Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your Funding Application

June 1, 2023

Do you remember the meme from a few years back that dominated our Facebook timelines about Don’t be like Jim? Jim would make all kinds of blunders and be used as the example of what not to do. Well, consider this blog post as the Don’t be like Jim for making funding applications 😊

Making any funding application takes time and lots of headspace but avoiding these very common mistakes will help to make the process much easier and vastly increase your chances of success.

Misunderstanding what it’s for/ who it’s for

Be sure to read all the supporting documents very carefully so that you can select the most appropriate fund for the stage of your practice, your art form and your needs. For example, the Agility Award is aimed at early career stage artists in a wide range of art forms including dance, theatre, architecture and visual arts while the Visual Artist’s Bursary is just for visual artists and a any level. Also make sure that you fully understand what the funds can be used for so that you can assess if this applies to your practice and your plans for it.

Not having a fully formed idea

After reading all the documents associated with the application, give yourself time to create a fully formed proposal to base your application around.  IF you are applying for the Agility Award , for example, identify the skills that you need to learn in order to progress your work and practice. Perhaps you need to take a printmaking course or learn how to use software for digital art OR you need to carry out specific research in order to develop a new body of work OR you want to collaborate with a mentor to develop a strategy for your practice and learn the required skills to implement it. The application will require you to present this information in a cohesive way to demonstrate the intention and impact these new skills will have on your art practice.

Misunderstanding what’s being asked

Read each section of the application form and be sure to provide the information that is being asked for and only include the information that is being asked for in each section. And very importantly, don’t leave ANY section blank. Be sure to include information in every section ie. Itemised budget and not just a round number and attach all supporting materials including your portfolio and letters of support.  The assessment scheme works off a checklist. Filling out the form completely and comprehensively will give it the best chance of passing every stage of the assessment.

Not giving yourself enough time to apply.

As well as needing time to compose your proposal, you’ll also need time to prepare your supporting document including your CV, a relevant artist’s statement , portfolio and well as letter of support from your proposed mentor/collaborator. Allow plenty of time, at least two weeks, to gather all this information together and fill out the application form

Deadline reminders

Arts & Disability Connect – 7th June 2023

Agility Award Round 2 – 22nd June

Visual Artist’s Bursary – 22nd June


Don’t be like Jim! – Read and understand what is being asked an what you can apply for, use your well formed idea to supply ALL the information required and allow your mentor plenty time to write your letter of support that you can attach along with all your other supporting materials

I’m Sheelah, and I’m here to help visual artists like you achieve more sales, certainty, and recognition for your work. If you have any questions or need guidance along this funding application journey, feel free to get in touch

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