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4 Ways You Can Reach Your Funding Goals

Posted By Rui Miguel Martins, Volunteer Guest Blogger, August-25-16
Updated: August-24-16
Blog Post: 4 Ways You Can Reach Your Fundng Goals

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes 

Non-profit and volunteer organizations face many unique challenges especially when they are in their infancy. They often struggle to find the proper funding and resources needed to reach their goals.


 Expert panel discussing funding 

Volunteer Toronto hosted a panel discussion with grassroots leaders and sector experts about the funding challenges affecting small and volunteer-run organizations. The event was hosted by Louroz Mercader, the Community Outreach Coordinator for Volunteer Toronto’s  Grassroots Growth Project.

 

 

 

The four featured panelists were

Our guest blogger, Rui Miguel Martins, provides a summary of the four main talking points.

 

Focus on finding the right fit

Looking for funding is a lot like dating. It should be about more about how well you connect and relate to one another rather than how much money they have. Know what you want ahead of time before you send out applications. Many foundations like to focus on certain areas. For example, the Laidlaw Foundation works with groups of young people on issues that affect their community. The City of Toronto has grants that are specifically linked with initiatives like poverty reduction, senior strategy or youth empowerment.  Do not dismiss smaller grants. Many foundations have micro-grants for everything from capacity building to skills development. Some foundations do not want to be your only source of funding either. “Small grants are good for jump-starting initiatives,” founder of ACCESS Charity Daniel Francavilla says.

 

Do your homework ahead of time

The unfortunate reality is that more established charities and non-profits tend to get funding. That is why it is so important to do your research and understand the process. “You have to be very clear about what you are looking for in your project,” Clare Nolan from the Ontario Trillium Foundation says. “The budget is where you tell your story.” Foundations often have very detailed information about their funding criteria on their websites. It is no big secret. The more you understand about the details of the funding streams, the better.  Overestimating or underestimating the dollar amount on an application always reflects badly as well. You need to have a clear vision.

 

Join the network and build relationships

Funders should know what your organization is doing before you apply. Stay connected with funders by attending any workshops and events they organize. Stay connected on social media as well. Speak with previous applicants about their experiences. Call people before you apply and then call them afterwards. Make yourself approachable. Look at partnerships if possible; it shows confidence and demonstrates that you are determined to get something done. Highlight your team and their achievements, and include biographies of your team members on your website. It raises your organization’s profile. As Louroz Mercader stated, “Do your homework and learn from relationship building.”

 

Learn from your mistakes

It is said that people learn nothing from success. Sometimes it takes many failures before you learn how to succeed. Rejection is the most difficult part of the process, but you will likely experience it often. Use it as a valuable opportunity to improve by learning to understand where you went wrong. Sometimes, applicants are rejected because there is just not enough money to reach their goals. Other times, applicants neglect to describe how they will measure impact. According to Claire Nolan, impact is a key element for a successful grant application. “We are looking for impact within our investment strategy. We need to know what the impact will be. What will be better? What will be different? Who will benefit?”

You can also check out one of our past posts 5 Tips For Securing Grants for more great information!

 

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Rui Miguel Martins is a communications specialist and social media strategist based in Toronto. He currently volunteers his time at Make A Change Canada, Yonge Street Mission, as well as at Volunteer Toronto.

Tags:  funders in Toronto  Funding  Getting funding for your organization  grants  How to get funding 

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