Raise Funds

You will need money to effectively carry out your campaign, but the amount needed can vary greatly from group to group. Try to estimate how much money you think you’ll need for your campaign, but be realistic about your budget and how much money you think you can raise. Don’t let a lack of money stop you—usually a little bit of cash and a lot of people power is just as effective as a lot of cash.

If your group has adequate time to mount an effective campaign against the establishment of a factory farm, access to money will play a major role. You will require funds for activities such as:

  • town hall meetings
  • public events
  • tabloids/posters/visual aids
  • legal fees
  • hiring experts (or covering traveling and accommodation costs)
  • environmental monitoring
  • radio/television/newspaper advertisements

Short term funding

If your group has limited time to prevent the permitting of a factory farm, raising money may not be necessary, or if it is, will need to be done informally as you go along.

It is best to assign an individual in your group the responsibility of fundraising chair. This person should be well known and respected in your community and not afraid to ask directly for a donation. Given that you have limited time to influence decision-makers, asking for money directly is the quickest way to raise money. It is important that your group establishes a comprehensive list of names (family, close friends, colleagues at work, members of similar organizations, community leaders and philanthropists) to approach and that the fundraising chair follows through. If you hold a community event, be sure to pass the hat around for donations.

Long term funding

If your have a longer period to organize, you may want to set up a fundraising committee and develop a campaign budget. Once you have established what items you wish to spend money on, there are many innovative ways to raise money, such as:

  • bingos, auctions, garage sales, dinners, bake sales, benefits/socials
  • create and sell items such as t-shirts, pins, and coffee mugs
  • create a comprehensive database and mailing list and send out a letter of appeal to those who would support your cause
  • door to door canvass
  • an information/campaign tabloid with a cut-out box which allows the reader to easily send money in support of your campaign

A couple of communities recorded a song about factory farming—one had their song go to number one on the music charts in their area! All money raised from these activities can go toward your campaign.

Sometimes it is easier to raise money if your group has charitable status, as donors will want to take advantage of income tax exemptions. Obtaining your own charitable tax status is often a lengthy and difficult process and will require that your group is formally incorporated as a registered non-profit organization. Information about obtaining charitable status is available from Canada Revenue Agency.

As another possibility, you may want to approach a well-established environmental non-government organization (ENGO) in your region that has a charitable number and ask them to partner with you. Established organizations with charitable status are cautious with who they partner with, as Revenue Canada allows registered charitable organizations to use a maximum of 10% of their total budget for advocacy purposes. However, such partnerships can provide legal support, educational pamphlets and research that would support your cause.

Applying for Grants

Whether you have a charitable number, are partnering with an organization that has one, or just exist as a registered non-profit organization, you may want to write grant proposals for specific elements of your campaign. There are a number of public and private foundations across the country that may support you.

The Sustainability Network

A Canadian organization devoted to helping environmental groups build their own capacity. Its website links to many useful resources. As well, the organization holds workshops on fund-raising among other things. Phone 416–324–2792 if you don’t use the internet.

The Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Network

CEGN lists most of the foundations in Canada that fund environmental initiatives.

The Community Foundations of Canada

CFC is an umbrella agency for smaller community foundations in Canada.

Philanthropic Foundations of Canada

There are many private foundations in Canada. The Philanthropic Foundations of Canada is the umbrella agency.

Stewardship Canada

Stewardship Canada lists funders that support land stewardship.

Each foundation will have its own guidelines for submitting applications and timelines to follow. Remember, grant making is a long term strategy and grants will usually take 1 to 4 months to turn around.

Many books have been written on the subject of fundraising. See, for example, Grassroots grants: an activist’s guide to grantseeking by Andy Robinson (San Francisco, CA. Jossey-Bass c 2004). There are many guides to writing effective grants on the web. If you do not have access to the Internet, try your library or local bookstore.