The EU allocates financial grants in forms of calls for proposals. These are usually published throughout the year on the corresponding sites for each EU programme. Each programme also has an annual work plan that specifies the thematic priorities for the given year as well as guidelines for the overarching priorities of the whole 7 years long period of the programme.
Interested parties can submit a proposal for a concrete project under a given EU programme that relates to their own specific field. If the application is successful, the proposed project will be co-financed by the EU through an action grant.
As a first step, you should make sure that your organisation is eligible as a beneficiary for the call. In addition, there are some general preconditions such as sufficient expertise in the given area and financial independence, including pre-financing of the project.
In general, non-governmental and civil society organisations are a natural target group for a large part of EU funding, as they are active in many areas of EU policies on a non-profit basis. In fact, NGOs are most often eligible in one way or another to benefit from EU funding under various programmes given that they fulfill the basic criteria as explained above.
Defining your project
For a quality project, you need to have a clearly defined idea about the actions to be performed and the expected results of the actions. In addition, the work plan and budget need to appropriately reflect the planned actions as well as the intended results. Consequently, it is important to have a clear idea on:
- Project aims: clearly defined and quantifiable goals reflecting the timeframe and budget lines
- Actions: planned measures which implementation contribute to the aim of your project.
- Expected results: result of the project actions (see below for sustainable impact)
In addition, there are transversal issues that need to be taken into account when formulating a good EU level project. As projects are assessed in relation to the general agenda of the EU, the project must have a strong added value if it is to succeed for funding. In doing so, few things to bear in mind:
- Link with political priorities: EU funding is used to achieve the EU’s political goals. In this sense, the project must be closely linked with the political agenda as defined in the specific programme guidelines as well as ongoing current priorities;
- European added value: each project must be giving a clear added value to already existing actions on a European level. This does not necessarily always have to be something new and innovative, but also improving or reformulating existing practices;
- Sustainable impact: Projects by nature are dependent on funding and having a long lasting impact can be challenging. One way of increasing your project’s impact (and added value) is to have a systemic impact. In doing so, the project achievements are taken on board by relevant stakeholders, such as local or regional policy makers, institutions or business consortiums to name few. While the project might not continue, it’s fruits continue to advance the EU’s political goals through renewed practices in societal systems.
- European values: Successful projects make the link with European values that are the core of Commission’s activities and vision. It is therefore important that your project reflects some of the EU’S fundamental principles in the given area of your project. For instance, in connecting citizen, you should tap in to the notion of European integration.
Identifying and involving partners
Forming partner networks is one of the central elements in EU community projects. The partnership is intended to achieve better results by sharing expertise and workload (human ressources) as well as allow various organisations to exchange best practices and gain visibility on the European level.
How ENSIS can help you?
Interested in a European projects? You have great ideas but lacking partners? Experiencing difficulties with all the funding websites and guidelines?
This is where ENSIS can help you. By becoming a member you will have access to ENSIS’s services that will help you through the EU labyrinth by simoultaneously making contacts with European actors in the field of social innovation. For more information, please see our membership services page.