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CIRA Grants FAQ: what applicants need to know

By Caitlin Sears
Grants Coordinator

Interested in applying for a CIRA Net Good Grant? We know that navigating the application process can be tricky, and you probably have some queries. That’s why we’ve put together this FAQ to answer the most common questions we receive from potential applicants. Don’t see your question below? Reach out to us at [email protected]. And don’t forget—submit your application by 2 p.m. ET on April 10, 2024!

What is the reporting and payment schedule for organizations that are selected to receive a grant?

Successful applicants will receive an email from CIRA in July notifying them that their project has been selected. Once the recipient confirms they can deliver the project as proposed, they will be required to sign a contract and CIRA will release the funds in one lump sum payment. Recipients must keep CIRA apprised of any significant changes to the project budget or schedule and submit a final report (including a financial report) within three months of project completion. Read more about what happens after you receive a grant.

I work for a non-profit that is newly incorporated. Is it eligible to apply?

Yes, any organization incorporated as a not-for-profit is eligible to apply. Our Grants Evaluation Panel looks at the financial and project management track record of applicants as a way to assess the likelihood of project success. The expectation is that the applicant finds ways to demonstrate financial and project management capability and capacity within their application. If your organization is just recently incorporated, consider partnering with a more established eligible organization that takes lead responsibility for the project.

My project will impact multiple communities. Should I submit more than three letters of support from community members?

You are welcome to submit as many letters as you think will demonstrate support from the community members or stakeholders that will benefit from your project. Three letters of support are the minimum requirement.

If a project benefits a target audience, but does not involve their participation, is it still eligible?

Yes, your project could still be eligible for a grant. Ideally your application should demonstrate that you have involved the communities you are seeking to benefit in the project development and outcomes, and/or that you have an informed awareness of the community needs, such as research or consultation reports. Community support is worth 25% of your application score, so it’s a key aspect that the Grants Evaluation Panel will examine closely.

My organization received a grant last year. Can we apply again?

Yes, if the project is complete, you have submitted your final report, we have reviewed it and there are no outstanding issues.

What kind of proof of eligibility should an Indigenous community provide?

Indigenous communities have approached this application requirement in different ways. Sometimes First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples or their development corporations are incorporated as non-profits, and in that case, they have provided their non-profit incorporation documents. In other cases, historical documents like a government treaty have been used. You may also provide documents from federal or provincial governments recognizing the nation, or documentation representing designation as a qualified donnee. We understand that proof of eligibility may be different in each case, and we are happy to help answer any questions. Please reach out to [email protected].

How long should my project last?

Projects should last for about one year or less. Since applicants will be notified about the status of their application in July, you should plan for your project to start no earlier than July 2024.

A January to December 2024 organizational operating budget is required as part of the application, but my organization has a different fiscal year. Does our board have to make and approve a new budget instead?

We require every non-profit, registered charity or Indigenous community to provide a complete January to December 2024 operating budget to demonstrate that they have a plan for their organization’s revenue and expenses for the calendar year. If you don’t have a board-approved budget for all of 2024 (for example, if your organization’s fiscal year is April-March) it’s fine to provide the approved budget you do have, alongside projected revenue and expenses for the time period not covered by your current operating budget. You can note this on the documents you provide.

I have a great idea for a project but I’m not sure if it would be eligible for a grant. Is there someone I can ask?

Start by closely reviewing our website and recent projects to get a sense of the types of projects we are looking to fund. If you need further guidance, you can reach out to [email protected]. Keep in mind that CIRA staff are only here to assess the eligibility of an application and have no influence over which organizations receive a grant.

About the author
Caitlin Sears

Caitlin is part of CIRA’s Net Good team as Grants Coordinator. Her background is in the charitable sector, and she is passionate about funding digital equity.