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  1. 1. AoC’s top tips for successful tender applications Each application process and tender is different but these simple tips can help you with all submissions that your organisation completes. Some of them are very obvious but are often forgotten when you are up against a deadline. Top tips Organisation Firstly, decide if your organisation should bid, or not bid for a project. Not all projects are suitable for all organisations, or not all organisations are eligible for the funding/grant. If the project requires partnerships, consider who would be best place to partner with your own organisation. What relationships do you have already? Consider if your organisation is the best to lead on this work or would it be better if a partner you know led and your organisation was a partner instead. Consider the wider implications of the project – does the project fit into your current organisation’s strategy, are there other departments within your organisation who are already working on the area of work being considered that you could discuss the tender with? Do make sure you have sufficient resources, not only to write the submission, but also to carry out the project if you are successful. Do not underestimate the time it can take to write a submission and it is essential to take the time to get it right. Do ensure this project wouldn’t clash with any existing work you are currently involved in or have in the pipeline. Often funding/grants do not allow you to seek additional funding/grants on an existing live project. Verify this before you submit an application. Take the time to read the standard conditions of the funding/grant if available. Applicants can make sure that they are in a position to adhere to these conditions before taking the time to apply for the funding/grant. Do ensure that you understand and meet the criteria of the project. Think about what is being looked for. Some funding/grants have particular criteria and restrictions on them that are non-negotiable and have been set by the funder. Make a simple check list of what areas you are asked to cover or reference. This way you can ensure that no detail is missed and you have the best chance of being successful.
  2. 2. Top tips Bid writing Do standout from the competition, the funder will probably receive a large number of applications. Think about what your project or organisation could offer that others couldn’t, what’s your unique selling point. Back up your statements with evidence, for example, why your project is needed and why you are the best organisation to deliver it. Do adhere to the specifications of submitting, for example; if there are any word limits, font size, a hardcopy is required or online submission only, do you need to send a specific number of copies? Not adhering to these specifications can lead to not being shortlisted, or even having your submission marked. Do keep your submission professional, simple and concise. Do take the time to understand the marking criteria and any weighted sections. This will help your submission score highly in the important/ weighted areas and could save you valuable time. Do keep an eye on the relevant question page of the project – usually all questions asked will be available, along with their answers, for all possible bidders to take a look at, to ensure all bidders have the same opportunity. Do leave time to proof read your submission… twice! Consider your organisations house style of formatting. Will the moderator understand this or should you, for the purpose of the bid, keep it generic. Always show acronyms in full at the start of the document.Don’t assume the marker will know them.
  3. 3. What NOT to do Bid writing Do not underestimate the time it will take to fill out the tender document – take the time early on to identify the information you will need to collect, for example, information from colleagues, quotes for external work, local partnerships agreements, CV’s for the project delivery team. Do not include marketing text, unless specifically asked too. This is often not what markers are looking for. It is a common mistake that applicants talk too much about their organisation and not about what they would like to do in the project and what the funding/grant is for. Do not make it harder for the marking team to read your submission – do not waffle, make your answers concise and use bullet points for ease of marking and understanding your responses, keep sentences short and punchy, be consistent in your language and use of terminology, avoid weak qualifiers. Do not make any assumptions; the marking team can only mark/evaluate your submission on what is included in your submission. Do not guess at costs of work and staff resources that will affect your submission, state if costs include or exclude VAT, on-costs, overheads and if you have based these costs on any assumptions. Do not forget to include all the information that is required, including additional supporting documents if necessary. Timescales The tender documentation will always indicate the timescale of when you should hear back from the Project Team. This timescale can slip due, for example the need to collect extra information to be assessed in order to make a decision, a change in the funding/grant conditions or increased number of applications causing a long evaluation process. The funder will always communicate this with you and give an update of where your bid is up to. Feedback to unsuccessful submissions is often not given automatically due to the volume of applications the funder has received for each project.