Did You Know?

There are over 10,000 foundations in Canada*

The CRA provides a Canadian directory of foundations and grants, listing over 10,000 foundations registered in Canada. What does this mean for nonprofit organizations in Canada? For one thing, it means that there is a lot of opportunity. Of course not all of these public and private foundations will support every charity or nonprofit organization in Canada. However, the good news is that every foundation in Canada submits a T3010 of their foundation funding each year. With the help of grant search engines, this grant database can provide the information needed to help to filter through over 10,000 foundations and more than 144,000 grants that are issued each year, and identify perfect funding partners for any charity in any region of Canada.

Over 144,000 grants are awarded by foundations each year in Canada*

Every year Canadian grants for nonprofit organizations reach approximately 144,000 awards. With only 85,000 registered charities in Canada, it appears that some charities are getting more than their fair share. In fact, Canadian foundation historical giving records show that many nonprofits in Canada receive multiple grants from multiple foundations every year. But dont think that these are only for the large hospital, university, or big-name national charities. Yes, of course these charities invest in securing grant funding from foundations, it only makes sense. But again, grants available for not for profit organizations are not something that only the big boys qualify for. With 144,000 grants in play every year, everyone has an opportunity; and statistics show that foundations have always respected the grassroots nature of the Canadian nonprofit community. They democratically give to every sector and every cause, regardless of the size or location of the charity.

More than $5.9 billion in foundation funding is distributed annually to Canadian charities*

Even though foundations in Canada often award well over $6 billion dollars in grants to charities every year, not every charity seems to get them. In fact, many nonprofits feel like they are searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Why? Because, even though grants available for not for profit organizations are bountiful, they can still be hard to find. So, who are these Canadian nonprofit grant recipients? Well, Candian foundation donation history shows us that they are charities large and small and scattered from major urban centres to some of the smallest rural communities in Canada. Some of these grants are huge, but most of them are an average grant size of $10,000 – $25,000. A few of those each year add up pretty quickly! Experience also shows us that sending a simple 2-page Letter of Inquiry (LOI), is one of the easiest and most effective ways to connect with these funding giants. In fact, in many cases, this is the only way to play this game and connect with a foundation. So why not consider sending a Letter of Inquiry to these potential funders? After all, as we all know, you cant win if you dont play.

At least 77% of foundations do not have websites*

Did you know that less than 75% of Canadian foundations report that they have a website? That number is shocking, unless you understand the nature of many of the foundations in Canada. A very large number of Canadian foundations are designated as private foundations in Canada. This could mean a number of different things, but one thing it certainly refers to are the many Family Foundations in Canada. And these foundations simply do have the interest or capacity to maintain a public website. They trust that nonprofits will eventually find them. In other words, foundations dont have to worry about finding someone to give their money to. In fact the onus is on the charity to find them and that takes research, but your research will be encouraging. You will discover, for one thing, that Canadians are generous people. According to Charity Intelligence Canada, our country has the third largest giving percentage as measured by GDP. And family foundations are also extremely generous in providing grants for churches, faith based grants, animal welfare, environmental causes, and even charities working in the developing world. If you have a cause you believe in, there are foundations that share your passion. Let us help you find them.

There are more than 63,000 Directors sitting on foundation boards in Canada*

Building relationships is all about knowing people. Did you know that there are over 63,000 individuals sitting on the boards of foundations in Canada? With only six degrees of separation, it is a pretty good guess that somebody you know knows somebody you SHOULD know, at least if you are hoping for a personal connection with a foundation board decision-maker. One of the strategies that we encourage our clients to pursue in order to build relationships with foundations and directors is to print or distribute a list of all of the directors serving on the foundations you are applying to. It is often surprising when you tap into your staff, volunteers, board members, and allies how often an organic connection will show up. Leveraging these hidden relationships can often make a difference between whether or not your Letter of Inquiry or your Proposal even gets reviewed, sometimes it can mean a cheque in the mail without having to submit either.

Approximately 300 new foundations are registered every year in Canada*

Every year more than 300 new foundations are registered in Canada. This means new opportunities for building relationships with foundations and directors every year. These new foundations usually do not have websites, are unknown by most other charities, and have not yet established funding relationships with other charities. Reaching out to these new foundations with a hybrid Letter of Inquiry is a great way to introduce yourself and make yourself known to these new foundations in Canada. A simple LOI welcoming them to the philanthropic community, thanking them for their commitment to making a difference, and a brief overview of the work you are doing, is a great way to get your foot in the door and potentially connect with a new ally.

Foundations are not required to report to the CRA their program focus, primary giving interests, or detailed information regarding the grants they have awarded*

Although every registered charity and foundation in Canada must report annually to the CRA, there are several areas of reporting that are either voluntary or not available. For example, foundations can report their primary giving Interests as well as their new and ongoing programs; however, this is not required by the CRA. As a result, many foundations do not provide this information. In addition, Canadian foundations are not required and, in fact, have no means by which they can provide any details about the actual grants that they have awarded. Combine this with a 75% absence rate of foundation websites, and you are left with limited options in terms of understanding a foundation’s mission and funding interests.

Be not dismayed. An intuitive approach can solve this problem and perhaps provide a better insight into a foundation’s soul than these other means. Thankfully, foundations must report every grant they have ever awarded, including who they gave the grant to and the year in which it was distributed. Having access to these historical records enables charities to intuit the sectors and regions, as well as other valuable demographic details, that will tell its own tale about a foundation’s mission and giving interests. Grant Advance’s in-depth analysis of this data reaches back to 2004 and allows charities to create a meaningful profile of each foundation in order to determine which foundations they are most closely aligned with.

*based on CRA reporting averages since 2015