Canadian nonprofit grant recipients have always taken the time to identify and connect with foundations that have a similar vision and mission statement. But how do you identify these foundations? In Canada, the biggest challenge is the lack of detailed information that foundations and charities can report to the CRA. This is partly because Canada does not allow for inclusion of detailed information on the grants that foundations award. This is further complicated by the fact that more than 70% of all foundations in Canada do not have a website. So again, how do filter through the 11,000 foundations in Canada to find those individual foundations that are perfect matches for supporting your organization, programs, and projects? 

Grant Advance Solutions provide grant search engines that empowers charities to search an exhaustive Canadian directory of foundations and grants that includes every foundation in Canada and every grant awarded since 2004. By having access to this information charities can review in detail any foundation in Canada and then “intuit” the mission and vision of those foundations. 

Imagine for example that you are an animal welfare organization in southern Alberta. Wouldn’t it be great if you could know every foundation that has ever funded the SPCA, the Humane Society, or even “Jane’s Cat Shelter” in your province? Well, that is exactly what our Giving History search engine will do. By entering the name of any charity that is similar to yours the Giving History search engine will provide you with an exhaustive list of every foundation in Canada that has ever supported animal welfare in your region. It will also provide you a detailed profile page of those foundations, including every grant they have ever awarded, including a summary of their average grant size. In fact, the average grant size of a foundation is one of the most important pieces of information in terms of impacting the success of your application or request. If you can ask for the exact amount that a foundation has historically been willing to award, your likelihood of success is dramatically increased. 

The information provided in these profile pages goes much further than simply showing you foundations that fund your sector. They will also give you a clear understanding of the overall priorities of each foundation. For example, a foundation has funded animal welfare in your region. But when reviewing the foundation’s giving history, you notice that they do not just fund animal welfare. It may be that they also tend to give a lot of grants for educationgrants for new nonprofits, or grants for healthcare. By understanding these diverse giving interests, you can appeal to their broader interests. Or, perhaps our charts indicate that they typically provide 50% of their grants for religious organizations and churches, and 50% to social and human services programs. In that case you might want to include your faith-based mission combined with your outreach to marginalized groups in your community through food assistant programs or shelters. By speaking to both their faith-based and their humanitarian interests, you have significantly increased the interest they would have in your proposal. 

By understanding Canadian foundation historical giving patterns and by knowing exactly which Canadian nonprofits receive grants from foundations you can identify foundations that are perfectly matched to your organizations mission and vision. Identifying these like-minded foundations is potentially the most important opening in establishing strategic, long-term foundation funding partnerships, and the first step towards securing a wide variety of immediate or multi-year foundation grants. 

In summary, the main points in effective research are: 

  1. The ability to sort and filter every foundation in Canada to identify which foundations share your mission and values.
  2. The ability to review and analyze the grants any single foundation has awarded to determine what sectors are their highest priority and to capitalize on those overlapping interests you may share with them.
  3. The ability to identify the perfect “Ask” amount, based on the average amount the foundation has historically been comfortable awarding. 

Of course, time is always of the essence, so being able to do this quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly is one of the main objectives for busy non-profit professionals. It also happens that fast, efficient, and thorough are three of our main Super-Powers!

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