Gardening for Life!

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 as Parks Foundation Calgary in the budget that is part of your grant application.

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 grant.

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 year.

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 unclear.

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, jargon-free English.

Explain in a clear, brief, believable, consistent, constructive, respectful way the following:

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 neighbourhood.

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.