The government and private funds offer financial support in the form of grants under certain terms and conditions. There are various types of grants, for example multi-year activity grants, project grants, individual grants and programming grants. Subsidies are almost always part of your financing mix and therefore rarely the only source of income.
Various types of grants
- Meerjarige activiteitensubsidies (Multi-year activity grants) for the realisation of activities over a number of years. Generally, only organisations/legal entities (foundations) that are established or have a proven track record are eligible.
- A project grant. The money may only be used for direct project costs. Generally, only legal entities (foundations) are eligible.
- Individual grants, such as stipends (working and living grants) and travel and study grants for ‘natural persons’.
- Programming grants for special performances, concerts and exhibitions. Such grants may not generally be used for regular programming.
Every grant provider applies their own criteria, requirements and submission deadlines. A blueprint for the best application does not, therefore, exist. Take advantage of this by explaining in clear language why your project is in line with the objectives of the grant provider. By adjusting your application, you can submit it simultaneously to different funds. It is relatively little extra work and it will substantially increase your chances of getting enough money together.
In the case of government funds, all procedures followed must be verifiable. That is why these funds publish comprehensive annual reports, which contain all advisers, grant applications and assessments. If you still have little experience with applying for grants, take a look at applications and/or advice of others. It may inspire you when formulating your own plans.
The awarding of a subsidy
Who decides about the awarding of a subsidy depends on the organisation where the application is submitted. In the case of private funds, the board often decides directly, without the intervention of advisers. In the case of government subsidies, external advisers have the most influence.
Advisers are selected on the basis of their expertise in a specific policy area. They often work as an artist/performer, art critic, programmer or in some other role in the arts world. They are instructed to give their unbiased opinion and to word it properly. In general, they do this in committees made up of at least three people.
The criteria that government funds apply are formulated in the cultural policy. In addition to quality, there are other criteria that are taken into consideration, such as entrepreneurship, geographical distribution, diversity and audience reach. The applications are also assessed based on compliance with the Fair Practice Code, the Diversity & Inclusion Code and the Cultural Governance Code.
A positive assessment by the advisers is a requirement, even if it is not always sufficient to get a subsidy. It may also be, namely, that a positive recommendation is made, but that there is insufficient budget to actually honour all positive assessments.
The General Administrative Law Act (Algemene wet bestuursrecht, Awb) protects applicants against arbitrariness and nepotism. An applicant can also have a fund’s decision formally assessed.