Preparing a proposal for a large cultural org (undisclosed budget)—any sources I could reference to better estimate costs/pricing structure?

Have done extensive research on the project and the organization, and have gathered some valuable information (ie: they recently received a £0.5M funding grant) but trying to gather more information on adequately pricing a 6month seasonal promotional campaign. Wondering if same rules apply to cultural organizations as private companies, and if there is any public source (eg: Companies House for private businesses) to gather information, or if there is a standard rate/ pricing structure when presenting proposals for publicly funded orgs. Thanks!


  • Companies House will cover whatever business entity they as long as they are incorporated - which they will be at that level.

    Treat it the same way as a commercial bid/contract. If they haven't given enough information to adequately scope it out then you have two options:

    1. Ask them for more information and I personally don't think it's unreasonbale to ascertain a notional budget from them (they may disagree).
    2. Mitigate scope creep in any agreement with them by specifying what you offer for a certain budget and then anything beyond that can be charged or negotiated at an agreed day rate.

    Publicly funded organisations should not be undercutting and paying less for professional services. Most people working in them expect reasonable salaries and some are definitely well paid.

    The final thing to consider is the limitation on budget. What can often happen with funded bodies is that they wil allocate a very specific spend amount to each aspect of a project delivery and can only sometimes afford to go beyond it. If they are recruiting they should have a good idea of budget. However, things change, there may also be contignency money set aside for additional work and sometimes towards the end of the project there could be underspend and that money usually needs to be allocated/reallocated. For example, if the money is from Arts Council, budgets are set upfront and costs reported at the end of phases or projects, underspand must be reported. The money is spent or lost in some respects so the organisation will spend it somwhere.

    I personally would call them up and see if anyone will talk to you before you submit your proposal. This has two potential positives:

    1. They see you as proactive and you create another touch point for your relationship buiding with them (takes 7 to make a sale by some accounts).
    2. They mat divulge some more, possibly informal, information about there budget and their expectations for what they want.

    Ask if they have worked with anyone previously and what that experience was like.

    Some of my best and worst clients have been publicly funded arts organisations for the above reasons. Great when they have money adequately ringfenced, terrible when they want to push the scope too far and don't have additional budget.

    Good luck

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