The magic recipe (yes, there is one) for developing a winning proposal for receiving funds


I have been involved as funding expert and proposal developer since 1997 and an EC expert and evaluator since 2003 and for years I have been wondering whether there is a magic recipe that can be followed in order to exploit successfully European funding programmes.  The reason for that was my frustration as soon as I was informed that one of my proposals was not retained for funding. This was a pain that only time could fight it. I used to feel disappointed with all that effort dedicated from me and my partners on trying to develop a great proposal that was wasted. I couldn’t understand what had actually gone wrong and why that particular proposal was not funded. All those sleepless nights and overtime in my work keeping me away from my personal life was proving to be useless!  Not only as proposal developer but also as EC expert when I was evaluating proposals on behalf of the European Commission, I used to feel sad and sorry for all those proposals that had to be rejected and not retained for funding  due to their quality and approach since I knew how much effort, resources, and money had cost them to develop those proposals. All this pain had motivated me to never stop thinking what makes always a winning proposal for receiving funds.

I still remember that end of summer, me sitting on the balcony of our beach house feeling relaxed and happy after finishing reading two really great books that summer, the “Awaken the giant within” by Tony Robbins and “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. There was something teasing me in my mind but I couldn’t see what.

Suddenly, I had my “Eureka” moment.  I realised two things. First one is that anyone can become a great funding expert and proposal developer as long as they decide it now and as long as they have a recipe for becoming one. The second thing that I realised is that since the alchemist managed at the end to create gold out of the lead by following a specific formula, then I decided to look for that formula also on how people can transform themselves into great proposal developers and funding experts. Although I was looking for the “gold” formula,thankfully my task was much easier and realistic since there were hundreds even thousands of professionals already out there that they were very successful in developing great proposals for funding (including me :)). So I started to study and examine very carefully how successful proposal developers build great proposals that are retained for European funding. I worked very closely with other experts also in the area, I studied also the model and the structure of the winning proposals, how they are built and I also studied hundreds of books and attended seminars not only in writing effectively but in other areas also such as in neuroscience and how the mind thinks, psychology and physiology, networking and how to influence people are a small sample of it.

As a result, I came up with the Funding Expert Transformation Process™ (FETP™) Formula that can transform anyone into a great funding expert that exploits successfully European funds and has achieved financial freedom as well as more personal time for themselves. My FETP™ formula (some of my students call it the “magic recipe“) is based on three essential foundations.

  1. It is based on  simple, specific and clear steps so that not to overwhelm people but at the same time lead to  powerful results!
  2. It is applicable immediately and it doesn’t need years of practising.  It is a recipe which means that novices but also experts (say other chefs)  in the area can follow it and create great “meals” (i.e. successful proposals) immediately without the pain and years of experimenting
  3. It is complete and the only thing that you need to follow in order to direct you to develop successful proposals for your organisation or for your clients in any (European) funding programme (e.g. Horizon 2020, Erasmus+, Creative Europe, Europe for Citizens, Structural Funds, etc)

Let me give you just the framework here and for people that wish to have further details, I have prepared for them a blueprint of the FETP™ formula that you can download immediately by signing up.

signup for the FETP blueprint

The FETP™ formula consists of three steps  as well as of 7 habits that champions in European funding apply consistently.
magic recipe

  1. Step 1: Identify the most suitable EU funding programmes for your organisation or your client(s). There are around 1 trillion € available from the EU budget for the financial programming period 2014-2020 to fund and support activities across the European Union (and not only) that will lead to three priorities: a) the creation of forefront knowledge, b) the increase of growth and more jobs and c) the improvement of quality of life. Therefore, there are many different funding opportunities that anyone can get really lost and miss which funding opportunities are the most attractive, most suitable and most promising for  your organisation and your clients. There is a technique that we should follow which is called Five Fingers’™ Technique that allows us to identify easily the most appropriate calls for our organisation and clients according to their ambition, activities, size, reach, mission, and vision as well as to the success chances that we have in each programme.
  2. Step 2: Master the full proposal development process. This process normally starts from the point that you come up with an idea that deserves to build on and develop a full proposal up to the point that you submit your proposal and you celebrate! (Yes, you never wait to celebrate when you are informed that your proposal is accepted for funding). This step is mastered with my I.C.R.E.A.T.E.S.™ system that transforms anyone to excel in
    1. creating innovative and promising ideas,
    2. connecting and networking with key people (such as with other experts and evaluators, funding authority officers as well as with competent potential partners and supporters),
    3. mastering what and how to read the programme documentation,
    4. preparing a proposal summary that rocks
    5. identifying and attracting key partners
    6. forming and managing the right team for developing and submitting a great proposal
  3. Step 3: Impress the evaluators with your proposal quality and structure. Evaluators and EC experts that are engaged in assessing the quality of your proposal are always negatively biased against all the proposals that they assess. The reason for that is very simple. Since normally the success rate is much lower than the failed rate (say 20% of the submitted proposals are funded against the 80% that is rejected), then the mind of the evaluators mainly subconsciously assumes that the chances of evaluating a great proposal are just 20%. Therefore, we need to change the mindset of the evaluators and impress them from the very beginning even before they start reading the proposal (e.g. from the consortium synthesis, the proposal abstract, the proposal logo, etc) that our proposal must fit within this 20%.We need to impress them with the way that we elaborate on the
    1. Consortium quality,
    2. Relevance of our proposal to the call priorities and expectations,
    3. Innovation of our approach and on the expected results
    4. Transeuropean dimension and how beneficial our project is for Europe
    5. Economics of the project (the value for money)
    6. Reputation, i.e. the dissemination and exploitation approach of the project
    7. Impact, i.e. the benefits from the project
    8. Approach, that is the implementation methodology and the work-plan.

These all above are mastered with my C.R.I.T.E.R.I.A.™ formula.

The FETP™ cannot be complete if we don’t include also the habits that can maintain us as champions in European funding. Any funding expert is a B.U.N.D.L.E.R.™ that carries a bundle of 7 habits and remains at the top of his/her profession. These 7 habits are:

  1. B. Build to last
  2. U. Upset the status quo
  3. N. Never eat alone
  4. D. Don’t delay it, Delegate it
  5. L. Learn that good is the enemy of great
  6. E. Endorse a sharpened axe
  7. R. Recognise mistakes as learning opportunities

Ok, there you have it – the Funding Expert Transformation Process™ Formula
That’s the formula that’s been used by thousands of my students and successful funding experts. I truly hope that this article, along with the FETP blueprint (and all the free training videos I give you through my Funding Expert Academy) have opened your eyes to a whole new way of thinking about your business and your position as a funding expert.
Because once you start to put these strategies and tactics into your business… well, life will never be the same again. Literally.
It’s the end of “hope funding” – you’re no longer at the mercy of the evaluators and your competitors.
It’s like in the Matrix movie (my favourite one)… you can either choose the Red Pill or the Blue Pill. If you want to stick with your OLD WAY of exploiting funding… then take the Blue Pill and you’ll go back to your business and your life and nothing will have changed. You can keep experimenting along with “hope funding”… and you can keep believing that one day that your approach in exploit funding will actually start working.
But if you’re ready to take control of your funding business, your life… if you’re ready for the Red Pill, then your path is clear – and it’s the Funding Expert Transformation Process™ Formula. It’s time to take control.
Because once you start using the FETP™ Formula you’re going to banish HOPE funding forever… and YOU are now in the driver’s seat. You can make a difference in the sustainable exploitation of European funding.
I’ve already given you a TON of training materials – in this article, the blueprint and all the training videos I’ve given you through the FundingExpert.Academy. I know some people will take my challenge to “take the Red Pill” and they’ll get started right away – just by using all the free training
materials I’ve given you.
That’s great – and they won’t be the first to have success using my free training materials alone.
But if you want to take the next step… if you REALLY want to step up and
banish “hope funding” forever… well then join my online Funding Expert Academy programme that is followed by amazing bonuses and a 100% money back satisfaction guarantee.

signup for the FETP blueprint

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Nikolaos Floratos

About Nikolaos Floratos

Nikolaos Floratos after his undergraduate and postgraduate studies with distinction as engineer in London (Imperial College, City University), UK, has been working for a number of consultancy and Information Technology companies as consultant and project manager across Europe. He completed also an MBA (Master in Business Administration - National Technical University of Athens and Athens University of Economics and Business) and the last 19 years he is involved in planning, managing and evaluating large and small projects in the area of research, education, ICT (Information Communication Technologies), social inclusion, entrepreneurship, standardization and consumer issues. As a funding expert, personal trainer and coach, he has supported hundreds of individuals and organisations mainly from Europe but also from all over the world on managing state funding (e.g. from European Commission, National Funds, etc) and receive support for deploying their business idea or mission and he has proved that anyone can become a great proposal writer or project manager of european funded projects through proper guidance, training and coaching. He is an expert on behalf of the European Commission on evaluating and reviewing projects and proposals since 2003 and currently, he researches through a PhD how eLearning courses can increase students' engagement and motivation. He is the creator of the Funding Expert Transfomation Process™ system that can transform anyone to a great proposal writer and project manager of european funded projects. He is also interested in investing in highly innovative start-ups and SMEs and he is member of the European Business Angel Network and of the Institute of Leadership and Management. He has received more than 50 recommendations at his linkedin profile (www.linkedin.com/in/floratos) as a funding expert, coach and trainer. He is also the author of the ebook "Who are the Horizon 2020 champions and what to learn from them". He is also listed in the top first three search results by google as "Funding expert".

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