New Strategies to Increase
Presented at the OCASI Executive Director’s
November 2, 2010
Assumptions of the workshop
• Organization is interested in revenue growth over a
period of time
• Organization recognizes that growth is never a linear
• Organization is willing to work within existing limitations
• Organization is willing to explore new methods of
engagement with the community and non-profits to grow.
Sources of Revenue
• Governmental Contribution Agreements
- Federal funders
- Provincial funders
- Municipal funders
• Governmental Grants
• Private funders ( local and international)
- Traditional methods
- Fee for Service
- Social Enterprise
• What parameters can be used to classify
• What are some of the important features
of funding streams that we need to be
• How do funders inform the community
about available funding?
Parameters to Classify Funders
• Much of the funding comes through governmental
contributions or grants, so we have to pay attention to
what funders can support
• Parameters for classification
- mode of service ( counseling, community- development)
- a population ( e.g. youth, seniors)
- objective (settlement, violence prevention, volunteerism)
- length of funding ( project, long-term project, program)
• To maximize funding, projects should have well defined
(multiple if possible) services, target populations and
• What level of financial support and flexibility can we
expect and from who?
• Funders whose revenue derives from a larger base
have more money to give out- federal>province>
• Funders whose catchment areas cover wider catchment
areas are less flexible in the interests of fairness -
• With the exception of United Way, non-governmental
funders fund projects. Trillium is a long-term project
• The method of solicitation of proposals is very different-
some outreach the community vigorously, others are
more low-key in their announcements.
• Some are deadline based while others have
applications throughout the year.
• Some funders prefer that proposals be discussed pre-
submission- the more the interaction before proposal
submission, the higher the chances
• Budget wise, what should an “ideal”
program look like?
• How can one develop an “ideal” program?
• Can fundraising play any role in making a
program “ideal” financially?
Features of an “Ideal” Program
• What is “administrative expense”? -Should handle
administrative expense ( percentage wise or predefined
items) irrespective of definition
• Should balance itself out- i.e. Should recover costs i.e.
no contribution from the agency through fundraising
• For smooth functioning of a program, it is important to
have a diversified revenue base
• Combination of program and project based funding-
good from a cash flow point of view
Developing an ideal program
• Pick a successful program and see if it can be developed
in a new “community” through accessing project based
• If project is successful through seed funding, then return
to program funder for stabilization dollars?
• The advantages here are diversified funding base,
demonstrability of success and prospects for stabilization
• “Community”- could be different ethnospecific
communities or different geographical communities or any
What part can fundraising play?
• Ideally NO contribution to projects since it is needed to
balance agency budget (Sum total of program/project
• Social enterprise- offer an existing skill or product to
community members for a fee
• Traditional fundraising- Donations/event based
• Contracts from other organizations e.g. IT management
• Fundraising may need investment- can you find
investment money in the existing agency budget?.
Points to Ponder About
• 10-15% ( max) of the revenue of an agency should be in
project based funding
• Therefore, 85-90% of the funding comes through
program based funding
• Eakin report ( 2007) –”Ontario non-profits deliver $ 1.14
of service for every $ 1 of funding”
• Admin costs of an organization are in the 15-20% range
• An organization can work comfortably with no more than
a 10% rate of growth per year.
• Are there any interesting approaches to
• Can we do funding differently? Are there
any ideas to be tried out?
• Things to remember when developing
Some Interesting Approaches
• It is easier to get funded when there is less competition.
It is therefore important to identify situations where we
have better control of the competition.
• Ability to anticipate funding – the thrust of new programs
can be guessed from the political agendas of the
government of the day
• Funders like to see other funders involved. Chances of
getting funding improve after one funder has invested
Some Interesting Approaches
• Some populations are easier to find funding for- youth for
example are easier to fund than seniors. So, is it
possible to use well funded sector in the design of a
project to deliver services to an underfunded sector?
• Many foundations seem inaccessible from the
perspective of organizations working with newcomers. Is
it possible to partner with organizations that have
successfully applied and ask for advice/apply jointly?
Would Partnerships Help?
• Forming Partnerships with other organizations for joint
applications may help.
• It gives better control over competition and allows
organizations to concentrate on developing a realistic
budget as opposed to getting in the cheapest bid.
• It also helps prevent “turf-war” and results in a co-
• It partially addresses concerns of “over-subscribing to a
funder” and allows for development of agency capacity
Don’t forget …
• Chances improve based on demonstrability of success,
agency track record and capacity
• Strong Proposal Writing Skills are a must
• Organization must develop a strategic sense of what it
needs to do over the year so that it can develop
proposals and reinforce partnerships to be ready to
respond to proposals at short notice.
• There are always funding streams to be explored- some
funding streams change focus or are discontinued due to
lack of applications.