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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Opportunity Watch: Funding Atlantic Canada

Hey Maritimers, sharpen your pencils.  This week’s Opportunity Watch is filled with granting deadlines specifically for charities located in Atlantic Canada!

The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia has distributed almost $2m in grants since 2006 to community organizations with a mental health focus.  The Provincial Grants Program supports organizations wishing to undertake programs or services that will benefit the mental health of individuals throughout Nova Scotia.  Examples of eligible Provincial Grant projects include advocacy and anti-stigma programs, educational opportunities and pilot or demonstration projects.  Full details for their next granting cycle will be posted in January 2014 but visit their website for full details on the 2013 granting program.   If you’re a Fundtracker user, this is a perfect time to try out the bookmarking or email reminder features!

Small Change Fund (SCF) is looking for six grassroots sustainability projects based in Atlantic Canada, which focus on the connection between people, land and water. The chosen projects will be awarded up to $2,500 for their project, and will be featured on SCF’s crowd-funding platform to enable the projects to raise up to $5,000 each.  The Small Change Fund is a new model in fundraising and granting at the grassroots level. Donations are pooled and donors can select the project they want to support. Interested?  Visit their blog for details and apply before September 9th.

The VOCM Cares Foundation is a public foundation mandated to support the health, education and safety of those living in Newfoundland and Labrador.   Since its inception, the organization has grown to become the focal point for the VOCM radio network’s community involvement and has donated over $7m to community initiatives.  The Foundation only supports program or project costs, not operational expenses. Registered charities should visit their website for more details.  Applications are reviewed three times a year and the next granting deadline is September 27th.  Previous recipients include Kids Help Phone and the Alzheimer’s Society of Newfoundland & Labrador.

We identified all of these opportunities using Fundtracker’s advanced search filters.  If you’re not a subscriber, why not ask for a free demo?  Give us a call at 1-888-406-2524 and we’ll show you how easy it is to identify prospective funders for your non-profit organization.

 

 

Opportunity Watch: Corporations, corporations, corporations

If you don’t have access to a tool like Fundtracker, it can sometimes be hard to decipher exactly what types of initiatives and projects a corporation funds. That’s one of the reasons why we chose to conduct an informal survey on clarity & corporate giving websites.  Continuing on that theme, in this week’s Opportunity Watch, we’re sharing granting opportunities from a few corporations that have easy-to-navigate giving sections.

Based in Moncton, New Brunswick, Assumption Life is a Canadian financial services company that provides insurance, retirement planning and other related products to its clientele.  A long-time supporter of the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute, they have a preference for supporting community initiatives in the health and education arenas. They consider sponsorship and donation requests throughout the year, with some guidelines. All requests for more than $2000 must be submitted by August 31st annually for budget planning reasons, whereas smaller requests may be submitted throughout the year.  Requests that are event-based in nature must be submitted at least three months in advance of the event.  For more details and an application form, visit their website.

Founded over 70 years ago, Pacific Blue Cross is a British Columbia-based benefits provider.  With subsidiary BC Life, Pacific Blue Cross provides health, dental, life, disability and travel coverage for approximately 1.5 million British Columbians through employee group plans and through individual plans for those who do not have coverage with their employer.  Their Community Connection Health Foundation primarily supports mental health initiatives.  Applications for funding are reviewed 4 to 5 times per year.   Registered Canadian charities with a presence in British Columbia and a focus on chronic illness or mental health should apply online no later than October 29th.

A provider of credit card, travel services and more, American Express Canada believes in supporting diverse communities in ways that enhance the company’s reputation with employees, customers, merchants, business partners and other stakeholders.   They support Canadian not-for-profit organizations that preserve and enrich a diverse cultural heritage, develop new leaders or encourage community service where its employees and customers live and work.  Previous recipients of support include the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Toronto Children’s Breakfast Club.  Applications are reviewed year-round.  Review their community investment pages for more details.

That’s it for this week, fundraising folk!   If you want to identify more corporate prospects – or need help digging through corporate giving websites – why not sign up for a free Fundtracker demo?  Give us a call at 1-888-406-2524 and we’ll introduce you to one of our fundraising advisors.

 

An informal look at clarity on corporate giving websites

Corporate giving is an essential part of any balanced fundraising program. Once a corporate prospect is identified, many fundraisers begin with a review of the giving section of the company’s website.  Unfortunately, it can be very frustrating when the website is difficult to navigate or poorly designed. To figure out how easy it is to work with some of these sites, we took a random sample of 90 Canadian corporations and tried to navigate the giving section of their websites.

The scale we used to rank the quality of information is not scientific, it is simply the number of mouse clicks it took to get to the corporation’s granting focus page. If the granting focus was specific, highlighting the areas within each sector they fund (and, ideally, giving examples of past projects), the corporation got a check mark. If their answers were vague, they didn’t.

The accompanying map is interactive; just click on the bubbles to see the corporation’s name, location and the number of clicks it took to find their granting page. A corporation can be located anywhere, which is why the map identifies a dot in Oceania – the MacQuarie Group Foundation is based out of New South Wales, though it operates in Canada.

Of the 90 corporations we looked at, only 33 had a clearly defined granting focus. That means that just over a third of these corporations had information on their website that extended beyond a vague statement on how they support their community, without actually specifying what that means for them. Further, of these 33, only a small handful included additional information that would be useful for those applying for grants, like examples of past projects they had funded, including the amount that had been given to organizations.

Corporations that had a clearly defined focus on their website vs those who did not

Of course, the few corporations that provided this much information are clearly in the minority.  What is more often found is a relatively vague statement about what the corporation funds, leaving it up to the organization to figure out if they fit the criteria.

Perhaps the most notable is the fact that, for the most part, the larger corporations did not have more clearly defined granting focuses, nor did they have websites that were necessarily easier to navigate. Large corporations like the Labatt Brewery or Colliers International, despite their scope, offer little in the way of a specific granting focus, though their granting pages can both be found in only two clicks.

Many of the corporations we looked at did not provide specific granting focuses. Unfortunately, this means that the organizations applying for grants may be doing so based on relatively ambiguous criteria, rather than clearly outlined points.

Even with the most difficult to navigate websites, it only took a maximum of five clicks to find the granting focus page, which is still a relatively low number.

At the end of the day, the most important thing we learned from this experiment was that a simple website is probably the most effective. Applying for grants can be time-intensive, and having to navigate a complicated corporate giving website on top of everything else only exacerbates things.

Finding funding can be tricky, but Fundtracker can help! Give us a call at 1-888-406-2524 for a free tour – we’ll show you how Fundtracker contains all the data you need to expand your corporate giving program.  You can also check out a few of our other blog posts on corporations, like this one where we break down how to approach corporations for funding.

Opportunity Watch: Summer smorgasborg

Members of Team Ajah have been busy developing, researching, getting married and vacationing over the last few weeks but we’re back!  In this week’s Opportunity Watch, we’re sharing a random selection of funding opportunities our researchers have identified lately.  While they may not fit in any one particular category, they are certainly worth investigating.

As the name suggests, CLICK (Contributing to Lives of Inner City Kids) is dedicated to supporting organizations that work with the children and youth in Vancouver’s poorest neighborhoods.  Funding has previously been allocated to after school programs, sports camps, family literacy and healthy eating programs.  Registered non-profits working with inner city youth in Vancouver should apply no later than October 31st to be considered for the fall cycle of funding.  Visit their website for an application form and more details.

Prosperity One is a community bank and credit union with six branches active in the Halton region of Ontario.  Each branch in involved in their local community and the Prosperity One Community Development Fund  provides support to organizations that are able to demonstrate a genuine need.  The current granting window closes October 31st with decisions rendered by December 1st.  More details as well as the application form are found online.

Founded in 1991, the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation’s (VKRF) environmental mission is to support the transition to a more environmentally resilient, stable, and sustainable planet.  The urgency of dealing with climate change, unsustainable consumption, and loss of biodiversity are the overall themes for the Foundation.  While based in the US, any project funded must be multinational in scope.  The Foundations favours projects that use a systems approach to achieve change; link policy, advocacy, and practical solution; have international significance and perspective and are based on original thinking and creative ideas.  Their detailed website provides more information on the types of projects they tend to fund.  Every year VKRF has two open submission deadlines for a Letter of Inquiry (LOI). The next deadline is September 4, 2013.

That’s it for this week, folks!  If we haven’t mentioned a granting opportunity that you can apply for, don’t despair.  Sign up for a free Fundtracker demo and we’ll show you just how easy it is to identify new sources of funding for your non-profit.  Give us a call at 1-888-406-2524 today.

 

 

 

 

Beyond prospect research: Ajah supports the local Python community

Mathieu Leduc-Hamel is a senior developer at Ajah and the president of Montréal-Python: a community of local developers working in the Python programing language. Python is also what we use to develop Fundtracker.  Every 4-6 weeks members of Montréal-Python meet for mini-conferences, where they share tutorials, successes, and new directions for using this versatile language.  In early July, the group’s organizers met in the Ajah office to work on some big plans for the coming year (scroll down to the see a photo of the gang at work). We caught up with Mathieu this week to share the exciting news from the local developer community.

Thanks for being here Mathieu! You’re known around the office as a guy who has a real passion for Python. We develop in it here at Ajah, and you volunteer as the president of Montréal-Python. What is it about this language that inspires so much interest?

Python is all about readability and power. It’s written mostly in English, which makes it very accessible, clear and simple to read (though you do have to use a clear syntax). But Python is more than a just language, it is also a large community, which is why I’ve gotten so involved. It’s very fun. There are always people out there to help you or explain how they’ve managed to fixed an issue that you’ve both encountered.

Through your work with Montréal-Python you foster a robust community between professional developers and hobbyists alike. What goes on at your meetups, and what makes this an important resource for local Python fans?

Each month we gather at the same place and exchange news about what we’ve discovered or accomplished. We start with “lighting talks” which are very short presentations of about 5 minutes. This opportunity helps newcomers gain experience at presenting in front of an audience, and are a lot of fun because anyone could prepare one. It doesn’t take much time and you don’t have to be an expert. After that, we usually have a longer presentation of 20-45 minutes from a senior developer. Then we go to a local brewer for beers- this is definitely also part of the meeting because people are often more open and talkative in a less formal atmosphere.

What have been some of the more interesting projects you’ve seen grow over the course of these meetings?

One presentation that stands out for me is Olivier Belanger‘s use of Python for music creation. It’s always very surprising when you find someone who is using Python to do something completely new and that you would never have thought it possible. Another pleasure has been to invite people from other communities to share what they’ve been working on, such as Réseau Libre‘s project to build decentralized community wireless networks or Ajah’s own Michael Lenczner talking about Hacking Corruption.

What have you been working on yourself?

In addition to my work with Ajah’s Fundtracker, I’ve also used Python to build L’Agenda du libre du Québec, a calendar of Open Source and free software events in Quebec. I also participate in Open Source Sprints and Hackathons. Right now I’m trying to fix some bugs in PiTiVi, a free and open source video editor written in Python.

What’s the role of Open Source and Open Data projects in the community?

It’s very important – promoting Open Source is part of the mission of Montreal-Python because the language and the platform itself are Open Source and built by the larger community.

While Open Data is not officially part of the Python community, we share the same idea of the open and free circulation of ideas and tools. This is quite important for us, which is why you’ll find us at events like last year’s Hackathon Against Corruption. There is also a lot of projects around Open Data in Python, such as Open Parliament: a website and an API that makes it easy for Canadians to find comprehensive information on bills, MPs, and votes in parliament.

In 2014 and 2015 Montréal will be hosting PyCon, a 9-day international conference of Python users, designers, and companies. This is the first time this conference has ever been hosted in Canada, and it’s sure to bring a lot of attention and energy to local Python businesses and developers. What have been some of the challenges in organizing this feat, and what do you think will be some of the rewards?

First, our friends from the Toronto Python and Django usergroups decided to launch an initial conference, PyCon Canada, which is smaller and allows Canadians to prepare themselves for the big PyCon in Montreal. Secondly, many of us got involved with PyCon right away, helping with the 2012 and 2013 conferences in order to prepare ourselves for next year. We’re starting to really feel its approach now, in terms of logistics, but also in the engagement from new people who are starting to be more and more interested in programming their own tools and software. We are organizing workshops to teach programming and the word keeps spreading. PyCon is a big machine, a huge undertaking. We’ve decided to concentrate at first on making sure that our own community will be very active and that all sorts of people in Montreal will have fun at PyCon. Since we won the bid 2 years ago, we’ve done a lot to open our community to the world.

What are you most looking forward to?

I think receiving all these people in Montreal will be a bit like receiving people in your own home. I’m so excited that the conference will be downtown Montreal and I have no double that the talks and the presentations there will be as exciting as ever. It will be great to see all the other events taking place everywhere around the venue. I think the neighbourhood around the Palais des Congrès will be called Python Town during those 9 days!

Thanks so much for your time Mathieu – we’re all looking forward to visiting Python Town next year!

 

PyCon and PyCon Canada organizers meeting at Ajah to discuss the path ahead. From left to right: Jean-Philippe Caissy, Mathieu Leduc-Hamel, David Wolever, Diana Clarke, Marianne Corvellec, Éric Araujo, and Julia Evans.

By |August 6th, 2013|About Ajah|0 Comments|

Opportunity Watch: Youth Recruitment

This week we focused on the challenges of engaging today’s youth in philanthropy (and conversely, engaging today’s philanthropy with youth). For this week’s Opportunity Watch we thought we’d apply some of these lessons by highlighting funding opportunities that can offset the cost of hiring young people, bringing fresh ideas and perspectives into your organization while fostering the next generation of non-profit movers and shakers.

Non-profits and smaller private sector businesses across the country can apply for the Canada Summer Jobs wage subsidy to help offset the costs of hiring full-time students over the summer. Up to 50% of the provincial minimum wage may be subsidized. Applications are accepted online from December 2013-January 2014 for the coming summer.

Young Canada Works is another wage subsidy program to consider, facilitating summer jobs and year-round paid internships. It provides support for positions offered to students, aboriginal youth, and recent graduates in the heritage sector or in workplaces requiring the use of both official languages. As much as 25-75% of a young employee’s wages could be covered. Summer applications are due February 1st while the deadline for internship positions vary based on the delivery organization of the YCW funding. Applications are available online – just be prepared for a long registration process.

While Albertan non-profits are still mourning the loss of the STEP grant, its recent Serving Communities Internship Program provides a something of an alternative, offering $1,000 bursaries to Albertan students interning with Albertan charitable organizations. Registered non-profits with an local or provincial mandate can register online and advertise for positions opening on or after August 1st.

You can keep track of these summer grant deadlines with Fundtracker. Its bookmark and email alert tools help you plan for opportunities throughout the year. Call us at 1-888-406-2524 for a free tour of its many features and funders.