How to PUT TOGETHER A FUNDING APPLICATION

 

The purpose of a funding bid is to convince a funding body to give a portion of its funds to your production, rather than to the other productions applying for funding. As a result, it should aim to answer three questions:

  • Why is your production a worthwhile project?

  • What kind of return on their investment can a funding body expect by investing in your production?

  • How can the funding body be sure that your production will be delivered as it is described in your bid?

 

You should start by reading through your venue bid because much of what was presented there can be reworked and repurposed.

Why is your production a worthwhile project?

The first question should be answered through the director and designer statements. You need to show the artistic merit of your production and enthuse your potential funders about why the show is going to be exciting and interesting. This should be largely similar to your venue bid.

 


What kind of return on their investment can a funding body expect?

 

This second question requires more of a change from your venue bid: you should present a clear budget and show how it will be managed. The treasurer of each funding body in particular will want to hear how the money they give to the production will be managed – they need to be sure that they will get their money back with a profit on top and so you should ensure that your budget accurately reflects your production costs and that your breakeven percentage and number of seats is achievable. You may also want to use the marketing statement to outline how the seats will be filled and who will buy tickets to make this a financially stable production.

  • You will need to make sure that these figures around the breakeven are front and centre in your bid – you will want to insert a covering page giving just the key headline figures.

  • It is recommended that 65% is a strong upper limit for your breakeven – even this can be a difficult figure to achieve. If it is more than this, you will need to provide a compelling answer to the question of how you will ensure that you sell enough tickets to cover your expenses.

 


How can the funding body be sure that your production will be delivered as per the bid?

 

This final question requires you to outline how you will get the production from the funding bid to the stage. This is a question of outlining the processes each department will take and how the team will function as a whole. You may wish to use the producer’s and/or director’s statement to outline this. The budget will also be examined to answer this question as funding bodies will seek to challenge whether or not you have budgeted accurately for how much the production is likely to cost. Funding body committees are largely made up of students with a large amount of experience on theatrical productions and so questions they ask here are designed to help you consider the amount it costs to realise the show in the bid.

The budget is a key part of any funding bid, and so you should make sure that it is accurately prepared. There are a number of common mistakes that you should seek to avoid, specifically:

 

Admin Checklist

  • Is your production company registered?

  • Have you included a covering page to your bid listing the key information, e.g. break-even percentage?

Budget Checklist

  • Are you using the OUDS budget template (strongly recommended, especially for new companies)?

  • Is your break-even under 65%, or if not, do you have a good explanation for that?

  • Is your marketing budget around 10% of your total expenditure?

  • Have you included the cost of box office commission on your budget?

Bid Checklist

  • Does your bid include statements from the Director, Producer, a designer, and your marketing manager?

  • Will you have held a production meeting prior to your interview?

  • Have you updated your bid since your venue was confirmed?

Even experienced teams are recommended to read through the budget supporting notes to ensure their budget is thorough and accurate.

You are reminded that forecast expenditure often changes between the point of bidding to a venue and bidding to a funding body: ensure that the submitted budget is the most up to date version. You may wish to consult with your venue contact to check that the budget is accurate for their expectations, too.

When your funding application is complete, you can submit it to OUDS here. Note that funding interviews take place on a termly basis, so if you apply early in term, you will still have to wait until 8th week for your interview. The formal opening of applications will be announced via the OUDS Newsletter around 5th week of each term.

 

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