Application Questions - After Completing an Application
What happens after you put your application in the post-box? Once you have submitted an application there are still some useful tips to help increase you chances of success with an application.
Know What Happens to It
So what happens to your application after you put it in the post-box?
Funding bodies have different levels of administration around applications. Some will have a very small staff compliment (if any) to process the applications and therefore correspondence or contact with them is very limited or indeed prohibited. Larger organisations will be more open to contact and often welcome queries from prospective applicants. Either way you should be prepared for the funder to contact you for more information. This contact can be in writing, by telephone or occasionally in person. You may have to supply more information in order to be considered which may entail additional and time consuming work.
Know How it is Progressing
It arrives through the funders letterbox... or does it?
Not all funders will acknowledge receipt of applications so it is recommended that you include a stamped addressed envelope for the funder to return on receipt of your application. Alternatively, a call to the funder to confirm the application has arrived will give you some reassurance.
Some funders will date stamp the application as a proof of when it has arrived.
Your application will then be assessed against the funding criteria. In most cases completely ineligible applications will receive a ‘Thanks, but no thanks letter' early on.
A grants officer, secretary, freelance assessor or trustee will assess applications that do appear to fit the criteria. This is often done using a scoring matrix with different questions weighted according to importance. It is at this stage that an applicant may receive a telephone call or visit from the funder. The grants officer, secretary or assessor may compile a report on your application in preparation for presentation to their committee.
The trustees, grants committee or selection panel will sometimes see only a summary of your application together with a member of staff's report or recommendations. The selection panel of a smaller funder may see the full application but enclosures may or may not be available to them.
If in doubt, ask for advice - either from the funder when available or from a funding adviser. Try to get somebody from outside your group to read over your application. That way poorly communicated ideas and mistakes can be dealt with before it goes before the funder's critical eye.
Keep Records of Correspondence
Keep a copy of the application and all the enclosures you have sent in one file. This is very important for follow up calls. It tells you exactly what information you have sent the funder and is also essential should personnel change and someone else has to follow up applications that have been made.
Keep a file of information you have collated in developing the application. If papers are kept in a logical format it will be easier to follow up later. It all adds to the credibility of your organisation, when interrogated by funders if you are able to answer their questions quickly and accurately. So keep to hand all the quotations, budget estimations (how you calculated these), reports you have referenced, information you have sent to partner organisations, etc.
Also keep records of all correspondence, verbal or written with the funder. Funding bodies have been known to lose information.
Make other Applications
Remember to start the whole process again with other funders. You may need partnership funding and it is never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket. It is also easier at this stage to put together another application as most of the work has already been done.