EEA and Norway Grants are once again opening applications (calling for projects) for Fund for Youth Employment. This time it is under the slogan ‘Unlocking Youth Potential’.
Deadline is not far ahead: 5th of January 2021. However, worry not, there is still ample time to submit your concept note (the 1st step in the application process). Believe us, we have been there and done that.
Our association has been coordinating a project from this Fund since 2018. For those interested, we provide a link to it at the bottom of this post. This has gave us a lot of experience with / insight on how the Fund for Youth Employment works and what to focus on when applying with new projects.
With the benefit of hindsight, we now clearly see the mistakes we have done when setting up our proposal. Hopefully, this post will help you avoid them.
- Reading time: ~5 minutes
- Briefly: this post gives 4 top insights on how to be successful when applying to Fund for Youth Employment of EEA and Norway Grants
- For whom: organisations, which know at least a bit about this project call, but are not sure how to perfect their concept note
If you are completely new to the Fund for Youth Employment, please check out their official website first.
Lastly, if you need a free consultation – drop us a message.
Top 4 Tips for Fund for Youth Employment
Note: these are general tips and to write a successful proposal under this call you’ll most likely need more than that. Remember the competition is high. Good news: we have many project planning and writing resources prepared for you. So, stay calm and read on.
1. Strong partnership is crucial under this project call
This needs to be stressed multiple times really: pick RIGHT partners. Projects under Fund for Youth Employment are long (3-4 years) and usually involve several countries (see eligible ones below). For this reason you cannot just run a quick selection process here. The partners must:
- be responsible and believe that the project is needed in their country / region too (as any insincerities will surely show up during the implementation years)
- be experts in the topic / field of the project
- have capacity to implement and run the project on their own resources (because the funding comes only after the activities are carried out)
- be people you want to work with (as you will be meeting each other often)
What should be overseen in the proposal to sustain a strong partnership?
Obviously, it is difficult to foresee what might happen in the next 4-5 years. However, there are a few things that might save you from a looming trouble later. Not to mention that such measures potentially score you extra points with the evaluators as well:
- Foresee semi-annual meetings for your partners’ consortium (preferably, face to face) in the proposal and its budget
- Right from the start – carry out weekly online meetings (preferably, with video on)
- Report the partnerships’ activity monthly. E.g. who did what, the attendance of meetings, etc.
All this will help you hone your teamwork and, more importantly, build up trust among the partners.
Note: expertise partners (from Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein) cannot have local activities / beneficiaries according to the Fund’s rules. Take it into account when making the proposal / budget. Why include expertise partners then? First, they can pass on their expertise (as the name suggests). Second, they can be a helping hand in project management (for example, acting as supervisors).
Why EEA and Norway Grants projects are so long?
Most projects under the Fund for Youth Employment are 3-4 years long. The main reasons are as follows:
- The minimum sum dedicated to a single project is €1 million. If the project was short, it would be difficult to spend that (or greater) amount of money efficiently and effectively;
- The Fund does not provide funds in advance. Therefore, the consortium needs to have financial capacity to carry out activities on its own. The shorter the project’s duration, the more capacity is required;
- It takes some time to get acquainted with the accounting/reporting system of the Fund. If the project was short, too much time (out of the total duration) might be lost on that.
2. Carry out research, you’ll need numbers
The project application for Fund for Youth Employment requires factual arguments and numbers (e.g. on youth unemployment). Thus, do your homework and ask your partnership to do the same too. Make sure to:
- ask yourself a question whether the problem you are targeting really exists / is acute enough?
- look for relevant statistics for your target groups / locations. Seek out numbers / facts that disagree with your case
- carry out surveys / interviews with the target group. It is not too difficult these days with a multitude of readily-available online tools
Need more info on this point? Check out another article of ours, which delves into the main things to consider when writing / implementing projects.
3. Design your proposal as a logical / results’ chain
Before you start writing a concept note for EEA and Norway Grants call, sit down and plan / answer the below. Note: your answers should be based on the research you’ve carried out.
- What’s the fundamental change you want to achieve?
- What (expected) outcomes are needed to cause that change?
- What outputs / results will lead to those outcomes?
- Those outputs / results will be produced by what activities?
- What resources will be necessary for those activities?
As you can see, we are proposing to reverse the usual thinking process (i.e. go from the end to the beginning). This method is quite common among project writers and is otherwise known as building the logical framework. See explanatory illustration below:
Why does it make sense? The fundamental change you would like to achieve should be the basis for everything else. For this reason it is necessary to think about it first and then (logically) go on to the next item(s) in the results’ chain (i.e. outcomes and so on). Pro tip: explaining the rationale of your proposal to the partners is also much easier when you are following such a sequence.
Useful resources for project planning
- Project design is our strong side. That is why, we have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to plan projects from A to Z
- Have hard times with budgets? Then learn a simple 3-step technique to make any budget.
4. Write clearly and be exact in the concept note
Fund for Youth Employment project calls are 2-stage: the concept note and the main proposal itself. This is great, because it allows both the writers and evaluators to save time and energy. Imagine writing a massive project proposal and getting rejected. That does feel sombre, right? Well, it is not that bad with the stage of concept note (i.e. a short version of the proposal). Here you can give only the essence of your proposal and avoid getting too deep into details. This should also be reflected in your writing style. In other words:
- be brief and concise, no need for empty words, phrases, sentences
- be exact, avoid ambiguities (e.g. use ‘five activities’ instead of ‘some activities’)
- wherever possible use numbering and bullet-points, since they will improve readability
These are just a few tips and tricks to improve your project writing style. Yet, as always, we have more. Read on here.
Need help for your Fund for Youth Employment concept note?
Feeling like the insights above were not enough to kickstart (or restart) your application process? In this case just ask us for a free PRO consultation. Or, check out our online courses and resources on grant proposal writing.
How to apply to other European project calls?
See our guides for:
- Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnership in the Field of Youth
- Erasmus+ KA2 Capacity Building in the Field of Youth
- The European Climate Initiative (EUKI)
Want to know more about our project under EEA and Norway Grants?
Check out Migrant Talent Garden project.