Happy new year people! A short Weeknotes this week, for a short week.
What we are doing
Half the team are still on holiday until Monday, but those of us that are here have cleared everything from our diaries, desks and holiday-fogged heads to *only* do the work of reading through applications.
I’ve barely left my Mum’s house in Cambridge since Christmas day, and have continued to work from there this week. It’s been a useful place for shutting myself away and reading from morning through to night (literally). Mostly in my PJ’s ☺️
What we are learning
Until we’ve got back to everyone about their applications, I don’t feel I can share more specific insights from the data, so in the meantime I thought I’d share some generalised tips on applying for funding. This is after personally having reviewed about 400 applications — many over the last few days.
- Always start with what your purpose it — why do you exist? This might seem obvious but that was sometimes hard to find in people’s applications.
- Next — describe the challenge(s) you are addressing and the changes you want to see.
- And if you’ve already got something operating in the world — an organisation, product, service etc — then describe the demand for it. Who is using it? Why and how are they using it? And give numbers.
- Don’t just send a link to your website as a way for us to find out about you. With 1200 applications it’s hard for us to do that.
- Read the eligibility criteria — I have been surprised how many applications I’ve read where it’s unclear whether the success factors we said we would be looking for and had posted publicly, had been read. Another part of me recognises that a lot of the sector is just (understandably) desperate for money, so I get why it’s easy to ignore the criteria we set out. Unfortunately though, we have them firmly in our head when we are reading things, and so if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit.
There will be much more specific feedback we’ll share with the sector (as we don’t give individual feedback at this stage) once we’ve gone through everything and I’ll be thinking of some ways we can share that as useful learning.
What we’re celebrating
Apart from celebrating the new year? Well, Billy was disappointed that in his lunch break at the London office, Gregg’s had sold out of vegan sausage roles, but venturing out from the Newcastle office, Joel was able to buy one and delivered the team a personalised review. It got a thumbs up!