The good application - a mini podcast

How does one write a good application for NAPA? What to emphasize … and what to avoid? In this triple interview with Mats Bjerde, Uffe Most, and Sóley Danielsen we offer good advice and inspiration for your application to come. In 8 minutes they offer answers to questions such as:

Mats Bjerde worked as director of NAPA from 2014 to 2019. Uffe Most was chairman of the board for NAPA from 2016 to 2019. Moreover, he is leader of a music school as well as a composer. Sóley Danielsen sat in NAPA’s board of directors from 2017 to 2019. She is an acclaimed actress, instructor, and acting teacher from the Faroe Islands.

The podcast is in Scandinavian (Swedish and Danish). You can read an English summary below.

Production, jingle, and editing by Per Bloch, NAPA

Mastering by Mikkel Gemzøe/Varibeat

Minimum requirements for an application are as follows:

  • A thorough description of your project. The project must relate to at least one of NAPA’s 3 focal areas.
  • A budget plan – complete with expenses, earnings and self-financing
  • Time schedule for the entire project
  • CVs for everyone participating in the project
  • Copies of cooperation agreements with other parties
  • Any recommendations from relevant associates / collaborators / stakeholders

Several of the Nordic Cultural Programs offer pamphlets with advice on how to apply for funding. We advise that you read the application instructions of the individual foundations before launching your application.

Templates and Examples 

Project Description template

Budget template 

The good application - summary

A good application guides the reader into the project idea. Think of the reader of your application. Often applicants forget that we have no previous knowledge of the project idea, so a solid pedagogical introduction that is clear and concrete is a must.

A good application needs to be clear in methods on how to achieve success as well as perceived effects and results. Remember to answer the questions: What do we want to achieve and when will we achieve it?

A good application is first and foremost a good project. Try to explain what you want to say with your project. Why are you doing this project?

Do your groundwork in regards to everything practical and logistical. Enclose contracts and expressions of interest from potential collaborators.

And make sure to send in your application well in advance before your project starts. As well as pay attention to layout so it is easy for us to read.

A good application has a good idea and a well-conceived purpose. The idea needs to be so clear that we can imagine the project and its effects. At the same time it needs to be realistic.

In a good application we can feel the dedication from the applicant. Moreover, a good application emphasizes the relevance in regards to Nordic culture.

Avoid any ambitions that you cannot be sure to fulfill. This could be ideas that are not fully developed. It taints the credibility of the rest of the application. If your ideas are not fully developed yet you can describe your project as a pre-study or subproject to something larger that is to come.

You should never not apply. If you have an idea and think it should be realized, you need to apply. Just be realistic and pay attention to all that is required for applying:

Avoid any focus on personal gain. Never budget with unrealistically high artist’s fees - or too high living costs for artists and performers. Then we automatically get the idea that the application is an attempt to finance something other than the project.

The most common mistake is to write an application we do not understand. Discuss your project with others and get their feedback before writing your application. In this way you practice arguing for your project. And it helps us understand.

The applications that cover some or all of our three focus areas, and at the same time burns through - those are the ones we remember.

Do not hold back. APPLY! With time your applications improve. The art of writing a good application is one that can be learned. But most importantly: Have something to say.

The biggest mistake is to not research properly. What is required to achieve support? What requirements should I meet, and what do NAPA even support?
Make sure your budget is well thought through. A good budget is realistic and mentions any other funding you have applied for.

Remember all necessary appendices: Letters of interest, contracts, artist’s resumes and so on.
Many applications express grand visions, but lack in documentation that are needed for us to rely on the project idea.

If your idea falls under the purpose of NAPA, then everything is fine. But if your idea does not correspond to our work, do not try to push your idea into our framework - instead find another fund or way of financing that suits your idea. Never change a good idea to fit into a pre-defined form.

My best advice is:

  1. Get an idea
  2. Describe your idea so that we understand
  3. Enclose all documentation
  4. Make a sensible budget
  5. Apply!