A Canadian nonprofit needs money to thrive. If possible, a nonprofit’s main funding sources should be more stable and easier to access than periodic contributions from individuals and businesses, which have traditionally been the main sources of nonprofit grants in Canada. Whether you’re looking for initial seed donations to get started or your nonprofit has been established for a while and you’re looking to diversify funding avenues, consider some of these less-traditional sources of revenue:
- All of Canada’s provincial governments offer programs to start or expand local businesses. Some of these programs extend their definition of business to cover entrepreneurship projects, a category that includes nonprofits and social entrepreneurship. Grants can range from a one-time gift of $1,000 to continuing support in the low five-figure range. Requirements vary, so it’s necessary to do some research.
- The Royal Bank of Canada typically offers nonprofit grants to Canada-based charities. The bank adheres to strict funding requirements, and 80 percent of its charitable gifts are under $20,000.
- The Mixed Capital Opportunities Fund, funded by the Toronto Enterprise Fund, operates twice-annual seminars to educate Canadian nonprofits about the industry. Attendees are invited to submit business plans to apply for funding blocs that typically range from $10,000 to $30,000, disbursed half as a grant and half as a loan.
- If your nonprofit deals with First Nations issues, even tangentially, you may be eligible for a Heritage grant. These vary enormously by granting organization, which is usually a provincial or regional Heritage Society.
Gain an edge on the competition for limited grant funding by working with an experienced grant writer before you submit your applications. Consider hiring development staff to secure donations from your supporters and reach out to potential new donors. The channels you use for getting out the word on your nonprofit’s mission — such as social media or email newsletters — can also be effective ways to request monthly donations for ongoing financial support.