• Michael Steel

Fundraising advice updated for 2021

Here we are, nearly halfway though 2021 and still waiting for theatres to open. It’s been such an incredibly difficult 14 months for our industry, particularly financially. That’s why the Arts Council’s support with National Lottery Project Grants has been so vital.

Given that there are vanishingly few other options for creatives to receive funding, the number of applications being made at the moment has increased hugely and inevitably led to a reduced success rate. With that in mind, I’ve laid out below some tips on what to think about to help strengthen your application.

PARTNERS - often overlooked but can be a great tool to show that your project is ‘vouched’ for by others. This is important if you’re starting out in your career and applying to NLPG. Don’t forget, the grant is public money therefore Arts Council has to be confident that you will be able to manage the project in the way you say you will. If you’re inexperienced, but your partners aren’t, that can help build confidence in the project. Partners can be a wide variety of people or places including a venue, charity partner or a company that has agreed to talk about your project on their own social media accounts.

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT & LET’S CREATE - When thinking about who will engage with your project, really drill down on who could be the potential audience, beyond the traditional theatregoers. Arts Council’s current strategy is called Let’s Create and is about ensuring that everyone has access to a range of high-quality cultural experiences. Can you think about how people in the community who don’t normally engage with the arts could be involved? Can you offer participation to them in the form of workshops perhaps? Can you partner with a relevant charity or similar to reach people who’d be interested in your subject matter, but who don’t usually engage with the arts?

QUALITY - really think about how this project will let you work with different people and how working with them will contribute to making the specific project successful as well as contribute to your professional development. The responses you come up with are relevant for questions 2 and 3 of this section. If you are a writer applying, who is your director, and why are you working with them specifically? Are you working with a charity partner to develop workshops and participation and if so, how will they help you develop these effectively?

This is just a short overview of topics to consider that are just as important as the quality of the art itself. Don’t forget to have a look at my rates on my fundraising page if you’d like some help with writing your application. If you identify as disabled or are neurodivergent, including dyslexic, then Arts Council can pay me directly to work with you in completing a written application. Contact me on, and we can talk in more detail.

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