Erasmus+ KA2 Capacity Building / CBY Project Application Tips

Analysis of the most common problems in Erasmus+ CBY applications & tips how to avoid them
filling in CBY project application

Erasmus+ KA2 Capacity Building / CBY Project Application Tips

Erasmus+ KA2 Capacity Building / CBY Project Application Tips 1400 731 Gedas Kondrackis

Erasmus+ KA2 Capacity Building in the Field of Youth (CBY) projects are unique. First, they allow a very wide range of topics and activities. Second, they connect European NGOs with their peers globally* (unlike other Erasmus+ project calls). However, the competition is continent-wide. So, how to beat that with your CBY project application?

*CBY consortiums were limited to programme countries + Balkans + Southern Med in 2021 & 2022 calls.

We at Active Youth Association managed to succeed in CBY project calls every year since 2017. Does that make us outstanding? Probably not, yet have our method for completing Erasmus+ Capacity Building applications. And, it seems to be working. What’s in that for you? Well, we readily share our knowledge/insights with the NGO community. Thus, as the name of the blog post suggests, this time we will give away our top tips and secrets for CBY project application.

In short:

  • we talk about common problems in CBY applications
  • give tips to avoid them
  • provide sample answers (look for the 📜 icon)

Est. reading time: ~10 minutes
For whom: the post is for applicant organisations that are aware of Erasmus+ KA2 Capacity Building in the Field of Youth (CBY) programme

If you’ve never heard of CBY projects before, we would first recommend reading about it.

CBY Project Application: main problems & tips

1. Objectives / Proposal’s logic

Potential problems here:
  • The objectives are not realistic
  • The application isn’t clear on how the project will address the topic through the planned activities. In other words, the activities-results-objectives link is not clear. See a visual explanation below

TIPS: each objective should have an activity attached to it. Don’t plan anything that: i) you will (probably) struggle to implement; ii) is unnecessary to reach the objectives.

Building a simple logical framework (which usually takes no more than 10-30 minutes) helps a lot here. Not sure how to do that? Take a look at this comprehensive guide (project design: from A to Z) of ours.

CBY project application logical links explained

CBY project application needs to be logically linked. Activities produce outputs, which lead to outcomes


2. Indicators of success

Potential problems:
  • The project’s methodology is generically addressed. Thus, it’s difficult to measure & verify the objectives
  • The project’s key indicators are not adequate (for assessing the quality of the project)
Tips:
  1. The project’s methodology needs to be specific and describe the 3 main stages of any project: preparation, implementation and impact assessment:
    1. Preparation stage – what are you going to do to prepare the ground for your project to achieve its objectives
    2. Implementation stage – how are you going to achieve (and measure) those objectives
    3. Impact assessment (continuity stage) – what will verify the achievements and build upon them in the longer term
  2. (Before writing the project application) Answer what will indicate that your activity/output is well-done? These will be your targets/indicators
  3. Make sure these indicators are measurable and time-bound. See example:
CBY indicators example

An example of Erasmus+ CBY project’s indicators table. 200 target groups are to be researched by the end of WP2.


3. Chosen topic / Innovation elements

Potential problems:
  • Innovative nature of the project is based solely on assumptions (e.g., “youth work as such has not yet been considered to contribute to solving the drug use issue”)
  • The proposal doesn’t seek to scale up new methods, which would add something new to the topic selected

TIP: do at least a small research (e.g. a survey) prior to the project and demonstrate the results in the application.


4. Partnership

Potential problems:
  • No relevant previous projects of the partners (to show relevant experience)
  • It’s unclear what added value do the parties bring to your project

TIPS: choose organisations that have experience in the proposed topic. Not sure where to find good reliable partners for your CBY project? See top channels for that here.

CBY partner finder tool

On Otlas – the partner finding tool – you can find thousands of potential partners


5. WPs, activities

Potential problems:
  • (If your proposal includes research) the use of ethics protocol is not described.
    • The implementation arrangements (such as who and how the research will be carried out) are under-developed
  • Learning activities don’t bring added value. The quality of the non-formal education methods to be used is not convincing
  • Lack of detail
  • Job shadowings repeat their design in each country, are very generic in terms of content and aims
Tips:
  1. If you include research in your project, describe it in detail (respondents, ethics protocol, who will be responsible for what, etc.)
  2. Be descriptive and explicit in part 4.2 ‘Work packages and activities’. Cover the following: working methods, contents, learning objectives (think how they link with the project’s objectives), agendas, etc.
  3. If you include Job shadowing(s), make it relevant to the particular country context (i.e. what that country / hosting organisation can offer to a job shadower?)

6. Participants

Potential problems:
  • The proposal lacks details on the selection, preparation, support & practical arrangements for its participants
  • No information about the mechanisms for the recognition and validation of participants´ learning outcomes
Tips:
  • Be explicit in part 4.2 ‘Work packages and activities’ when describing mobilities. Cover the following:
    • Mechanisms for recognition and validation of the learning outcomes
    • Selection of the participants
    • Preparation of the participants
    • Measures, which will be taken for safety
  • Make sure your proposal seeks to involve participants as much as possible. For example:
    • Start the project with the research of the target groups / potential participants (e.g. youth workers). Then adjust the foreseen activities based on the research results
    • Give a chance to the participants to co-lead / co-design (some of) the activities. See different levels of participant involvement in the graph below
    • Provide glossaries, give preparation time for the participants. Have reflections to see what’s good / what’s bad on the spot
how to involve participants

The triangle explains the different levels of participant involvement. 1) They participate in your activities; 2) the participants help to disseminate the results; 3) they co-lead the activities; 4) they co-design the activities / the project itself


7. Management

Potential problems:
  • Proper budget control and time management are not sufficiently described
  • Risk evaluation, management or mitigation are not adequately described
  • There is little involvement of- and coordination with relevant stakeholders (e.g., local authorities)
Tips:
  • List the possible risks in a table (it’s a .docx application after all). Include the risk of a virus outbreak there
  • List the means through which partners will communicate, indicate the frequency (e.g. weekly online meetings)
  • Add a plan on budget control & time management. See examples below
📜 Snippet from the answer on budget control:
  1. The budget plan fully covers all the costs that are foreseen for the project objectives to be fulfilled (as the plan was drafted in line with the plan of the activities);
  2. It makes each organisation responsible for financial matters:
    1. assigning the financial controller to ensure optimal funds allocation for dedicated activities. On a general level, the accountant of the coordinator will control the finances;
    2. tracking finances by gathering the necessary documents; following standard reporting & eligibility procedures;
    3. regularly monitoring the budgets that will be allocated to them to ensure that everything is in order.

*This is only a snippet from the answer.

📜 Snippet from the answer on time management:

TIME-MANAGEMENT

  • The partners will be responsible to compile monthly work plans at the beginning of each month. These will include specific tasks for each partner, key deadlines, and upcoming milestones. The work plans will, thus, help to keep up with the deadlines;
  • Monthly plans will be uploaded & monitored on the project management tool (Trello). This will allow the partners to keep track of individual to-do tasks. Also, having no updates on Trello by the partner will allow spotting problems in advance;
  • Monthly email reminders will be sent to inform the consortium about any important deadlines/upcoming tasks for the next month. This will help the partners to plan their time.

*This is only a snippet from the answer.


8. Project’s impact

Potential problems:
  • The anticipated impact(s) are overambitious
  • Impacts on outside organisations and wider audiences are not explained / explained in vague terms (e.g. no concrete measures to involve them)
  • Sustainability is based on the expectation that youth workers / organizations will continue to transfer the knowledge
Tips:
  1. Suggest concrete measures how outside stakeholders will be impacted (e.g. free consultations will be offered to organisations willing to try out the project’s results)
  2. Show concrete ways how project results will be sustained (e.g. certain activities will become annual)
📜 Snippet from the answer in CBY application:

PROJECT’S IMPACT

To ensure that the project’s outputs are replicable & durable, the partners perceive sustainability as the principle to follow throughout the project. Thus, to live up to this commitment, the following are to be undertaken:

  • Materials produced within the project & uploaded digitally will be openly available for everyone freely;
  • All resources will be available in English (to widen the potential take-up);
  • The OER will be continuously updated & maintained for at least 3 years after the project;
  • Free consultations will be given to those willing to replicate the results.

These measures guarantee the target groups & all interested access to the resources. Which (in turn) contributes to the sustainability of the results produced.

*This is not a full answer.

Poll: is/was this useful for you?

9. Results’ dissemination

Potential problem:

Your dissemination plan describes some activities that will be carried out. However, it offers little on the stakeholders & audiences to be targeted (and how they will be engaged in practice).

Tips:
  1. Create a table of the audiences targeted & how each will be engaged. Remember the application is filled in .docx document (which gives freedom to format your answers)
  2. Specify dissemination stakeholders in each partner country
CBY project application table example

You can insert tables into CBY project application


10. Application’s style

Potential problem:

The style of the application is inconsistent and hard to understand for the reader (i.e., the evaluator).

Tips:

It is worth using anything that helps the evaluator find the information he/she is looking for. Creating tables, using bullet points or numbering is, thus, a very useful hack in CBY project writing.

What else:

  • bolding important parts
  • underlining
  • CAPITALISING if necessary

Note: do not overdo, however. And, more importantly, be consistent with your formatting (keep a similar style throughout your application).

📜 Snippet from the answer in CBY application:

THE METHODOLOGY:

  • The project’s activities are designed in an accessible and inclusive way and are open to people with fewer opportunities. Our team of youth workers will be specifically trained for this.
  • Participant involvement – the consortium is convinced that relevant results must come from relevant activities. And these can only become so if the target groups/participants are fully involved (i.e., in both co-designing and co-leading them).

*The is only a snippet from the answer.

Looking for advice for your CBY project application?

✍️ Let us know, we will always provide a consultation at no cost. If needed we can help to write the project proposal as well. Learn more here.

🤝 Looking for strong partners for your project: the idea might be relevant to our organisation, so why not us? Check out our PIF (partner information file).

Any more tips for project writing?

We recommend our online courses (on grant writing) or these guides:

What about other project calls?

Check out our insights for:


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Gedas Kondrackis

A for-purpose entrepreneur bent on bringing 21st century tools and techniques to the NGO world.

All stories by : Gedas Kondrackis

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