Applying For Funding Grants – What You Need To Remember!
Applying for funding grants can be a great boon to any company, especially start-ups looking for an initial source of cashflow, but it isn’t just a case of putting your hand out and asking for money. Grants, such as the one currently being offered by the Arts Council to entertainment companies impacted by COVID-19, are in high demand and a successful application needs to have some thought put into it. With that said, here are some general bits of advice on how to put together a stellar application.
Have Something To Claim For
Generally speaking, even in these difficult times, funding grants aren’t free money to do what you like with. Applicants will need to state what the money will be used for, with the most common reasons being things like capital expenditure (say, a grant to buy some machinery) or to cover specific expenses, such as rent or wages, for a fixed period. With this in mind, it’s important to know what you’re claiming for, how much it’s likely to cost, and whether there are any attendant expenses to keep in mind.
Know How To Forecast (Or Know Someone Who Can)
If you’re claiming a grant to cover upcoming operating expenses, you’ll need a reasonable estimate of what those expenses will be. Some might be agreed in advance, and therefore obvious, but for others you may need to do some forecasting, especially if they’re variable costs that have been impacted by COVID-19.
Estimating is inherently uncertain, but a good starting point is to look at your expenses in previous periods and consider how they might look in the future. Will they increase? Decrease? Do they vary at different points of the year, such as needing to spend more on light and heat in the winter? Use these considerations as a basis to build up a figure for your claim. If you’re unsure of how to begin, accountants such as myself and my colleagues at Comera Professional can help analyse your previous expenses and use these to build up a picture of your future budget.
Be prepared to Write A Pitch
Submitting a claim for grant funding isn’t just numbers. You’ll likely also need to make your case in writing. The funders will want to know about your company, what you do, why you need funding, and how you’ve performed in the past, amongst other things. This latter point is particularly important in the current situation, as they will want to know that your business will be viable once the world starts to return to normal. There is little benefit in providing funding to an organisation that will collapse regardless, after all!
In addition, they may want to be sure that your company falls into the remit for their funding in the first place. The current round of grants being issued by the Arts Council, for example, are only being provided to organisations that actively engage in and promote the arts, so a big part of the process is explaining how the applicant carries out this duty.
Find People Who Can Help
Accountants and financial advisors, such as Comera Professional, are best placed to put your figures in order, but you can also seek help in other areas from the people around you. Anyone with skills in writing and editing can look over, or even help write, your pitch. Reaching out to fellow business owners who have previously applied for funding will also give you a better idea of what to expect. You could even ask customers to provide testimonials about your business, showing the value in the work you do.
There are many things to think about when applying for grant funding, with the points above only giving an overview of some key areas, but being a successful recipient is a clear boon to any business willing to put in the work to get their application right. If you are considering making an application of this type, and want some assistance, Comera Professional can help.