When do I need to start thinking about funding?
Right from the get go, start researching funding sources. It takes time to cultivate funding relationships. Connecting with a wide network of people and organizations early can help you develop and resource your program. A good place to start is researching who is funding similar programs elsewhere. Identifying Sustainable Funding for Guardian Watchman Programs is the story of how the Ha-ma-yas Stewardship Network on northern Vancouver Island researched funding opportunities for Guardian Watchman programs.
Many funding programs and organizations have pre-set funding cycles, with established deadlines for submitting applications (usually once or twice a year). Even after applying, it can take several more months before decisions are made and funding is distributed. Anticipating timelines and funding cycles with a calendar of funding deadlines may help you stay organized.
Writing and submitting a proposal can take a lot of time and effort. The section How can I be successful in my fundraising efforts? has tips and resources for proposal writing. Many applicants struggle with the requirements and demands of proposal writing and report-writing. This skill set does not come naturally to everyone and often falls on the desks of overextended program managers. Look for ways to share proposal writing with other programs – or consider recruiting a proposal writer to support multiple programs at once. You may also consider embedding your program activities in other proposals your community is developing, such as restoration work or cultural heritage studies.