Budgets and Funding

After the ICH team and the community have created a plan for their initiative, it is time to make a budget and seek funding for the project. This section describes the steps involved in creating a budget and identifying funding.

How to Make A Budget

Creating a budget for an ICH initiative will allow the ICH team to understand the costs of implementation and demonstrate their financial needs to funders.

The steps to create a budget include the following:

1. Identify the resources needed

Resources may include staffing, training, overhead costs and community engagement. The budget example in Section 5 can help ICH teams set this up.

2. Estimate project costs

This may require some research, for instance, reviewing past proposals from the community or Nation. The ICH team may also ask about current rates for salaries, honoraria, facilities, etc. They could also consider reaching out to the community’s financial management staff for assistance, as they may already have funding templates or past proposals that can provide budgeting information.

3. Organize cost estimates by budget categories

Common budget categories include the following:

  • Salaries, wages, and professional fees
  • Honoraria
  • Materials and supplies
  • Equipment
  • Food and Meetings
  • Facilities
  • Travel
  • Administration

4. Add up the totals

A number of easy-to-use budget templates and calculators are available online, and in common software programs like Microsoft Excel and Apple Numbers.

5. Create an annual budget

If an ICH initiative spans multiple years, it may be useful to create an annual budget for each year of the project, increasing the budget each year to reflect inflation. Combine the year-by-year budget into a total budget.  

6. Track expenses as the initiative is implemented

Make sure there is someone assigned to track the budget and complete financial reporting, if required. A number of easy-to-use expense tracking resources are available online, and in common software programs like Microsoft Excel and Apple Numbers.

Tips for creating a project budget

When calculating costs, it’s a good idea to think through large actions and break them up into smaller steps. For example, the budget for “developing a heritage policy” is likely to include: hiring a staff person, conducting community engagement meetings (offering food and honoraria), conducting research, putting together an advisory committee and hiring a graphic designer. Each of these steps will have associated costs that will need to be factored into the budget.

Accessing Funding

Once an ICH initiative project has a plan and a budget, it is time to think about how to fund the project. The following types of funding are common ways that ICH projects are funded:

1. Grant Funding

Grants are a good way to fund an ICH initiative. Some places to find information about grants available for ICH initiatives are:  

  • Visiting the FPCC website to explore their funded programs: fpcc.ca/grants.
  • Reaching out to networks to identify relevant grants for the initiative.
  • Looking into other sources of funding listed in Section 5 of this toolkit.

2. Permitting Revenue

Depending on the type of ICH initiative, the ICH team be able to generate revenue through an ICH permitting process run by their community or Nation. Permitting systems generate revenue by charging permit fees to industry and others who want to do work in a community or Nation’s territory. See Creating an ICH Permitting System for more information.

3. Other Potential Funding Opportunities

  • Core funding: Find out if the community or Nation has core funding available.
  • Capacity funding: The B.C. government or companies that want to do work in Indigenous territories sometimes provide capacity funding to support First Nations to engage in consultation processes. Capacity funding can be used to fund ICH work, but it is important to plan for long-term funding through different sources after this funding ends.

Tips for grant applications

  • Allow lots of time to complete funding applications.
  • Understand the funder’s priorities. Do they align with the ICH team’s goals for the initiative? If so, highlight that in the proposal. If not, consider if funding is really a good fit.
  • Before starting the application, the applicant can call the funder and describe the initiative to see if it’s a good fit, and to ask if they have tips on the application process.
  • If sections of the application are unclear, the applicant can ask the funder to explain.
  • If a grant application is unsuccessful, the applicant can call the funder to find out why.
  • ICH team members who are new to grant writing can seek mentorship from experienced grant writers.
  • Different funding opportunities have different allowable costs. Some allow a small percentage of funding for administration; some require in-kind contributions. ICH teams might want to think carefully about these requirements and determine if this is feasible for their project.