Frequently Asked Questions
Your most frequently asked questions
We only accept applications from not-for-profit organisations. These include:
- an incorporated society, association or organisation, which is not carried on for the purpose of providing profits or gains to any member or shareholder, and whose governing rules or constitution restrict any distribution of funds to any member or shareholder.
- any entity registered under the Charities Act 2005.
- a not-for-profit educational institution or body, church or church administration organisation.
- if you are a small unincorporated organisation which benefits the community and has been operating under a constitution or set of rules, for at least 12 months, please contact us to discuss options for applying under an umbrella organisation. Your organisation would need to have its own bank account, and financial statements, and have letters of support from at least two independent sources.
- collaborative partnerships acting as backbone organisations, should contact us to discuss how best to apply.
- projects where the benefit is in our funding regions. Our four funding regions include:
- Christchurch / Waimakariri / Selwyn / Hurunui (this is our Canterbury region).
- Nelson / Tasman (this is our Nelson region).
- Marlborough / Kaikoura (this is our Marlborough region).
- Chatham Islands.
Organisations operating outside our geographic funding area are not eligible to apply. However, we may consider an application from a national organisation if your programme aims to benefit a community within our four regions.
If you have any questions relating to the above contact us on 0508 266 878 and ask to speak to one of our Community Investment Team.
We support operating costs and/or project costs.
Operating costs may be considered to support the operating and administration costs of community organisations. This may include salaries, plus general overheads such as rent, power, phone and administration costs.
Project cost grants may be available to assist funding to community projects, events, assets or programmes.
Rātā Foundation does not make grants to:
- Retrospective applications (projects which have been completed or costs committed before you have been informed of your funding decision). Check out our application timeframes and funding decisions.
- Commercial organisations or for the commercial activities of not-for-profit organisations.
- Projects where the benefit is outside our funding regions, which cover Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough, Kaikoura, Hurunui, Waimakariri, Christchurch, Selwyn and the Chatham Islands local authority areas.
- Fund expenditure related to core curriculum delivery in schools, for example computers and other ICT, basic educational resources, teachers' salaries and operational expenses (except where the cost may legitimately be part of a community based learning programme).
- Purchase or replace resources and equipment (which is not normally funded by government agencies) where the needs of the learner is the focus. These applications will be considered under our Small Grants programme only.
- Competitive, high performance or elite sports or arts activities
- Projects where the beneficiaries are animals except where there is a clear community benefit of people involved in the conservation of native species
- Fund projects that are, or are likely to be highly socially divisive, lacking social license, for example organisations applying to fund projects, which are political in nature.
- Rātā Foundation does not fund research except where the cost may legitimately be part of a project or programme evaluation.
- Projects that have no community involvement and support.
- Funding for land purchase.
- Loan funding will not be made to retire current debt.
- Directly fund scholarships to individuals.
- Fund overseas travel for groups or individuals.
- Other trust funds, capital funds or endowments.
- Underwrite fund-raising projects.
- Political parties or groups aligned with political parties.
- Support the spiritual activity of religious organisations.
- Fund debt retirement.
- Local government or central government departments for activities that could primarily be deemed to be their responsibility.
We support organisations who work in our four funding regions:
- Our Canterbury region includes Hurunui, Waimakariri, Selwyn and Christchurch City local authority areas.
- Our Nelson region includes Nelson and Tasman local authority areas.
- Our Marlborough region includes Marlborough Kaikoura local authority areas.
- Chatham Islands.
If your organisation is based outside our region we can consider projects that can demonstrate they will be of benefit to our region.
You can apply at any time. However, you can only receive one grant in each Rātā Foundation financial year (1 April to 31 March). This is based on the approval date of your application.
We cannot fund retrospectively, so it is important you allow sufficient time for your application to be considered.
Find out more about application timeframes and funding decisions.
If you don't think you have left enough time to hear an outcome before your project begins, please contact our Community Investment Team before applying. Or phone us on freephone 0508 266 878.
Rātā Foundation has identified five funding areas under which Rātā has funding priorities.
Go to What We Fund and look at our five funding areas of Connect, Learn, Support, Participate, and Sustain. Look through the 'Our Priorities' list for each funding area and identify which area best fits what you are trying to achieve through your project, programme or service.
These priorities are what we base our assessments on. Check out how to answer the ‘our priorities’ question.
Check out what the Community Investment Team will also look for during the assessment.
To prevent people having their accounts overwritten applicants are only able to amend; the salutation, email address and work/day time phone numbers.
- To update contact details go to the ‘People’ title in the left hand menu.
- Select the record you wish you update and click on the EDIT button at the top right hand corner.
- If a person is listed and no longer involved with your Organisation please email through to email@example.com and we will have the person removed.
- If you wish to add an additional person to your Organisation records please follow the registration process on our website by clicking "register" in the top right hand corner.
Once an application is submitted through the Rātā Foundation Portal our Administrator does some due diligence checking, for example checking that your Chairperson, President or equivalent is registered in our system.
Your application then passes to one of our Community Investment Team members for assessment. We will look at how your application aligns with Rātā Foundation’s priorities and criteria.
We check that all information and documentation is in order. If your application is incomplete, we will send it back to you with instructions on what needs to be done. Once you have all the requested information and have resubmitted your application through the Portal we will complete the assessment.
A report, which summarises your application, is presented to Trustees. The Trustees make decisions on supporting or declining your application.
All this can take time, as we give each request careful consideration and the attention it deserves. So thank you for your patience in waiting for the outcome of your application.
We will let you know the Board’s decision by email and you will find the decision letter in your Rātā Foundation Portal. Depending on the decision, you will find the decision letter under either the Grants Approved or Decline Applications sections on the left hand menu.
We will make payment when your organisation’s Chairperson, President or equivalent head of governance board has confirmed your bank account and submitted the Terms and Conditions of the grant through the Portal.
If you are new to Rātā Foundation or have changed your bank account, you will need to send us documentation to confirm your bank account name (which should match your organization name), account number and proof that the account is fully functional. You can send us this in the mail or as a scanned or online copy via email.
Documentation to confirm this includes:
- A New Zealand bank statement or print out showing your customer’s name, bank account number and at least one deposit and one withdrawal of differing amounts. OR
- A letter from the bank showing your customer's name, bank account number and clearly states the account is fully functional or active.
If there are specific terms and conditions attached to the grant, you will be advised of the time frame in which you need to meet them. We may withdraw the grant if you are unable to do so.
Building Projects instalments will be paid as agreed, in line with your project timeframe and as conditions are met.
To see our decision timeframes, go to our Application Timeframes and Funding Decisions page.
Each application is unique. We consider each request’s scope and complexity, amount requested, your organisation’s history with us, as well as other factors that could contribute to or hinder its success. This takes time. We give every request careful consideration and the attention it deserves. We appreciate your patience.
How to make a good application
- Try to use clear language that is easy to understand.
- Be concise so your information can be easily summarised by our Community Investment Team into a report for decision making.
- We are interested in hearing about the difference your project will make. Being clear about the outcomes of your project can be really helpful.
- Remember we won’t assess your application on how well you present the information, so please don’t worry about formatting your answers.
- Make sure you have all the required documentation.
Rātā Foundation has identified five funding areas under which Rātā has funding priorities.
Go to What We Fund and look at our five funding areas of Connect, Learn, Support, Participate and Sustain. Look through the 'Our Priorities' list for each funding area and identify which area best fits what you are trying to achieve through your project, programme or service.
Your project, programme or service may fit more than one area. However, please think carefully which of our priorities your project, programme or service most strongly aligns with.
Tell us, in your own words, how your project, programme or service best aligns with those key areas:
For example, under 'Participate' you might choose ‘improving health and wellbeing by increasing participation in recreation activities and sports’ ‘improve health and well-being through increasing participation in sport and activity’.
You might describe this as:
"We work with schools in low income areas to enable young people, who are not otherwise taking part in sport and activity, to be part of our holiday programme. The holiday programmes offer taster sessions in a range of sports. We work with the young people to identify clubs where they could continue to participate after the holiday programme has ended."
Try to tell us about the difference your project will make (the outcomes) not just what your organisation is doing (the outputs).
For example rather than saying:
"Older people will attend a weekly lunch club."
You could tell us about the difference that will make by saying:
"Older people will not be lonely as a result of attending a weekly lunch club."
Make sure your outcomes are realistic and not too ambitious.
For example saying:
"Ex offenders will be in full time employment by the end of the programme."
Might not be as realistic as saying:
"Ex offenders will have increased employment skills, and will feel more confident about future workforce opportunities as a result of taking part in the programme."
Focus on the difference you want to make and remember to use change words like improved, reduced, maintained etc., and make it specific to the people you are working with. For example, improving health, reducing isolation, increasing confidence and self esteem.
Here are some examples:
- If you are running an event tell us about your health and safety plan.
- If your organisation is working with vulnerable people (young people, elderly people, disabled people, people with mental health and other issues), tell us how your service or programme meets good practice or is evidence based.
- If your project involves a heritage place demonstrate how it aligns with national, or local authority strategies or plans or iwi management plans, and in addition to any consents required you must have the written approval of a conservation architect for heritage buildings or a landscape architect for heritage sites, that the project will not have a negative impact on heritage values. Heritage Place means any buildings, items, objects, and sites of significant heritage value that are listed in District Plan policies under the Resource Management Act 1991 or in the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero.
- Please also tell us how you meet any legal requirements. For example - if you are a licensed early childhood education provider. If your projects involves an archaeological site you must have obtained an authority from Heritage New Zealand.
Yes. We ask you to include your total request in one application.
In your application we ask you to tell us which cost areas you are applying for. You do this by selecting options from a list. You are able to tick more than one cost area or project.
It would be helpful for you to identify which of these cost areas are your priority for funding. Given our limited budget it's important we know what your priority is rather than us making assumptions.
If you need to inform us about the different priorities for each project, you can include it in the ‘Anything More to Add’ section.
You will notice this question is in a grey box. Please click on the green + to open the form. This form allows you to enter the details of any other funding you may have received or are applying for from other funders for this project and any reserves your organisation may hold.
Having this information helps provide confidence that your organisation is taking a sustainable approach to fundraising and has clearly identified any reserves.
We are interested in knowing what plans you have in place to ensure the project goes ahead if Rātā Foundation is unable to fund your full request.
Rātā recognises the need for community organisations to hold appropriate free reserves. Free reserves are considered to be those reserves not tagged or designated for specific purpose and may include cash or investments.
Find out what we will look at when assessing your application in our Applicant Reserves Policy.
What documents does Rātā require?
First time applicants need to supply:
- Copy of the trust deed or constitution.
All applicants need to supply:
- Latest financial statements or performance report, which have been audited if required. Find out more about financial statements requirements.
- Minutes/resolution from your board or committee showing authority to apply to Rātā Foundation for a grant. This must include:
- the date the resolution was made
- the dollar amount requested
- a description of your project request
- the signature of an authorised signatory from your organisation.
For example: on 1 December 2015, Fun Times Trust resolved to apply to Rātā Foundation for $2,000 to run a basketball holiday programme. I confirm this to be a true record. Signed the chairperson.
- We ask applicants to provide two letters of support.
- They must be dated within the last 12 months and signed and on letterhead.
- These letters might be from a national or regional organisation, a governing body, an organisation that you are affiliated to or a community organisation or network.
- The letter should state the organisation supports the work of your organisation and the project you are applying for. It should also endorse that your organisation is in a good position to deliver the project or programme.
If you have one of the following, please upload alongside your application:
- A copy of your Ministry of Social Development Approvals letter
- Evidence of accreditation from a national body
- A letter of affiliation to a national or regional sports body
- Evidence of registration as a licensed Early Childhood Education provider
- Evidence of having completed a health and disability audit
If you are applying under the Large Grants programme, you also need to upload:
- A full programme or project budget. Your organisation’s strategic or business plan.
If you are applying for a Building Project
Please contact the Community Investment Team to discuss what you need to upload, or call us on 0508 266 878.
If you are applying for funding for an environmental project, you will also need to upload:
- A management plan that has been endorsed by a relevant technical expert (s), including details of landownership, any consents, permits or licences granted/needed for the project, and how you will monitor and evaluate the project.
- For all projects that involve action on the ground, you must provide a letter of support/approval from the landowner for the specific activity you are seeking funding for. This counts as one of the two letters of support you need to provide.
- It is important to inform mana whenua about your project. Please inform the current Chair of the relevant iwi/hapū by letter. We require a copy of this letter. Note, we do not require a letter of support from the iwi/hapū.
- For projects on habitat protection/restoration on private land, if a covenant is not possible, please obtain a letter from the landowner which states their commitment to maintain and keep the project in place for the duration of their ownership of the property and on sale of the property to talk to the new owner about the importance of the project.
If you are applying for funding for a heritage project, you will also need to upload:
- Of the two letters of support we require, one must be a letter from Heritage NZ stating that your project will not have a negative impact on heritage values.
- A letter from the relevant local authority’s heritage advisor/planner in support of your project or confirmation of a Heritage Grant for the project from the relevant local authority
- Confirmation whether a resource consent is, or is not, required, or attach the resource consent if already granted (this maybe by email from the relevant local authority).
- Depending on the scale of the project, we may require a Heritage Conservation Plan to guide the work.
- Projects that involve archaeological sites must obtain an authority from Heritage New Zealand.
We require your financial statements to be consistent with the statutory audit and review requirements of the Charities Amendment Act 2014. This includes for Incorporated Societies.
Please check Charities Services to find out more about these requirements.
Note: Registered charities with total operating expenditure of less than $500,000 over a two year accounting period are not required by law to have an audit or review. However, you may be required by your rules (e.g. trust deed, constitution, or charter) or as a condition of receiving a grant to have your financial statements audited or reviewed. These charities may choose who performs the audit; it does not need to be a qualified auditor unless stated in your rules.
If your expenditure is less than $500,000 over a two year accounting period and your Trust Deed or Constitution requires an audit or review, your board is able to pass a resolution amending your governing document. Any amendments to your governing document must be lodged with Charities Service if you are a registered Charity and/or the Companies Office if you are an Incorporated Society.
You can contact Christchurch Community Accounting for support.
Your letters of support might be from a national or regional organisation, a governing body, an organisation that you are affiliated to or a community organisation or network.
- if you are an OSCAR programme you might get a letter of support from the local school who uses your service.
We need the letter to state:
- the organisation supports the work of your organisation
- the project you are applying for
- and endorses that your organisation is in a good position to deliver the project or programme.
The letter should be signed, dated and be on letterhead. The date of these letters of support must be within the last 12 months.
Please wait until you have all relevant documentation before submitting your application. Include all the required information and documentation before submitting your application.
If you submit an incomplete application, we will send it back to you with instructions on what needs to be done. We stop assessing your application until you have supplied the required documentation. Once you have all the requested information and have resubmitted your application through the Portal we will complete the assessment.
This means the time frame in which you will received your decision may be extended. We may withdraw your application if you do not provide the information within a reasonable time frame.
The new Charities Services reporting standards provide a good framework for what should be covered in a set of financial statements and performance report. There are different requirements for organisations depending on their income and whether organisations are publicly accountable.
Charities Services has information, getting started videos, templates and guidance notes.
There are also other organisations which can support you. See our Toolbox.
We were successful in receiving a grant, what does Rātā need from us?
You may have opportunities to acknowledge our grant in your marketing materials. This might include your website, social media, marketing material and any other relevant promotional tool. To find out more about these requirements go to acknowledging your grant.
Rātā Foundation is keen to learn about the difference organisations are making in our communities with the help of our funding.
We will send you a short Post Grant survey about a year after the grant was made which asks for some basic information about whom the programme or project benefitted, where it took place, how it went and what you learnt along the way.
In addition, we will ask some of our Large Grant recipients to give us more information. This may take the form of surveys or interviews.
There may be some instances, where a fuller evaluation of your programme would provide useful learnings. This would be agreed upon in discussion with your organisation.
The purpose of our monitoring and evaluation process is for learning and development both for us and our communities.
Being Flexible For you
We want to offer you flexibility during this time.
Existing grant holders:
- If you currently hold an operating cost grant we will maintain that funding level for the duration of the grant.
- Please let us know if your organisation is having to make changes to planned activities due to COVID-19. Contact one of our grants advisors to discuss on their direct dial which can be found on our staff bio page or via our firstname.lastname@example.org email
- We recognise the developing situation may affect your organisation's ability to deliver some or all of the outcomes you intended when you applied for funding from us.
- If you hold a grant from us, we recognise your organisation may have incurred costs for programmes and events which are unable to go ahead.
- We recognise some projects, programmes or services may be postponed or delayed.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
- What should I do if our organisation can’t deliver our project, programmes, or services?
We know that each case is different and unique, some organisations will be able to move their services and programmes online, and others will need to postpone or cancel events or programmes. Please contact one of our grants advisors to talk through your specific case.
- We are planning an event for later in the year. Should we apply? What is Rātā's position and approach to this?
We are in an evolving situation and recognise things change. If you are making an application use information that you have available at the time. If something changes, let us know. We will engage with you during the application process.
Intending to Apply in the Next 12 Months
- What is the best time for us to apply in the next 12 months?
If you intend to apply to us in the next 12 months please do so – it is business as usual. We will continue to make community investment decisions on funding applications and process grants payments. If you have some uncertainty about how you will be delivering your programme, project or service, you are able to wait until you know more. We don’t have deadlines on our funding programmes, so apply when it best suits you.
How we will stay in touch: