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Fundraising for your organisation

So, your school needs equipment for your pool; your students need help with transportation to and from the local aquatic centre; or your organisation needs a set of lifejackets? Do you turn up each week to turn sausages at your local supermarket sizzles (although this approach does work), or do you try your hand at grant writing for applications to a charitable trust?


There are many trusts and foundations out there who have funds available that is ripe for the picking.

One main group of philanthropic organisations are licensing trusts - places like The Lion Foundation, Infinity Foundation, Pub Charity or Pelorus Trust. They are very generous and often can be approached for capital items such as those listed above in the introduction or even salaries for swim instructors. More on the process of writing applications later.

Other philanthropic organisations that don’t use gambling profits are trusts such as Foundation North, Rata Foundation and local energy trusts who are approachable as well as local council’s community board grants. These are harder nuts to crack but can be worthwhile asking for support.

Trust fund managers such as Public Trust and Perpetual Guardian administer funds for various private philanthropic trusts. Information about these can be found at and respectively. Perpetual Guardian is New Zealand’s biggest trust fund manager and have staff available that can help with the application process.

You can also find out information about the various trusts and foundations in your area by accessing the GiveUs database that is run by Generosity New Zealand. You can see this free of charge at your local library – just get your library to give you access to your account and you can use that to peruse the database or go in and use it there.

The Charities Commission website also has a database you can search for trusts and foundations. They don’t have a criterion search, so you must go on name of the organisation only.

So, what goes into a good funding application?

Less is more. A short succinct one-page project outline is a starting point. Work out what you want; who is going to use the item or service; how much your ‘ask’ is going to be; and how you are going to use the item once received.

Firstly, read the trust’s criteria and see whether you are eligible to apply for funding.

If yes, you can begin the process of applying. If in doubt, make a call to the trust and speak to one of their funding staff.

Once you have the green light, you can begin to:
  • Preview the application if possible. This gives you an idea of the information you need before getting underway. The range of information needed can vary – from needing a full board minute where they vote on the need to fundraise or just a one-page simple application.
  • Write a project ‘brief’. This is usually a one pager that outlines what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it. Include who is being involved, what you need to happen and by whom.
  • Sign up, log in and follow details is the process – remember to record your log in details for later and
  • Go somewhere quiet where you can concentrate on the task at hand.

Begin the process.

Here is a short precis of what is always required and what sometimes required.


  • Up to date current financial statements;
  • The last audited accounts;
  • List of Trustees of your organisation;
  • Pre-printed deposit slip so they can see that you have an official bank account or a verified statement from your bank and
  • Charities Commission or Incorporated Society certificate.

Sometimes required:

  • A Resolution to Fundraise. This is a document created for your board to ratify at their latest board meeting. It is an official ‘Minute’ that gives the organisation permission to put an application into the trust;
  • Current bank statement; and
  • Annual Plan or other document that maps out the past and future of your organisation.

A helpful hint is always making sure the last thing you do before you send off your application is to check that you have all the documentation as requested otherwise you risk having your application declined.

Don’t forget the accountability process as well. An accountability report contains financial and other information on how you used the grant and what was achieved. Always do these so you can go back to the funder in the future knowing that you met all their criteria and you spent the grant in good faith.

And finally, remember when the project is finished all trusts like to be thanked and recognised in some way – maybe a Facebook post to naming rights, always say thank you.


Good luck and happy fundraising.

Beginner's Guide to Finding Funding for Your Organisation

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