Online Application Launches September 1
On September 1, online applications will available from the MCC for LCC applicants via www.mass-culture.org.
In the design of this new system, the MCC strives to provide an improved application process for applicants AND an easier reporting process for LCC volunteers, while maintaining two of the core features of the LCC Program: accessibility and local autonomy.
Some highlights of the new online application system include:
- Applicants will complete their forms online and upload any required supplemental materials by the October 17, 2016 deadline.
- Field Trip applications will be streamlined into the Standard Grant application. Schools may still apply for field trips using this application.
- By November 1, online submissions will be collated by the MCC for each LCC, then delivered to LCC members in the form of a PDF panel book. Key data points from the online submissions will also be brought into each LCC's online Annual Report by the MCC to alleviate the burden of entering data about applications.
- Between November 1 and December 30, councils will hold grant cycle voting meetings to make decisions on applications and send denial letters.
- By January 15, 2017 councils will have completed their online Annual Report. Because the application data has already been entered, you will only have to enter decisions for each of the applications submitted online. Once the council submits their online Annual Report, you may send approval letters.
Please note: Councils may still choose to accept paper applications. For those who do, councils must manually collate the paper applications into the provided panel book and manually enter the data for paper applications into the Annual Report.
Stay tuned for more details as we roll out this exciting service. MCC is developing trainings and resources to assist you and your applicants with this new process.
Resources and Samples
- August 2 – Northampton
- August 10 – Framingham – Register
Frequently Asked Questions: Online Applications
Can my council accept paper applications in addition to online applications?
Yes. Councils may choose to accept paper applications. If a council accepts paper applications, they must post that information in their council priorities on their council profile by September 1. Please note: paper applications must be collected and collated separately from the provided panel book and manually entered into the Annual Report.
Can an applicant now submit an application to all 329 councils at once?
No. An applicant may submit to only one LCC at a time. They are welcome to apply to multiple councils but will need to start a new application for each council they apply to.
How will we receive the applications that have been submitted online to my council?
After the October 17 deadline, online submissions to your council will be collated by the online application system for each LCC and delivered in the form of a PDF panel book.
Our council priorities require a letter from the venue or other additional support materials as part of the application process. How will we get these materials from the applicant?
As in the past, applicants must read the council's priorities to determine if any additional support materials are required by that council. If a council requires support materials, such as an artist resume, a flyer for the project, or a support letter, the applicant will be instructed to convert the document to a PDF and upload it as part of the online application. These materials will be collated with the application and included in the panel book that is delivered to the council.
How will we receive and review the PDF panel book?
MCC will notify council members when their panel book is ready. Then, it will be available for download so it can be viewed electronically or printed and reviewed as a hard copy. At the back of the panel book there will be a handy worksheet to help keep track of grant decisions at your voting meeting. MCC’s goal is to deliver these panel books by November 1.
I prefer to read from a paper application, or have a paper copy of each application in front of me during the voting meeting. Can I still do this?
That’s fine! If you’d like to print the applications from the PDF panel book your council receives, remember that you can set aside up to 5% of your allocation for administrative funds, which can be used for this purpose.
Can we work with applicants once we see the panel book to ask questions and get additional information?
Yes, as always, councils can decide if they would like to do any follow up to applicants after receiving their application. Since councils will be receiving their panel book by November 1, follow up with applicants would need to take place after November 1 and prior to the council’s voting meeting. If a council chooses to reach out to an applicant, be sure to offer all applicants the same courtesy.
My council prepares a spreadsheet of the applications to bring to our voting meeting. Will we still be able to do this?
Yes. After November 1 you will be able to do this, and it will be even easier. The application fields that you previously had to manually enter into the Annual Report will now be pre-populated by the MCC. Since councils will no longer have to do data entry for the applications submitted online, you can simply export all of that information into an Excel spreadsheet and customize it to your liking.
Now that the applications are online, will we be able to discuss them online or vote online too?
Nope. Under Massachusetts law, Local Cultural Councils must adhere to Open Meeting Law as they are government bodies.
We currently assign a unique identifier to each application to make it easier to review. Will this be possible in the new process?
Yes, but it will be automatically generated by the online application system. All applications submitted online will have an application number. This will appear in the panel book as well as in the Annual Report.
Will I be able to easily export applicant information into an Excel document that will help facilitate creating the approval and denial letters?
Yes. Currently, you can export applicant name and address information into an Excel spreadsheet from the Online Office. Using this spreadsheet, the council can create a mail merge Word document to use for approval and denial letters. Since the applicant’s information will be pre-populated into the online office, you will be able to use this information without having to enter in the application information yourself.
Will the reimbursement process be moving online as well?
No. The reimbursement process will stay the same as it has in the past and will not move online this year.