Mistakes made in applications for presidential grants
The Presidential Grants Administrative Fund for the Development of Civil Society has outlined the most common mistakes and shortcomings made by non-commercial organisations in completing applications for the first competition of 2017.
It was a professional competition with a high standard, carried out using a new methodology, the general director of the Presidential Grants Administrative Fund for the Development of Civil Society, Ilya Chukalin said. In 2017, there were more than 6000 projects applying to receive federal state financing, and there were 970 winners from 79 regions of the Russian Federation.
“The assessment [of the application] for the results of the competition “ is not a rating of your organisation, not an evaluation of its contribution to the development of the civil sector, not an evaluation of the team or idea which (in and of itself) can be completely wonderful. It is an appraisal of the application itself, the set of phrases and documents that tell about the idea and the organisation and which limits the amount of information which can be presented”, he emphasised.
Low ratings of various applications was often connected to the size of the budget asked for. In the competition for presidential grants, the method ‘ask for more – we give less’ does not work, he emphasised: the more money requested by the organisation, the tougher the appraisal of the application.
Many applicants under the heading Relevance were limited by abstract words instead of a description of a concrete problem which they planned to solve. The problem, goal and tasks of the project did not always logically lead to the expected result or the connection was not clear. Applications were submitted without reasons for the financial expenditure, without measurable criteria for the assessment of results. The organisers noted a lack of engagement on behalf of some organisations with developments in the market for social services and in general in the sphere of NGO support.
The total amount of funds given to non-commercial organisations in the first competition was 2.25 billion roubles. The budget of presidential grants was increased to 7 billion roubles and now only a third has been distributed. Chukalin noted that during the second round, winners will be given in total the largest sum in the history of the presidential grants for NGOs and the chance of winning will be very high.
Along with a series of webinars, the competition organisers plan to carry out face-to-face seminars in various regions of the Russian Federation, where concrete projects and questions regarding applications will be covered. Moreover, in the near future the foundation will publish methodological recommendations about preparing applications and forming a budget.
83% of the successful organisations in the first round of presidential grants in 2017 had not received presidential grants in 2016. The Presidential Grants Administrative Fund for the Development of Civil Society and the coordinating committee are responsible for the distribution of grants. One of the functions of the coordinating committee is the formation of a combined expert council, which examines the applications and determines the winners. The call for applications for the second round is from 16 August until 29 September 2017.