Regardless of your opinion on the new portal there are some fundamental changes that you should be aware of before going to apply. As I’m going through the process of a resubmission (sad face) at the moment I figured it was worth highlighting the big changes. Despite being told there are no changes to the submission form I’m happy to report that there are changes and they do matter.
Profiles and Validating
You now have to set up a profile for your organisation/individual. This is fairly straightforward as it allows you to have a profile on the portal and apply to the various strands of grants offered by ACE. What you need to know is any profile now takes at least five working days before it is verified. If you supply the wrong information or if ACE query anything you will have two days to resubmit the right information. If you miss the two day deadline your profile will be treated as new and you will have to wait another five working days.
You’ve got to build an additional week on your funding timeline to ensure you get through this initial process. Of course once your profile is established all is good and you’ll go straight to the application process.
One thing to note is the new requirement of Governance documents. If you’re an incorporated or non-corporated organisation you must show ACE that there is a governing document that shows how your organisation is run. This is important, especially for emerging companies just starting out. Gloria Lindh at Littlemighty has wonderfully put together this document for those needing to put together a constitution model – although this is best suited to those not thinking of going down the Charity route at a later date – or you can see some examples online here.
If you’re starting out it is best to put this document together as soon as possible to ensure a smooth profile setup.
Changes to the Arts Council England Grant Application
Now down to the submission form itself. I’ve only had time to go through the under £15,000 application as I figured this would be more useful to those just starting out. Here is what I’ve spotted that is different to the previous application process.
1. Word counts are gone & replaced with character counts. In theory this will mean you have more words in each section unless you use big words. This also means the ‘&’ symbol now counts as a character but might still save on overall character count.
2. Artist outlines are now broken down individually instead of listing one by one followed by 250 words. This means there is less space to talk about other aspects/artists in the previous 250 word section unless you allocate it within an individual artist line, but this will have a character count limit.
5. Income on budgets now are shown as a percentage of entire budget, I’m guessing this is to clearly show the breakdown of non-ACE money. It also clearly breaks down percentage of confirmed vs expected. Clearly ACE will be assessing or giving their assessors more clarity over the breakdown of the budget. It does make it easier to scan the budget but this might flag up any issues during the reporting stage of the process.
7. Less than 10% of non-ACE now has to be explained why this ‘exceptional circumstance’ prevents you from raising the minimum 10%. This is a tick box with further information required.
8. Location and type of activity. It is now possible to select BOTH Touring and Non-touring. Great for those who are requesting a grant that covers both touring and non-touring activities.
9. Activity Plan is slightly more user friendly with the ability to edit items (as you do across the entire form). This means that you can go back to make amendments on dates if you missed one however it does not automatically list in date order. I guess it depends how OCD you are on your date order but ACE does still express the desire to have them in date order but the form will allow you proceed with them in the wrong order. A small victory for those of us who loathe this part of the form.
10. Monitoring figures are taken from your profile setup and includes gender and sexuality of those behind your organisation.