Preparing Successful Grant Applications
Community garden teams are usually an informal group of
residents collaborating with their community association.
Community associations are registered non-profit societies but
generally are not a federally registered charity. Only a federally
registered charity can issue tax receipts for donations for
projects within specific guidelines.
Many funding organizations give grants only to federally
registered charities or require a fiscal agent to act in
conjunction with the not-for-profit society. Parks Foundation
Calgary can act as a fiscal agent for an informal garden
group for a fee. Include the fees to pay a fiscal agent such
Foundation Calgary in the budget that is part of your grant
In putting together funding applications for the garden:
1. Carefully read the organization's web site in order to
understand the kinds of projects they fund.
2. Identify if this funding organization only gives grants
to federally registered charities.
3. Find out the type of projects they fund, the geographic
region covered, the amount of grants given and whether your garden
group must locate matching funds in order to obtain the
4. Find out if our community association already has a grant
application going forward with this funder. This will eliminate the
possibility of the garden team applying for this grant in this
5. Contact the funder to discuss the idea of applying before
you spend time developing a proposal. Most government or
not-for-profit granting groups are happy to talk with you to
confirm whether grants are still available and whether your project
would be considered.
6. Check the application deadline dates.
7. Understand the way they want proposals prepared.
8. Ask a resident not involved with preparing the funding
proposal to proof read it to find any sections that are
9. Agree as a garden team who will complete the reports
needed once a grant is successfully obtained.
10. Make the proposal easy to read, concise and in plain,
Explain in a clear, brief, believable,
consistent, constructive, respectful way the
1. Who you are and how you are making things happen.
2. The community need for a garden and the anticipated
results of funding.
3. The desired way to create a positive change in your
4. What the desired impact is on the neighbourhood and how
it can be measured (what will change because of the grant).
5. Who the garden group is collaborating with already.
6. How a community gardening project builds on what has
been done before to make a friendlier neighbourhood.
7. List of actions (what the garden group is trying to do
to create the desired result).
8. Clearly present the budget showing what the grant will
pay for and what are donations in-kind already secured. Figures
must be realistic and relate to the actions outlined.
9. List the anticipated results if their funding is received
and show how results can be measured and reported.
10. Use the computer's spell check and grammar check software.
11. Contact the funding organization with a thank-you note if you
are successful in gaining a grant.
12. Send photos of the project underway.
13. If you are not successful in gaining a grant, politely ask
what the reasons were so that the garden group can learn for the
next grant application.