1) Creation of a detailed project plan
To start with, it is necessary to clarify what you need money for and afterwards to develop a detailed project plan. The project should have a clearly specified objective, logical structure and should identify which target groups it focuses on. The budget needs to be paid great attention to and a lot of thought should be given to the project financing.
Tip: First, pinpoint what you would like to improve in your community, company or organization, and only then start looking for funding sources.
2) Finding the appropriate programme and its specific area of intervention matching the planned project
Proceeding from the project plan objective, a suitable programme enabling funding of the project must be searched for. Detailed information about this can be found in the programming document, which specifies the supported areas and programme objectives. In addition, it contains an overview of types of applicants that may apply for support. Programming documents are available on these websites.
Tip: Basic information about the possibilities of EU funds absorption is also provided by the staff of Eurocentres, located in every regional capital.
3) Submission of the grant application
The grant application represents a crucial document that will decide the success of the application. Manuals and guidelines issued by the Managing Authorities should be used as a tool for the application preparation. In addition to the printed and electronic manuals, applicants may also consult matters with specialist staff of the Managing Authorities or Intermediate Bodies or attend specific seminars.
It is necessary to wait to find out whether a suitable call for proposal will be opened for the given project plan. There are ongoing calls where applications can be submitted over a longer period of time and are evaluated gradually, and time-limited calls, which are open for several weeks or months, where all of the submitted applications are evaluated at the same time. Information about announced calls is listed in the Schedule of Calls. The call always exactly specifies the conditions for the submission of the grant application – e.g. types of supported areas, duration, type of eligible applicants, support intensity and territorial focus. The submitted grant applications are evaluated by the Managing Authority, or an institution authorized by it, i.e. an Intermediate Body.
The application and all of the supporting documents and annexes are to be submitted by the set deadline via the electronic system ISKP MS 2014+.
4) Assessment of the grant application
The Managing Authority or the Intermediate Body assesses the grant applications subject to the evaluation criteria, specified in the call. The Guidelines for Applicants / Beneficiaries contain information on the evaluation procedure – e.g. how long the evaluation process takes and what conditions must be complied with for the project to receive support. Afterwards the applicants are informed of the outcome of the project evaluation and may possibly appeal against a negative assessment.
Tip: When preparing your application, carefully study the evaluation criteria and adjust your application accordingly.
5) Project implementation
Subsequently a contract specifying the detailed conditions of the project implementation is signed with the successful applicant. In particular, this concerns rules for the selection of suppliers, publicity requirements, guidelines for keeping and filing documents, etc.
Tip: Any changes in the approved project application must be discussed with the Managing Authority in order to avoid ineligible expenditure.
6) Request for payment
Money is received on the basis of a request for payment submitted to the Managing Authority or the representing institution. Payments may take various forms - reimbursement of the already incurred costs (i.e. ex-post payment), provision of the funds in advance (i.e. ex-ante payment) or use of so-called combined payments. Specific terms and conditions for requests for payment are laid down by the appropriate Managing Authority.
7) Evaluation and settlement
When submitting requests for payment it is necessary to prove that the expenditure complies with the conditions contained in the signed contract. Therefore, do not forget to take photos from time to time, and prepare attendance sheets, completion reports etc. You will need to attach these with invoices e.g. for the implemented training sessions and seminars. Afterwards the Managing Authority will check whether your claims are legitimate. If they are eligible, you will soon receive the money in your account. If certain expenditure is identified as ineligible, e.g. if you failed to submit any of the documents or substantiated them incorrectly (e.g. the order does not tally with the invoice), the Managing Authority will make a correction and reduce the amount of the claimed finances by this expenditure.
8) Inspection on site
Besides the administrative check an inspection may be carried out at the place of the project implementation. Checks may relate, for example, to project documentation, the physical condition of the project or financial issues. The inspectors always prepare a report summarizing the findings and measures that are necessary to adopt to avoid the risk of sanctions. Checks may be scheduled or random.
Tip: For the sake of any possible checks, it is important to have all the documentation in one place, take minutes of meetings, keep the original documents and all correspondence and set processes and competencies in the project team.
9) Project publicity
Each beneficiary that received financial support from EU funds is obliged to provide information about this assistance in accordance with Project Publicity. The Project Publicity has its own clear rules specified in the guidelines for applicants and beneficiaries. For smaller-scale projects the publicity is most often complied with by posting A3 sized posters at the project site. For more costly projects the information must be spread via a large-format banner or billboard. Upon the project completion, these temporary installations will be replaced by a plaque. Information about the project is to remain on the site at least for the period of the project sustainability.
Tip: The following tool can be used for the creation of the required formats: Generator of Obligatory Publicity Tools.
10) Sustainability of the project
Your responsibility for the project does not end on the day of the last payment settlement, quite the opposite. From then on it will be necessary to keep it going even without grants for the period you bound yourself to in the contract. The most common period is five years, for some selected projects it may be just three years. If you fail to ensure the project sustainability, you will be fined and in the worst case scenario you will be required to repay a part or the entire grant. The project sustainability reflects the quality of the entire project preparation. The sustainability of the project outcomes for five years is only a programme requirement. A good quality project can survive on its own for much longer.