To make it clear – I have failed to get approval for my projects way more than just 3 times. However, as a blog is not an 11-chapter novel, I will try to make a long story shorter. Though if one day I write a book about my experience with fundraising, one chapter will be dedicated to the emotional turmoil like frustration, feelings of being lost, and fury after being informed of funding refusal. But here I want to share with you just very specific information about the mistakes I made and how I learned from them.
1. Unbelievably stupid mistake in a budget plan
It was 2016, and together with partners from Poland and Germany, we were working on a quite complex application form within the frame of the European Social Fund. We were so engaged in designing our perfect, innovative idea of supporting young people at risk of social exclusion that such prosaic elements as formal requirements were not of high importance to us. Or in other words, we believed that our extensive experience and fluency in meeting formal demands would be enough.
Well, it was not. In the budget section, I uploaded the wrong organisational financial report. Nobody checked it after me, and the system didn’t verify whether or not the documents were proper.
The project was rejected because of that. Nobody, not even one evaluator, went through our brilliant plan or read our ambitious objectives. The application – and our idea – went down in flames.
After that experience (*from which it took me almost a month to recover 😉), I developed a checklist which we started to use before every application submission. And there were always at least two persons to verify each item on the list.
2. Doing the same and expecting different results 😊
This one is about the KA1 Erasmus+ project. The organisation I worked for at the time had already received a grant for one project for staff mobilities, and we were so excited and happy with the project activities’ results. This enthusiasm motivated us to apply for almost the same Erasmus Plan.
Our rationale behind this was that we would like to develop the successful outcomes even further. For us, it made perfect sense. Unfortunately, for the Erasmus+ assessors, it did not. We got the refusal with a simple and convincing explanation: “You already received a grant for developing those skills. Does it mean you didn’t manage to use it effectively?” Brrr… even now, it sounds scary.
Since that time, I always make it a point to consult the project draft with National Agency. They never tell me if my idea is good enough to get a grant, but at least I get to verify whether my ideas make sense to them.
3. Being below the success line
Actually, this has happened to me several times. Formally, projects are ok, and the final quality evaluation scores are enough to be enrolled on ranking lists – though not enough to get money. In such cases, I always carefully analyse the evaluation feedback and answer the questions: “Is it possible to change/improve the project but still apply for funding for the idea I really can and want to implement in my organisation?”. If the answer is ‘yes’ – I work on the application and try again. If ‘no’ – I look for other funding sources.
I wish you luck with your project fundraising. If you are interested in Erasmus+ accreditation, in our shop, you will find: