One of the most important activities for non-profits and charities is securing funding to support their operations, however too many end up applying to the same programs year after year. New data from The Funding Portal reveals that non-profits should consider expanding their horizons as governments and private funders across Canada offer no less than 1,104 different funding sources for the sector.
Overall, Canadian non-profits and charities draw funding from four different sources: the government, donations and gifts, earned income, and transfers from businesses. In 2003, it was estimated that non-profit organizations across Canada had revenues of about $11.6 million, with organizations in Ontario and Quebec earning the largest draw.
Government funding is an important source of financial support for non-profit organizations—the government accounts for as much as 45 per cent of total revenues for non-profits in Ontario, and as much as 60 per cent in Quebec, according to Imagine Canada, a national charitable organization that supports other Canadian charities and nonprofits.
In order to improve awareness and access by charities and non-profits to federal, provincial and municipal government funding programs, as well as to charitable foundations, The Funding Portal has created a searchable online database of these different sources of funding. According to the Portal’s latest statistics, governments across Canada make over 1,000 funding and support programs available to non-profits, in addition to over 100 private sources of funding specifically pegged to this sector.
Some of these most recognizable sources of funding include: the Ontario Trillium Foundation, a provincial government agency with an annual budget of $120 million; FedDev Ontario’s Youth Stem program, which supports educational science outreach programs for children; and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s Skills Link program, which provides funding for organizations that offer activities for youth facing barriers to employment.
The Portal also offers expert services to assist non-profits throughout the application process—these include a one-hour consultation to determine an applicant’s optimal sources of funding, and Score It, an expert evaluation of a draft funding application prior to its submission to funders.
Expert assistance can be helpful in providing a fresh perspective on any funding application. One of the mistakes most commonly committed by non-profit applicants and observed by the Portal’s experts is failing to paint a clear picture of the organization’s objectives and how it will concretely use the funding. The Portal’s experts can also assist applicants in supplementing their application with a carefully considered budget including as many exact figures as possible.
The Funding Portal’s efforts to build a one-window portal to find and access funding for Canadian businesses, non-profits and academia alike are supported by Georgina Steinsky-Schwartz, Chair of the Portal’s Advisory Council and former CEO of Imagine Canada.
“Throughout my career in the public sector, there was always talk of a one-window portal to all sources of funding for the innovation and charitable sectors,” Ms. Steinsky-Schwartz said. “The Funding Portal has built it at last.”