The best way to achieve success in funding from Thomas Deane Trust is to think like Thomas Deane Trust. Here’s just some of the thinking we go through when we’re assessing applications - at both stages one and two.
We start by checking two fundamental points:
Does the application pass our Ten reasons (well, 17 now) for not funding?
Does it meet one of our four themes ?
If there’s a No – or even a not sure - anywhere in those two, we’d most likely reject your application there and then. So save your time and trouble and don’t apply. You could rework the offending bit of your application so that it passes these tests. We’d never spot the respray . . . or would we?
Then we read the application as a whole. We’re looking for:
Tell it like it is
We hate grantspeak: that curious use of stock phrases that’s supposed to push an assessor’s buttons. If you mean you want to run a pilot project to find out whether milk delivery in glass bottles is better environmentally than plastic ones – then say so clearly and directly. We look for:
What, why, how?
What do you want to do? Why do you want to do that? How are you going to do that? The clearer and more direct your prose the better: we know the difference between real performance and go-faster stripes, and you get nul points for the latter.
Further info (from applicants, not to applicants)
Stage One applications are necessarily short on detail and explanation. So, to help us make decisions about who and what to fund, a number of applications from a round will be asked to provide further and better particulars of their project. We call this “Stage Two”.
It’s important to understand that Stage Two is not a new application: it’s your opportunity to expand on and clarify your Stage One application. Our questions are your clues as to which parts of your application we need help in understanding. (And if you don’t understand what it is that we’re not understanding, then email us, and we’ll have a conversation.)
It’s also important to be clear that being asked for Stage Two information does not necessarily mean we intend to fund your project.
Now it’s on to the detail. Here are four specifics :
Does the application show an understanding of the outcomes approach?
No, we mean really understand? Has the applicant used this approach before? Do they understand why we think it’s so important that projects make change, create a difference? Have they read the background we’ve carefully pointed them to? If they’re merely parroting what we’ve said, we’ll definitely spot the gear-change here.
Does the application claim that chime with our ways of working interests?
In a crowded field, this is where your project could really stand out. But only if your project genuinely fits our ways of working: we’ll definitely notice if you’re trying to make a stretch limo out of a Ford Fiesta.
Does the application include a convincing budget?
You’d be surprised at how many don’t really know their numbers. Over-egged management costs, unrealistic materials budgets; not enough for decent artists’ fees; “contingencies”. We, on the other hand love a bit of forensic accounting. And we can tell when the wheels are about to fall off: a budget that doesn’t stack up against the aspirations of a project suggests there’s something wrong with the project rather than the budget.
Are there any relevant points of guidance that might weaken or strengthen an application?
We check through our points of further guidance to ensure consistency and fairness. If we’ve said to one applicant we don’t like furry dice swinging in the windscreen we need to be clear whether we’d accept alternative toys or none at all.