is for us to understand it and make a fully informed decision. Why tell us you are ‘fostering real-time engagement using publicly accessible nodes’* when we’d be happy just knowing that you are running open days at your community centre?
(*based on a real application!)
4. Make sure you answer every question!
This might seem obvious, but we still receive lots of applications that aren’t fully completed! Around 1-in-5 Awards for All applications arrive with important information missing. It takes us longer to process these applications, as we have to get in touch for more details before we can begin assessment. Avoid this by checking that you’ve filled in all relevant questions or fields before you submit your application. Why not also get someone else to check it before you submit?
5. Make costs as accurate as you can
Where possible, we like you to work out accurate costs for your project before sending in your application! You can do this by researching costs in advance, and getting quotes for larger goods or services. Providing a breakdown of costs also makes it much easier for us to assess your application. But we usually don’t need huge amounts of detail. For example we don’t necessarily need you to include ‘6 chairs, 2 tables, 1 computer desk and table lamp – £900’ if you could just say ‘Office furniture – £900’.
If you have any questions about your application, get in touch with us for advice.