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Posted by on Mar 2016 in All Stories, Features, Member Support, Slider | 0 comments

Get it in writing: Three steps to a successful grant proposal

human-shaped cut out standing on coinsNew to grant writing? Asking a funder for money can be an uncomfortable process for those new to the role, and challenging even for seasoned professionals. How can you make your organization stand out among so many other worthy causes? What’s the best way to demonstrate value for your would-be funder?

To help de-mystify the process, ONPHA asked fundraising expert Anne Morais, who has raised a total of $12 million to support social service delivery in Toronto and abroad. She shared the secrets of her winning proposals during ONPHA’s Successful grant writing: Where do I begin? webinar.

According to Morais, a successful proposal has three key elements:

1)    Positioning

As an organization, know yourself. Understanding your own priorities, mission, vision, strategic direction, and values can help you narrow down granting bodies and help in the grant writing process. This should include thinking about your mandate, your tenants’ needs, and grant making priorities.

2)    Alignment

Think about how your priorities and social issues link to the priorities of the granting organization. Look for the larger, broader places where your organization aligns with the goals of the granting organization.

3)    Have a solid “ask”

Morais recommends making sure that your “ask” is realistic and reflects the necessary budget for fulfilling the goals of the project.

Free resources

Canadian Revenue Agency: If you know of a foundation that grants to similar organizations, look at their CRA returns on CRA’s website. You can get a quick idea about the organizations to which the foundation grants money. This database only provides information on public foundations.

Grants Ontario: The Government of Ontario amalgamated all of its grant information in one website. Grants Ontario provides a central portal that includes access to information on grants in a variety of areas. It might take a while to get used to the interface, but it is worth exploring.

Imagine Canada’s Grant Connect is available for free in some Canadian Libraries. Email them to find one that you can access. This database uses information returned to Canadian Revenue Agency to provide access to information on Canadian foundations, corporate giving programs, and American foundations that provide funds to Canadian organizations.

What is the difference between a public and private foundation?

A public foundation:

  • is established as a corporation or a trust;
  • has exclusively charitable purposes;
  • generally gives more than 50 per cent of its income annually to other qualified donees, (e.g., registered charities), but may carry out some of its own charitable activities;
  • more than 50 per cent of its governing officials must be at arm’s length with each other;
    generally receives its funding from a variety of arm’s length donors; and
  • its income cannot be used for the personal benefit of any of its members, shareholders, or governing officials.

A private foundation:

  • is established as a corporation or a trust;
  • has exclusively charitable purposes;
  • carries on its own charitable activities and/or funds other qualified donees, (e.g., registered charities);
  • may have 50 per cent or more of its governing officials not at arm’s length with each other;
  • generally receives the majority of its funding from a donor or a group of donors that are not at arm’s length; and
  • its income cannot be used for the personal benefit of any of its members, shareholders, or governing officials.

If you are an ONPHA member, log in to watch Anne Morais’ presentation. You will learn more tips about grant writing, including a detailed conversation about the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

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