Navigating the Maze of Tender Writing

Navigating the Maze of Tender Writing A Journey of Creativity and Resilience

Edit Palinkas  /  June 13, 2024

For those who know me, it’s no secret that I dabble in tender writing. This craft is no walk in the park. I often hear complaints like, “I don’t have the nerves for this,” or “The platforms are just too confusing,” and “Why can’t I just ask for the money I actually need?” There are also frustrations about system crashes, the endless writing required, and the time constraints. But my all-time favorite gripe is, “You need to come up with an idea for this.”

Here’s the thing: if you need to invent an idea for a tender, you’re already on the wrong track. However, if you can come up with something that fits your activities, aligns with what you already do, or just needs a little push to get started, tenders can actually be a blessing. When you begin thinking about the project, you start seeing the whole process, visualizing the program, the reactions of the people involved, their nuances, their smiles. This is what fuels me when I’m putting together a tender concept and helps me push through all the tedious bits — the administration, the computer work, the endless typing, thinking, and calculating.

And yes, the systems do freeze, crash, and restart regularly. There have been countless times when I’ve perfectly articulated something only for it to vanish in an instant, with no way to reconstruct what happened — just the application portal’s homepage staring back at me. Looking back, these moments have their own charm.

Yesterday, there was the usual Hungarian cultural tender deadline. Eight tenders were waiting to be finalized, amidst other work, family obligations, and choir practice. But I powered through, as I always must, and now it’s just a matter of waiting for the results. This waiting is the hardest part for me; the results always seem to come late. Then, in the most unexpected moment, you find out whether your cherished idea will get a little nudge from above. Regardless of the outcome, there’s always a need for re-planning, whether it’s because you won or because you didn’t.

The best advice I can give to those asking why and how to write tenders is this: if you are creative enough, have ideas, work in a community that adapts to new projects and programs, and most importantly, have the capacity to write them yourself or hire someone to do it, then why not? As many of us see it, especially in the cultural sector — and this is true globally, as I learned at the Classical:NEXT conference — every bit of support counts. Let’s tap into national and European opportunities as much as we can.

That’s all for now on tender writing. I’m off to rest after yesterday’s deluge. Cheers!

A Newbie’s Adventure at Classical:NEXT

A Newbie’s Adventure at Classical:NEXT
Embracing the Chaos of Networking

Edit Palinkas  /  May 22, 2024

Have you ever found yourself knee-deep in a project, staring at a fork in the road, utterly clueless about which path to take? When your project is hefty enough, the best move is to dive headfirst into a sea of like-minded individuals. And that’s exactly what I did: I took the plunge and registered for the long-awaited Classical:NEXT conference.

The Magic of Classical:NEXT: A Networking Nirvana

Classical:NEXT is the Mecca for anyone with a stake in the classical music world. Whether you’re there to promote your ensemble—as a member, leader, or manager—secure work as a distributor or producer, find performers for next year’s programs, or spread your projects worldwide, everyone has a mission. But there’s a common thread: networking.

I grew up with the motto “You never know who’s behind the pillar,” and this holds true in every aspect of life. You never know what the future holds or the impact of a chance encounter, often revealed years down the line. Armed with insights from last week’s three-day experience, we’re now ready to dive into new concepts and projects. The real challenge will be maintaining this momentum and communicating it to partners, sponsors, and supporters.

First Impressions and Unexpected Encounters

Before diving into the details, I must confess this was my first time at such a grand event. Typically, in similar situations, I’ve been the quiet observer. But this time, I knew that wouldn’t cut it. The program was too good, offering too many opportunities to stay on the sidelines.

Before the official conference even kicked off, I attended a preliminary lecture on the state of higher music education. And guess what? I immediately received the answers I was looking for — a surprising twist that set the tone for the entire event. From that first step, I knew which direction to take in conversations and where to seek connections. I found quite a few valuable contacts right off the bat.

Along the way, I stumbled upon unexpected information and influences, all pointing in the same direction. For those who know me, two areas truly capture my interest: music and architecture. Surprisingly, I made an unexpected connection in this field, and soon, we’ll be taking our first steps in this project.

Collaboration: The Heart of Innovation

One of the most enlightening aspects was witnessing numerous examples of successful collaborations, whether between musical organizations, musical and nonprofit organizations, or even musical and corporate entities. To the skeptics in Hungary: there is hope for these collaborations, but we need to cultivate an open-minded organizational attitude that encourages more of them. It takes creative ideas and the skill to pitch them, but with mutual interest, anything is possible. I was also pleased to note that there were a few areas where the presenters couldn’t tell me anything new, which is crucial for confidence.

But I must emphasize, the goal here is not knowledge acquisition but networking — understanding each other’s experiences, grievances, and solutions, especially for small organizations like ours. Even a single spark of inspiration means success.

Small Steps, Big Impact

Globally, there are numerous challenges in the classical music field that, while I may be a small player, many small organizations can drive significant change, both in terms of musical professionalism and community-building, as well as mitigating social segregation. Several of my new initiatives received validation, which is a good sign that we’re heading in the right direction. Let’s just say, soon you’ll learn more about the links between dyscalculia and music, music projects in social institutions, the YouMu project, the new Őrség Music Academy, and even the musical inspirations behind our new fashion brand.

Embracing the Journey

Don’t forget, the most vital aspect of Classical:NEXT is networking. While it’s a skill you can learn, the key is to be present, initiate conversations, and approach people. For those who have been hesitant due to fear — like me — this event is a golden opportunity. You’ll find that others will reach out to you, boosting your confidence until it becomes second nature.

It was an eye-opening experience for me that offered valuable insights, unexpected opportunities, and a renewed sense of purpose. It’s all about diving into the chaos, seizing opportunities, and again, most importantly, engaging with people. Trust me, there’s no better feeling than attending such events and having people greet you and inquire about your progress on the second day of an international conference.

Let’s keep the momentum going and make the most of the connections and inspiration we’ve gained. Here’s to new beginnings and exciting projects ahead! Cheers!