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How to write a quality grant application

By: Jumpstart Staff

January 30, 2023

For many charitable or not-for-profit sport organizations, funding is the main topic of discussion on most days. As they look to continue their mission or create new and inclusive programming, two questions regularly come up:

  • How much money do we need? 
  • Where is the funding going to come from?

The financial pressures of operating, keeping staff employed and running impactful programs have always been a challenge, adding to this stress are the additional financial pressures of COVID-19, which continue to be incredibly difficult to overcome. 

According to the Jumpstart State of Sport Report, released in March 2022:

  • 91% of sport organizations are concerned about their ability to provide the same level of service to the communities they serve 
  • 75% say costs to run programs have increased
  • On average, revenues are down by 37% for grassroots organizations
  • One third of organizations express concern about the permanent closure of their organization. 

One way sport organizations can ease their financial burden is by applying for grants. Funding agencies may include the federal or provincial government, corporations, and non-profits, to name a few. 

In this blog, we will offer some strategies for crafting a quality grant application, using the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities (Jumpstart) Community Development Grant (CDG) as an example. 

Familiarize yourself with the details of the grant

To start, carefully read all the background material and instructions regarding the grant application. The last thing you want to do is complete the application to only realize that your organization is not eligible for funding. Ensure your organization and programming fulfill the criteria set forth by the funding agency.

For example, the Jumpstart CDG has two funding streams:

  • The operational stream assists qualified organizations that support kids aged 4-18 in financial need and youth with disabilities aged 4-25 to build capacity or cover increased expenses to provide inclusive, safe sport and physical activity experiences
  • The programming stream helps qualified organizations deliver sport and physical recreation programming for kids aged 4-18 in financial need and youth with disabilities aged 4-25

In this instance, applicants should identify which funding stream best suits the needs of their organization. 

In the case of Jumpstart CDGs, both streams address systemic barriers to sport and recreation in the following communities:

  • Families in financial need
  • Children with disabilities

With further focus on:

  • BIPOC children and youth, and
  • Girls and young women

As an applicant, ensure that your program’s participants align with the funder’s target population.

Many grants also set out to support a specific type of activity, such as arts and culture, education, or health and fitness. Confirm that your program aligns with the type of activity the funder is seeking to support. For example, getting kids involved in sport and physical activity is the primary goal of the Jumpstart CDG. Therefore, when applying, even if the main objective of your program includes supporting mental health, increasing classroom engagement, or substance use reduction, in order to be eligible for a CDG, physical activity must be the medium used to achieve that objective. 

Finally, take note of the application deadline. Funding agencies that receive a lot of interest are unlikely to prioritize late applications.

Time to Start Writing

Once you have determined that your program meets the key priority areas and populations of the funding agency and that the timeline of your program aligns, it is time to start your application. 

When writing a quality application, be sure to answer the specific questions being asked. Further, it is incredibly important to be able to describe the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of your program.  

Describe the target population your program intends to reach. Consider the following questions:

  • Who in the community am I engaging and what is the specific age group?
  • Who else am I working with in the community to deliver this program?
  • Will my program have a positive impact on one or more of the funder’s target populations?

Finally, if you have questions about a grant application be sure to reach out to the funder for clarity.

If you would like more information about Jumpstart Community Development Grants or to start your application, please visit: Community Development Grants | Jumpstart (


2022 State of Sport Report (PDF)