For many nonprofits, grant applications are both the bane and the bread and butter of their existence. Not sure where to start? Feel overwhelmed at the very thought? Your partners at Vendere Group have done some of the legwork for you to make the next steps easier and help you find the right funding for your organization.
First things first: there are several types of grants out there. Your organization may not be eligible for all (or any) of them. In this article, we’ll be focusing on three sources of funding that may be relevant to your nonprofit or association.
Tax Credit for Investment and Innovation (Code 109) - Quebec
The Quebec tax credit applicable to investment and innovation corresponding to Code 109 (Class 12 and 50 as defined in the Regulation Respecting the Taxation Act) can be a very attractive funding option. It may be used, among other things, to acquire management software or the hardware required to process information. Note, however, that eligibility is limited to organizations that have an establishment in Quebec.
Funding to boost growth and productivity
This federal initiative aims to promote business innovation, productivity and growth, while stimulating the Quebec economy. Businesses at any stage of their development are welcome to apply. Financial support is provided under the REGI (Regional Economic Growth through Innovation) national funding program.
Funded activities include those that use new technologies or new production processes to increase productivity, production capacity or innovation.
Commercialization and marketing development projects are also covered under this funding.
Other examples of eligible activities are rolling out an enterprise resource planning system or hiring specialized human resources. Manufacturing, food processing, IT and life sciences companies are the main targets of business scale-up and productivity funding through the REGI program. Note that nonprofits are eligible for non-repayable financial assistance of up to 90% of authorized operating costs and up to 50% of capital costs.
Emploi-Québec workforce training measure
This initiative is designed to help upskill employees who might otherwise be at risk of losing their job. It provides support for vocational, technical and other training programs to enhance your employees’ performance and make your business more productive. In other words: a win-win!
To be eligible, you must be a private business or business group, a municipal administration, a band council or community, a nonprofit, a co-op, self-employed or a self-employed group, or another type of employer other than a public-sector or political organization.
There are specific conditions in place for each type of funding. Please see the links provided to determine whether you are eligible.
5 tips on how to make the grant application process easier, happier — and more successful
1. Put one person in charge
If your association is on the lookout for sources of funding, sifting through the programs we’ve presented here, and other available options, can seem daunting at first glance. And knowing that funds are in short supply these days, you are probably considering casting a wide net and applying for as many grants as you can find.
But writing a funding application is no easy task. The person you choose should be an excellent communicator with a keen eye for detail. They have to be comfortable reaching out to people on the phone in addition to being adept at using a variety of electronic tools. They’ll also need to be tactful and patient. But, ultimately, grant writing is an important strategic task and one that can be very rewarding in many respects. It’s best to have one person — either an employee or a volunteer — take care of this responsibility, rather than delegate it to a group. A dedicated resource also makes it easier to be consistent in your grant-writing style and develop more effective strategies to reach out to a wide number of grantmakers.
The number-one job of the person in charge of funding applications is to promote your association and/or the project you are seeking funding for. A word to the wise: lean heavily on the innovative nature of what you do. The more interest you drum up, the better your chances of being awarded funding!
2. Keep in the loop
Building connections is just as important locally as it is regionally or nationally. Setting up Google Alerts for keywords like financial assistance, grants, funding opportunities, granting applications and grant writing can be a good way to keep your finger on the pulse of this constantly changing community. You may also want to follow the social media pages of specific granting organizations to stay informed of their latest funding-related news. Likewise, following and actively staying in touch with the politicians for your constituency is a great networking strategy, as is keeping a close eye on local and regional news.
3. Remember there are two approaches to preparing a grant application
The first is the traditional approach required by most public-sector bodies: filling out a stand form a standard form provided by the granting organization and providing a description of all the important elements in the spaces provided. This generally includes information such as an overview of your organization and its structure, your annual operating budget, and a description of the activities you are looking to fund along with the corresponding costs.
The second is often used by the private sector. The focus here is on promoting your project, identifying the features that make it stand out and defining its added value. It’s a great opportunity refine your project pitch! Your application will be built around the overall context, the current problem you are hoping to address, a description of the project and who it will impact, and key facts and figures that make people stand up and take notice. For this approach, the more detailed you can be, the better. Include videos, financials and accounting reports specific to your project, aspirational statements about how the funding will be used, and go from there.
4. Know your audience
When you’re writing your proposal, be sure to keep in mind the people who will be reading it. If it is for public-sector funding, the potential amounts will likely be greater, so you may want to incorporate more financial information and details about how the funds will be allocated. That will definitely resonate more with those holding the purse strings than a narrative style.
For private grants, however, you might want to embrace more of a storytelling format: focus on your organization’s profile, the impact you have on the people and businesses you serve, and the connections you have with the communities where you operate.
5. Pick the right software to help you manage your association or nonprofit
Once your grant proposal has been given the thumbs-up, it’s time to put the money to good use and acquire an effective member management solution for your nonprofit organization. You can use the Membri 365 cloud solution, powered by Microsoft 365, to automate key work tasks, for example, so you can focus on more strategic matters.
You may not be aware that nonprofits are eligible for special pricing for Microsoft licenses. However, you have to make sure you meet Microsoft’s eligibility criteria for nonprofit status and complete the required registration. Additional information is available here.
If you’d like to find out more, feel free to arrange a demo with our team. We’d be happy to go over the various elements you need to factor in so you can acquire a time-, money- and sanity-saving member management solution for your nonprofit or association.
Want to discuss your project with one of our representatives?