Grant Application Considerations


The greater the extent to which these factors can be addressed, the stronger the proposal becomes in truly impacting economic or community development.


In general, important questions to ask before you start completing most applications:


  • How would you briefly describe your project?
  • What is the need and priority? How do you know?
  • What are the objectives and benefits? Can benefits be measured?
  • Is this a one-time project or does it have long term sustainability?
  • Do you have the resources, support, team, and time to do the project?
  • What activities make up the work plan required to reach the goal?
  • What budget is required to properly complete your work plan?
  • Are there statistics or background documents supporting the need?


There are a number of considerations in providing tax dollars or otherwise to programs and activities which contribute positively to the local economy.


  • How does this promote and encourage development of the local economy?
  • Does this identify a viable economic opportunity and support marketing it?
  • With respect to economic growth, are constraints to development identified?
  • Are there already established local groups or businesses this would compete with?
  • Funds or allocation per applicant can be limited – Were other financial programs considered?
  • Is there support from businesses or industry for this?
  • What level of project oversight, qualification, and remuneration will be provided?
  • How would you measure your results or outcomes?


For example, here are the questions used by RDCK’s Area A Economic Development Commission


  1. What is the purpose and goal(s) of the project?
  2. How does this support and help to develop the local economy or add value to the community?
  3. Does this compete with already established groups or businesses?
  4. How many people will be involved? Will there be a fee charged to those people?


The above economic development questions can also be used where programs and activities are intended to contribute positively to the development of local communities.


  • E.G. How does this contribute to the community by adding value?
  • E.G. Is there support from the local community for this?
  • E.G. Is there a positive impact for youth, seniors, or other community sectors?
  • … and so on


South Kootenay Lake Community Service Society (SKLCSS) is a non-profit organization operating on the east Shore of Kootenay Lake. SKLCSS fosters community and economic stability and growth primarily by acting as a resource centre and responsible umbrella agency administering grant or community funded programs and projects. As a community based society they also sponsor value add activities such as community or business forums or workshops, and work with other local groups such as, Invest Kootenay, Kootenay Lake Chamber of Commerce, Crawford Bay School, and the East Shore Learning Hub.

Grant Process and Project Life Cycle – 5 Phases

This document is based on Community Connections past involvement with grant providers and application submissions, administering funds for projects and programs, and supporting project teams, committees and councils as they implement and complete their projects. It is not meant to be a comprehensive overview, but rather an easy read to provide insight on our experiences of typical grant related activities and subsequent projects and to highlight the value Community Connections can bring to the entire process.


If Community Connections (CC) has been approached, the discussion often starts between Administration and the group or individual considering applying for a grant. A meeting of this nature is meant to vet the idea, discuss potential funding needs, review the typical grant application process, and relay the benefits of using Community Connections for the grant project or program. Community Connections charges an administrative fee, which becomes part of the project budget, for its role in assisting with the grant process and project life cycle. Often, individuals or smaller groups don’t qualify for grants because they don’t necessarily have a non-profit structure or the creditability expected in place. Credibility often comes with being a registered society, having experience and a track record, a Board of Directors, and support staff. Structure comes in the way of things like liability insurance, public transparency, reporting capability, acceptable accounting, and workers compensation coverage. In part, Community Connections was created to act as an umbrella society which has these capabilities and can therefore enable local individuals and groups to apply for grants and run projects and programs with integrity and responsibility.

Services CC may provide at this point in the grant development process are:

  • Discuss potential funding sources we have experience or familiarity with
  • Provide advice based on the nature or requirements of the project concept
  • Provide the names/contact information of funding source representatives and/or individuals who have done similar projects or applications
  • Contact fund providers for Q&A and feasibility where we have a relationship

One of the challenging tasks at this point in the process is finding funding source(s) which best fit the idea or concept project. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of organizations that can offer funding. The task of researching these to determine an appropriate fit requires a lot of work. Much can be done by browsing the internet. Regardless of the source, one needs to be willing to spend time working through the information provided to understand the objectives, qualification criteria, guidelines of each grant offering, and to truly determine whether applying to a particular organization is a good fit for the idea.


Regardless of whether the individual or group chooses to work with Community Connections or not, it makes the most sense for those who have the background, vision, and passion for the idea to complete the key content of the grant application. If Community Connections is on the team then there will be information relative to CC’s mission, organization, experience, and background that CC will complete on the application form. If CC is not part of the team, this information would be provided by the grant applicant. Prior to final submission of the application to the funding body, information gathering, planning, understanding capabilities and resources needed, writing the actual grant application, and review and obtaining feedback, may all need to be done for a complete application. The applications and processes will be different from each funding body. Within any funding body there can be a number of different grant program offerings which in all likelihood will have different forms between them. It is very important to properly follow guidelines and processes, meet deadlines provided by the funding bodies, and in this way ensure grant applications are not rejected.

Important questions to ask before you start completing an application:

  • How would you briefly describe your project?
  • What is the need and priority? How do you know?
  • What are the objectives and benefits? Can benefits be measured?
  • Is this a one-time project or does it have long term sustainability?
  • Do you have the resources, support, team, and time to do the project?
  • What activities make up the work plan required to reach the goal?
  • What budget is required to properly complete your work plan?
  • Are there statistics or background documents supporting the need?

Proven success criteria for applications include identifying your team and partners, those who will play leadership roles, and those who will provide support and take responsibility for the project. As mentioned, Community Connections can act as the umbrella society to assist with grant submission, offer administrative support regarding funds as your project is conducted, and provide some amount of project oversight. Having said that, the ultimate project ownership and responsibility belongs to the project team, committee, or council, and Community Connection’s role is primarily as funding administrator unless other responsibilities are agreed to.

For any organization or group, grant providers can ask for your organization programs, services, structure, membership information, directors list or support groups, and recent audited or current financial statements and budgets. This is something to be aware of, have organized, and be prepared to provide.

Be sure to spend ample time developing your work plan and budget. This is where items can be overlooked which will later adversely impact your project and finances. Examples of these are tasks and costs related to advertising, administration of funds, insurance needs, contracted skills, travel, project contingency, workers compensation allowance, and other. Make accurate estimates and obtain quotes where ever possible. It may be challenging to develop an elaborate work plan at an early stage but even a high level plan with as much detail as possible can be of great value. In addition to catching overlooked items mentioned, it may help to identify “in-kind” work components, where multiple fund sources can be used, opportunities to fund raise, or additional skills that are needed.

Services CC may provide at this point in the grant application build process are:

  • Include Community Connections on the application as the sponsoring organization
  • Indicate that Community Connections will be administering the funds and providing support
  • Provide samples used on other grant submissions and projects
    • grant applications, project budgets, agreements, invoices, financial & summary reports
  • Hints and tips on completing a grant application
  • Review or provide feedback on the grant application (by CC Admin and/or CC Board)
  • Interface with grant funders needing clarity on the grant application

 Grant Funders will establish deadlines for the submission of grant applications. In many cases there will be more than one deadline during any given year. It is important to stay ahead of and meet these deadlines or a grant application can be automatically rejected. Often the grant application will be received by a first point of contact and upon review they may request more information, clarity, revisions, and have questions for the grant applicant. Many grant funders will allow grant applicants to discuss their grant project and progress prior to submission. This can be most helpful in building a positive relationship with a grant funder and ensuring the grant application is on the right track. Once this level of review is complete the grant will be put before a grant reviewing body or group for review, discussion, and to make a decision on whether to accept or reject the application. If the grant application is rejected the grant applicant is usually notified. If the application is accepted the grant applicant will be notified and the grant funder will process the necessary paperwork and in some situations setup an agreement. This would typically be followed by a cheque to the organization named on the grant application. This whole process can take from weeks to months to complete depending on the grant application and organization.


If the grant application has been completed without using Community Connections as the sponsoring society, then it is possible an agreement will be setup with the grant applicant individual or group. There will be guidelines to follow with the grant funder with respect to project reviews, reporting, accounting, communication, documentation, and closing out a project. It is important to ensure you maintain accurate records, a good working relationship with the grant funder, are familiar with the requirements of their guidelines, and meet expectations to their satisfaction.

If the grant application has been completed using Community Connections, then Community Connections signs the agreement with the grant provider. A subsequent agreement is then signed between Community Connections and the Project Leaders of the project. The agreement between CC and the Project Leader(s) outlines contact information, dates, project specifics and timing, monies involved, funding sources, major activities and deliverables, fund receipt and disbursement process, expectations and sponsorship requirements, and special conditions. This is signed by CC and the project leaders(s). If grant cheque(s) have been received, they will be deposited in the bank by CC and accounted for in the CC project bookkeeping system.

Services CC can provide at this point in the grant process and project set up are:

  • Fine tune the work plan and budget together and identify needed actions
  • Establish an agreement between Community Connections and the Project Leaders(s)
  • Use the work plan and budget to set up a budget/revenues/expenses project tracking system
  • Establish milestones/notification of required interim or final reports

Projects can be various shapes and sizes, from the small and straightforward to large and complex. Planning the various stages and activities of the project is an important task that should involve others where it makes sense. Often, working backwards from the end aim, identifying all the things that need to be put in place and done, in reverse order, can help. When you lack experience of the topic, involve others to brainstorm, gather information and points, identify additional factors or experience of others, explore ideas, or innovate. Project planning is a question of putting points in the right order, and establishing relationships and links. Some parts of the project will need other parts of the project to be completed before they can begin or progress. A good project plan will be a useful tool in running your project effectively and working with your team and others.

Project management and implementation involves planning, organizing, and managing the steps in a project plan required to finish the objective that has been set out. This is necessary in order to save money, time, and effort in executing the project. Many techniques are used but key elements are the work or project plan describing steps or phases, ensuring a support team and resources are in place, running efficient meetings, understanding what is critical, and completing tasks in a timely fashion.

Services CC can provide at this point in the project implementation process are:

  • Awareness in the community of the project and its objectives
  • Funding administration
    • Banking, receipt of funds, payment of expenses, tracking revenue & expenses
  • Assist with interim reporting
    • E.g. meetings/email; budget versus actual; status of activities
  • Assist with communications
    • E.g. provide up-to date project financial status at any time via email
    • E.g. attend meetings or discussion with team or fund providers
  • Assist with brainstorming, plan re-work, or issues that may arise during implementation

The end of the project is a time to determine what has worked well, what has not, and close out items with beneficiaries, the project team and volunteers, and sponsors. At the end of your project it may be useful to have review(s) with key groups or individuals. This is the opportunity to ensure everyone understands what has taken place and why. This is a time to reflect on any inadequacies or mistakes positively, objectively, and without allocating blame, as well as accept successes gratefully and realistically. From these review(s) it is suggested to write a summary report which could be used publicly. Sponsors often require specific reports which review the project and its outcomes, and provide a financial overview. If there are several sponsors then more or different reports may be required. These reports present the opportunity to make observations and recommendations, follow up on possible outstanding issues, and make notes on suggestions for a ‘next’ or ‘repeat’ event. All of these activities contribute to properly closing out the project, as well as build confidence and future support among fund providers and all those who have supported the project from inception to completion.

Services CC can provide at this point in the project closure process are:

  • Assist in putting together the summary report(s) of the project
    • i.e. project description, timing, ownership, results, outcomes, key documents
  • Assist in final reporting required by fund provider(s)
    • i.e. meetings, custom report(s), financial report(s), returning funds if required
  • Distribution and filing of final documents
    • E.g. to project leaders(s)/team, funder(s), CC Board

Community Connections remains committed to supporting the grants and projects it sponsors and is always open to making things better. If you have experiences we can learn from that can be incorporated into our grant process and project life cycle overview, please contact us at or call us at 250-227-9218 x 5505.

Thank You from East Shore Community Connections