2.3. Good practice when searching for calls
Staying organised is crucial when searching for EU calls for proposals. Here are some tips to help you stay organised throughout the process. Look at this as a capacity building exercise. In principle the EU funding is structured and administered similarly and the organised process will help you build your understanding.
Create a spreadsheet or document: Start by creating a spreadsheet or document to record all the relevant information about the funding opportunities you come across. Include columns for the program name, funding organisation, application deadline, eligibility criteria, and any other important details.
Categorise funding programs: Group the funding programs into categories based on their relevance to your social services organisation. For example, you can create categories such as “Social Welfare,” “Education and Training,” or “Healthcare.” This will help you quickly identify the programs that align with your organisation’s focus.
Note down key dates: Record the application deadlines and any other important dates related to the funding programs. Set reminders or notifications to ensure you don’t miss any deadlines.
Highlight eligibility criteria: Pay close attention to the eligibility criteria of each funding program. Note down the specific requirements, such as geographic limitations, target beneficiaries, or project scope. Highlight any criteria that your organisation meets or needs to address.
Keep track of supporting documents: Some funding programs may require specific supporting documents to be submitted with the application. Make a checklist of these documents and note down any additional requirements, such as translations or certifications.
Maintain a checklist: Create a checklist of the steps you need to complete for each funding opportunity. This can include tasks like reviewing guidelines, developing a project proposal, gathering supporting documents, and submitting the application. Tick off each task as you complete it to track your progress.
Set up reminders: Use calendar reminders or task management tools to stay on top of important deadlines and tasks. Set reminders well in advance to give yourself enough time to prepare the necessary documents and complete the application.
Save relevant links and documents: Save copies of the funding guidelines, application forms, and any other relevant documents in a dedicated folder on your computer or cloud storage. This will allow you to access them easily whenever needed.
Regularly review and update: Regularly review your spreadsheet or document to ensure it stays up to date. Remove expired opportunities, update application deadlines, and add new funding programs as you come across them.
We have talked about assessing your organisation’s capacity in Chapter 1. It is our view that even if this is a bit of an administrative task, it builds your organisation’s knowledge database. We recommend that you make use of cloud documents, share and collaborate. Keep the process simple, texts light and structured.
Time management tips
Do not expect anything revolutionary, we just want to remind you of a few good practices we try to follow ourselves.
- Start early: This is easier said than done. We are in a busy sector. Still, give yourself enough time by starting your search well in advance of the application deadline. This will allow you to thoroughly research, plan, and develop your proposal.
- Focus on relevant calls: Narrow down your search by targeting funding calls that closely align with your project objectives, target group, and thematic area. You have done your research previously, right?
- Utilise search filters: Make use of search filters and parameters when using online platforms or databases. Use keywords, target sectors, funding priorities, and geographic preferences to refine your search and find the most relevant calls.
- Subscribe to notifications: Stay updated by subscribing to newsletters, mailing lists, or online platforms that provide updates on EU funding opportunities. This will ensure you receive timely notifications about new calls, upcoming deadlines, and changes in funding priorities.
- Network, collaborate, seek guidance: Engage with other organisations, project managers, and stakeholders who have experience with EU funding. Attend events, workshops, and conferences to expand your network and gain insights into funding opportunities. Collaboration and knowledge sharing can save you time and provide valuable advice.
Search filters – tips on keyword search
When searching for EU funding calls for proposals as a social services provider, using the right keywords can help you find relevant information more efficiently. Here are some keywords and phrases you can use:
- Social services: Include keywords related to your specific area of social services, such as “social inclusion,” “employment support,” “youth development,” “elderly care,” “disability services,” or “family support.”
- EU funding: Use keywords like “EU funding,” “European funding,” “European grants,” or “EU funding opportunities” to narrow down your search to funding specifically provided by the European Union.
- Funding programs: Include the names of EU funding programs that are relevant to your sector, such as “European Social Fund (ESF+),” “European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).”
- Calls for proposals: Add terms like “calls for proposals,” “open calls,” “grant competitions,” or “funding applications” to your search to focus on current funding opportunities.
- Eligibility criteria: Include keywords such as “eligibility requirements,” “applicant criteria,” or “who can apply” to find information about the specific criteria you need to meet in order to be eligible for EU funding.
- Deadlines: If you have a specific time frame in mind, include terms like “application deadlines,” “closing dates,” or “submission timelines” to find funding opportunities with application periods that align with your schedule.
- Target groups: If your social services target specific groups, include keywords related to those groups, such as “youth,” “unemployed,” “people with disabilities,” “refugees,” “migrants,” or “vulnerable populations.”
Remember to combine these keywords in your search queries to refine your results and find the most relevant information.