What’s love got to do with it?
Chances are you found your way here by joining the many other charities who desperately search online for a kind-hearted foundation to fund their worthy non-profit organization.
And what better month than February – the month of love – to talk about how to find your charity’s perfect funding partner. After all, philanthropy – the word used to describe donating money for a good cause – literally means love of [hu]mankind.1 Giving money away to make the world a better place has been about love since the very beginning.
Shake it off
Let’s talk how to. Step one? Shake off the desperation – to the tune of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” – and take a deep breath. Over the coming weeks, I’m going to share everything you need to know to find the funder of your dreams. I’ll pull back the curtain on the mysterious world of professional fundraising and reveal all my best-kept tips and tricks from over a decade in the trenches as a fundraiser and grant writer. Follow along, and you’ll have a grant signed, sealed, and delivered to your charity door in no time.
Okay, so what’s love really got to do with finding a grant funder? A whole lot. It may just be the most essential ingredient of all. In fact, searching for grants for your charity is a lot like matchmaking. Just like creating a love connection between two people, identifying a funding partner for your organization is all about finding shared passions and mutual interests.
If the idea of taking your charity on blind dates makes your heart race and palms sweat, let me reassure you. Finding a great match for your charity is way less scary and much less complicated than dating. In fact, there are easy and efficient ways to simplify the process using some fantastic new tools2 available – the topic of next week’s post. Plus, there is plenty of fish in the sea.
A Match Made in Heaven
According to the CRA, there are over 11,000 public and private foundations in Canada that together donate approximately $7 billion3 each year. And the best part? Each of these foundations is required by federal law4 to give away 3.5% of their invested assets each year to registered charities. Foundations want – and need – to fund charities, just like charities need funders. It’s already a match made in heaven!
Canadian Private and Public Foundations (March 2018)
Source: PFC, 2022
Big hearts, deep pockets
Remember – behind the doors of every one of the 11,000 Canadian foundations are people. Living and breathing human beings, with hearts – just like you. People who are passionate about doing good and making a difference in the world, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the philanthropy business. And it’s true. Most philanthropists are big-hearted, generous people who’ve got the financial resources – or the fuel – to make a tremendous impact on the world. What they often lack is the time, expertise, and vehicle, to turn their grand visions for good into reality.
It’s a match! A perfect partnership takes flight.
Take Susan,5 for example, a self-made millionaire who spent her life building a profitable software company. She’s a busy woman – CEO of her company, managing her family, and volunteering, all while running the private family foundation she’s established.
When Susan was eight years old, her mother died from a rare type of breast cancer. It was the most emotionally painful experience of her life. Over the years, she’s developed close relationships with leading researchers and doctors who specialize in rare breast cancers. She’s learned that because of its rarity, this cancer is woefully underfunded. She’s also learned of promising research that – if funded – holds the potential to lead to earlier detection and new treatments.
Susan’s narrowed her foundation’s focus to support a charity that is doing research on the type of cancer her mother had. She’s determined to make sure no other little girls lose their mothers to cancer as she did. She’s committed to making this her lasting legacy.
World-changing, life-saving magic
Susan’s not a scientist and doesn’t have the expertise or the time to tackle cancer. What she does have is the passion and the resources – the fuel – to give to a charity. The charity – as her partner – is the vehicle to carry out their shared vision of realizing a cure for the disease that stole her mother. Neither one can exist without the other. Together, they can make dreams come true.
So, let’s recap. Philanthropy means love of humanity and securing grant funding is a lot like matchmaking. There are lots of foundations in Canada that possess the funding to fuel your rocket to the moon. And when we marry the resources and goodwill of a foundation with the expertise and shared commitment of the perfect charity partner, magic happens. World-changing, life-saving magic.
And that same magic can – and will – happen to you. So read on, dear charity, and let’s help you find the grant funding partner of your dreams…
By Laura Ralph, Fund Development Advisor
Laura is a writing wizard with more than a decade of experience in higher education and medical fundraising.
(4) Backgrounder for Disbursement Quota Consultation – Canada.ca
(5) Susan is a purely fictitious character I’ve created to illustrate what I’ve found to be characteristic of donor motivations drawn from many years as a fundraiser. She is not based on any donor I’ve worked with personally or any donor I’ve known to be involved with any organization I’ve worked with. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.