Thinking about writing an Arts Council England application, but don't want to do it on your own?
Applying for funding is tough!
You know it’s going to take a lot of time and energy to pull an application together.
But, there always seems to be something, like life or earning money, that gets in the way.
When you read the funding criteria the language is confusing and almost meaningless.
And, anyway, you’ve no idea what you would write.
With so much to think about, it's impossible to know where to start!
That's why I've created Funding Club...a supportive space for artists and creatives who want to write Arts Council applications and get their projects funded!
I'll help you work out where to start and what's important to the Arts Council and do my best to stop their guidance making your head swim.
Lean on me and other Funding Club members when you're stuck. I promise to give you honest feedback and tell you when something isn't quite right and ways to get back on track or think about things differently.
Together we'll work out your creative goals, so that you can get excited and write an application that sparkles with your personality, so much that the Arts Council have to give you a grant.
When you press submit, you'll be exhausted but you'll know that you've submitted THE best possible application.
Imagine yourself, in a few months time, putting together your plans for the rest of the year, with your creative thing at the top of your list and the funding to make it happen.
Join Funding Club to…
- Gain bid writing skills by working through my 5 step Funding Guide
- Turn your ideas into fundable projects that feel ambitious but achievable
- Understand funding speak so you can tick boxes without losing what’s important
- Take the mystery out of building a budget
- Get any questions you have answered along the way
How does Funding Club work?
Once you’re a Funding Club member you have full access to all Funding Club resources, 121 Review Sessions with me and the Funding Club Clubhouse group on Facebook for period of your membership. It's designed to be 100% flexible to fit around your life and work, so you can drop in at whatever time works for you.
There are two types of membership which give you access to all the resources described above + DYCP Membership includes 2 Review Sessions and the Project Grants Membership includes 3 Review Sessions. If you feel you need more support or you have access requirements, get in touch and we can work out a programme to meet your needs.
When can I join?
There will be opportunities for new people to join Funding Club every 6-8 weeks when current members complete their applications.
If you are interested in joining a future cohort, get in touch to discuss your needs and book your place.
What happens when I join Funding Club?
When you’ve booked, you’ll receive an email giving you access to the Funding Club members area in Podia where you’ll find my Getting Started pack which will give you everything you need to get started.
How long will it take me to write my application?
As everyone is different it’s hard to suggest how long it will take you to write your application. As a guide, allow around 8 days over 6-8 weeks to write and research a Developing Your Creative Practice application and 15-20 days over 3-5 months for a Project Grants application. However, be prepared, your application WILL take over your life!
Is there anything I need to think about before I join Funding Club?
Before you join Funding Club and commit to getting your application done, it’s important to ensure that you are able to give it the time that it will need. If you are doing things right and writing an application with passion and purpose, the application will take over your life. There are things you can do to try and keep things under control to keep yourself sane, but if you expect this to happen then at least you are forewarned.
I've heard the Arts Council have an Access Fund, how do I find out more?
If you are dyslexic, dyspraxic or have another access issues that make applying for Arts Council funding hard get in touch with the Arts Council's Contact Team about to find out how to find out about the Access Support they offer or to request an Access Grant which can be used to cover the cost of additional support.
I am a registered Access Support provider and am happy to chat about how this might work for you.
How many people are in a group?
I like to keep the Funding Club group small, with no more than 10 people in at one time, so that we can all get to know each other and hear about each others projects.
Why is now a good time?
I understand 100% if now is not a good time for wherever you are on your creative journey. However, if you have been thinking about submitting an ACE application for a while, maybe Funding Club is the friendly group support that you need?
What do I get?
Funding Mentor 121 Sessions
With the DYCP package you get 2 x 60 mins Funding Mentor sessions with me and with the Project Grants package you get 3 x 60 min Funding Mentor sessions. During each Review I read and provide detailed feedback on your application and then we have an hour together on Zoom to make sure you’re on track, answer any questions and shape your idea.
The Funding Guide – my 5 step fundraising method
My 5 Step Funding Guide gives you my simple tried and tested Funding Guide 5 step method to follow as well as tools and tips so you can write your application with enthusiasm, meet the criteria and stand out in the crowd.
Funding Club Clubhouse (optional Facebook group)
A great place to chat and share challenges, questions & ideas.
Live Group Sessions
Live Group Sessions (held on Zoom) at 7-8.30pm every 3 weeks on Wednesdays: 2 Feb, 23 Feb, 16 March & 6 April (future dates follow similar pattern). If you miss a session, don't worry, a link to the recording will be in the members area.
Funding Application Templates
Downloadable templates including application questions and prompts are ready for you to download when you want to get started.
Checklists, ACE Guidance and Example Applications
All the Arts Council's funding criteria and guidance docs in one place.
Extra tools, audios and downloads
If there’s anything you need let me know and I'll see what I can do to give you the support you need.
What’s not included?
Whist I’ll be there with you all the way as your Funding Mentor and will do everything I can to ensure you write a fabulous application, I won’t be writing your application for you. You need to be ready to commit your own time, energy and commitment to get stuck in, work out plans and do the work to shape your project and application.
A bit about me...
I’m Manda, I’ve raised over £2 million for arts and heritage projects and mentored 100s of artists and creative companies across all artforms to submit successful applications to make their ideas happen.
As an experienced producer and fundraiser with over 23 years working in the UK arts sector in various senior roles in public, private and voluntary sector organisations, I know how to make projects work.
I’ve been supporting creatives as a Relational Dynamics 1st coach and mentor for 3 years. I use a range of powerful coaching techniques and exercises in Funding Mentor sessions to help you get clear about your goals and build projects that feel exciting and inspiring.
What do people say?
“Manda has been the most amazing help with completing my Arts Council project grant application. She gave me gentle nudges, resulting in not only an application that I was proud to submit but a much more fully developed and well-rounded project idea. I couldn’t recommend Manda enough for all her skill, insight and patience.”
“Working with Manda has provided me with the confidence to plan and commit to being an artist and all of what that entails. It is so easy to get distracted by other work, trying to support your practice etc. but I feel that this work has really shown me where I want to focus and lay the importance...now it’s just a case of walking through that door!”
What does it cost?
What Happens in Funding Club?
If you're a "detail" person this is for you. If not, you can skip it!
Step 1. Getting Started - as soon as you book your place, you’ll get my Getting Started Questions. It's often hard to get started, these questions will help you to get your thoughts on paper quickly before you move onto the application. Don't over think them!
Step 2. Book Live Group Zoom Session Dates in Your Diary - I host Live Group Zoom sessions every 3 weeks from 7-8.30pm, find the dates for these in the members area and in the Funding Club Clubhouse. Group sessions give Funding Club members a chance to get to know each other, share where they are and what they have learned or are finding hard. Don’t miss this, friendships and artist collaborations start here! Recordings are uploaded in the members area so you can watch again if you could join us.
Step 3. Introducing the Funding Guide - when Funding Club doors open you have access to my 5 Step Funding Guide. I’ll lead you through a simple process which will become your trail of breadcrumbs which I use when approaching any type of funding application. There are all sorts of tips and tricks in there which will help you to get to grips with your application.
Step 4. Get Your Questions Answered in the Funding Club Clubhouse - the Clubhouse is a Facebook group where Funding Club members post ideas and questions as things come up. I drop in weekday mornings before 12, I have loads of experience with Arts Council app and so have answers for most things. Try me!
Step 5. Access to Application Templates, Example Applications and Guidance Docs – you have access to all sorts of useful resources to help you with your application.
Step 6. Book in your 121 Funding Mentor Sessions with me – With the DYCP Package, you get 2 Funding Mentor Sessions and for Project Grants you get 3 Funding Mentor Sessions. I encourage Funding Club members to book in their Funding Mentor Sessions with me asap to give you a timeline to work towards. Before each Session I’ll review your draft application and give you helpful feedback to focusing on how your application supports your creative goals and ticks the Arts Council’s boxes.
Funding Club is for you if you…
- Are an artist or creative who has an idea (no matter how rough) that you want to fund
- Are ready to take your next step on your creative journey
- Are up for putting time and enthusiasm into exploring your creative goals and writing your application
- Have basic writing skills
Funding Club is not for you if you…
- Are not ready to prioritise your creative practice
- Want an easy ride and want someone else to write your application for you
- Aren’t up for developing either yourself or your organisation right now
“Funding Club has, without a doubt, encouraged and supported me to get my ACE Developing Your Creative Practice application completed. I was very nervous of applying and have been putting it off for several years. The opportunity to build my application with the support of a small group of peers going through a similar process, alongside Manda’s excellent knowledge and support, was the impetus I needed - and I am so glad I joined Funding Club.”
“The idea for my own DYCP project has been swirling around for at least a year so Funding Club gave me a deadline, focus, expert advice pertinent to me, a timetable to follow, up-to-date information regarding ACE protocol and changes. I liked that I wasn’t swimming the English Channel alone, you were a lifeguard! You stepped in when required and sort of nudged me gently, and I never felt panicked or pushed. The Zoom’s were great, interesting and motivational too. Also, the Facebook FC was an asset, as people asked questions and we were able to offer suggestions and support each other.”
I can't wait to work with you!
If you take the leap and join Funding Club, I’ll be with you all the way to create space for you to write THE best Arts Council application possible to help you turn your creative dreams into reality.
And, to make your decision to join even easier there's a money back guarantee. If Funding Club is not what you expected, I’ll refund your fee.
Questions and Answers
- Have you got an idea or project that you’d like to fund in one of these artforms (dance, literature, museums, music, theatre, visual arts, combined arts, or libraries)?
- Can you write about what you do enthusiastically (you don’t need to be an brilliant writer)?
- Do you have time to research and write your application? – I recommend allowing something like 8 days over 6-8 weeks to draft a Developing Your Creative Practice application and 15-29 days over 3-5 months for a Project Grants application.
- Are you ready to step outside your comfort zone and think ambitiously about the impact of your idea or project on you and other people and organisations that are involved in the project?
- Can you ask a friend, family member or colleague to be your “second pair of eyes” or “critical friend” to give you feedback on your application?
- Developing Your Creative Practice Quiz: Am I read to apply?
- Project Grants Quiz: Is my project ready?
If you have access needs (did you know if you have access needs inc. being dyslexic or dyspraxic the Arts Council have Access Support Funds to pay for additional support - ask me how to apply) or maybe you feel like you need more support to polish your application, you can book extra Funding Mentor sessions.
Spaces are limited, so get in touch if this sounds like you, and we can work out a plan that works for you.
I hope that Funding Club gives you everything you need. If it’s not what you expected, get in touch within 15 days of the first day of your membership and I’ll give you a full refund (less Paypal or Stripe admin fees).
Unfortunately, we’re all in the same boat. Arts Council funding, like all funding, is competitive. I hope I can reassure you by saying that I have helped 100s of people (including many of my own projects) to secure Arts Council funding raising over £2 million in total. As long as you are up for really taking this seriously and doing your bit, I am 100% committed to being in your corner to supporting you. I will do everything I can to help you to get super clear about what to focus on so you have the very best chance of success.
In our Funding Mentor Sessions we'll discuss how to ensure your application “exceeds” the criteria, supports your creative development and sparkles with your energy and enthusiasm. Really tuning into and shouting about your creative ambitions and dreams is what will make you stand out in the crowd!
Visit the Developing Your Creative Practice page on the ACE website where they explain the current rules.