Non-Profit Starting Points

These are Bentsen Homes Development Consultants recommendations and not necessarily the only requests or requirements of a particular funding agency.

  • Spend time on your concept/idea; although you may not have all the pieces of the puzzle together, you should have a fairly good idea of the direction in which you want to go. As your group has been serving your particular client group for some time, you would be deemed experts in this demographic.
  • Land is equity and although land comprises only 3-8% of the project cost, this contribution is seen as the first step towards an eventual project. A society can also approach the local municipality or a third party to secure some leased land, or accept a philanthropist’s private gift or service club donation. Even if you don’t have the land piece, it is most likely the first step towards presentation of a project to a funding source.
  • "Cash is King" is often mentioned when submitting a funding application. When considering a project, a society should also see what organizations can be approached for donations or grants. A development consultant is helpful in this application process; many agencies require a pro forma and the consultant can assist in creating the best submission possible.
  • Municipal participation is one of the strongest partners in certain projects as they control not only the permits but can assist in many areas. Municipalities and their councils can make or break the success of an application. BC Housing has for many years encouraged societies to seek these relationships. Requests to the municipality can range from development cost charge reductions to assistance with offsite hookup of services and municipal improvements. Many municipalities may have land or a housing fund they use to retain their citizens and provide the basic necessity of housing.
  • A good experienced team that you and your development consultant will assemble will be the leaders and experts needed to bring the project together. A dysfunctional team or one that is "too close" can cause anxiety as the lines of loyalty and project control become blurred. A good team has integrity and gives you honest feedback even if it is not the popular thing to do. The team should work well together, supporting each other and ensuring the wishes of the society are addressed.
  • Last but not the least, it is important to have patience throughout the process. Many societies will become frustrated during the first go around and proposal. Our recommendation is to hang in there; the funding agency that turned you down knows you are there and potentially the funding was expended before your project was considered. Your society’s development consultant should have ‘Plan B’ ready if your first application is rejected and should be figuring out why the proposal was not accepted and what needs to happen to be successful in the next round.

Note: These are just some basic points to consider. Please do not get discouraged if you do not have these basics together. Part of your development consultant’s duties will be to evaluate where you are at and get you on the right track in preparation for your project.