Frequently Asked Questions

More about what Rātā Foundation will and won’t fund

  • undefinedWho is eligible for funding?

    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.

    If you have any questions relating to the above contact us on 0508 266 878 and ask to speak to one of our Funding Team.


  • undefinedWhat types of costs will Rātā Foundation fund?

    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.

    To see what is not eligible click here

  • undefinedWhat doesn’t Rātā Foundation fund?

    Rātā Foundation does not make grants to:

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Local government or central government departments for activities that could be deemed their responsibility.
    • Click here for further exclusions related to environmental projects.
    • 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).
    • Projects where the beneficiaries are outside Rātā Foundation’s funding areas.

    If you require any further information or would like to discuss your application, please contact one of our funding team or phone us on freephone 0508 266 878.

More about the changes to Rātā Foundation’s programmes

  • undefined We previously applied under Rātā Foundation’s sector funding rounds. Where our application best fit under Rātā’s Funding Areas?

    You can choose where your project or organisation fits best. As a guide to get you started:






    Support or Learn








    Connect, Support or Participate


    Connect or Participate

    If you would like to discuss the new focus areas, please contact one of our funding team or phone us on freephone 0508 266 878 or go to How We Fund and What We Fund.

  • undefinedWhy has Rātā Foundation changed the way it funds?

    In 2015, we undertook a survey asking for feedback about our application processes from organisations which have applied to us over the last two years. You gave us some clear messages:

    • 91% of organisations who responded wanted simpler application forms and quicker decision times for small grants.
    • 84% of organisations wanted to move away from annual sector closing dates.
    • 84% of organisations wanted more face to face engagement for larger requests.

    We also want to make sure our funding programmes reflect our strong desire to contribute to the building of strong, happy, healthy, prosperous and more connected communities. Our focus areas encompass the wide range of cultural, social, environmental and community projects which we support in our communities and connect with our strategic vision.

More about making an application

  • undefinedWhat makes a good application?

    We won’t assess your application on how well you present the information, so please don’t worry about formatting your answers.

    Try to use clear language that is easy to understand.

    Be concise so your information can be easily summarized by our funding 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.

    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 have reduced social isolation 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.

  • 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.
    • 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, and should be signed by 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. 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 date of these letters of support must be within the last 12 months.

      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


    Please remember to include all of the required information and documentation before submitting your application, otherwise your application will be put On Hold until this information is provided.  If you application is On Hold, we may withdraw your application if you do not provide the information within a reasonable time-frame.


    If you are applying under the large grants programme, you will also need to include:

    • A full programme or project budget.
    • Your organisation’s strategic or business plan.


    If you are applying for funding for an environmental project, you will also need to include:

    • 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.
    • You don't need a letter of support from the relevant iwi/hapu.  However, we encourage you to advise them by letter of your project.
    • 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.

      undefinedWhat supporting information must be submitted with the application?


    If you are applying for funding for a Heritage project, you will also need to include:

    •          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.


  • undefinedWhat if we don’t have all the supporting information?

    Please wait until you have all relevant documentation before submitting your application.

    If you do not provide all the information we require at the time your application is submitted, we will put your application On Hold until this information is provided.  If you application is On Hold, we may withdraw your application if you do not provide the information within a reasonable time-frame.

  • undefinedWhat does Rātā Foundation mean by a letter of support?

    We ask applicants to provide two letters of support. 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 date of these letters of support must be within the last 12 months.

    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.

  • undefinedWhere does Rātā Foundation fund?

    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.

  • undefinedWhat if our work covers more than one funding region?

    If your organisation serves more than one of our regions, please submit one application to Rātā Foundation, covering all your work across the funding regions.

  • undefinedCan we look back at our application from the previous year?

    When you login to the application portal, you will be able to review previous applications you have made through our online Application Portal. But please remember under our new programmes our application form has changed.  You can login to our Application Portal here.

  • undefinedShould we apply under the Small or Large Grants Funding Programme?

    Have a look at how we fund to find out more about the different programmes. You should apply under the programme that best meets your organisation’s needs. There are some differences about the programmes.

    The intent of the Small Grants Programme  is to support grassroots community initiatives in the community, including organisational running costs, through a 10 week process.

    Under the Large Grants Programme, is to support organisations which form part of the fabric of our community and projects which provide wider community benefit.

    You can contact our Funding Team to discuss your application.

  • undefinedHow do we answer the "Our Priorities" question?

    Rātā Foundation has identified four funding areas under which Rātā has funding priorities.

    Go to What We Fund and look at our four key areas of Learn, Support, Connect and Participate. Look through the 'Our Priorities' list for each focus area and identify which area best fits what you are trying to achieve through your project, programme or service.

    Tell us, in your own words, how your project, programme or service best aligns with those focus areas:

    For example:

    Under 'Participate', you might choose "improve health and well-being through increasing participation in sport and activity."

    You might describe this as follows:

    "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."

    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.

  • undefinedWhat should we tell you about in the "good practice" question?

    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 please demonstrate how it aligns with national, or local strategies or plans with iwi management plans, and in addition to any consents you are required you must have 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 Korero.
    • Please also tell us how you meet any legal requirements.  For example - if you are a licensed early childhood education provider.  If your project involves an archaeological site you must have obtained an authority from Heritage New Zealand.
    • a not-for-profit educational institution or body, church or church administration organisation.


  • undefinedCan I apply for more than one project or range of operational costs per application?

    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.

More about your responsibilities

  • undefinedDo we need to have our financial statements audited?

    Please check the information below to ensure the information you provide in support of your grant application meets the following audit assurance:

    Audit assurance requirements

    Consistent with the charities act 2005 assurance requirements are as follows:

    Total operating expenditure in each of the previous two accounting periodsAssurance requirement
    Over $1 million Audit by a qualified auditor
    $500,000 to $1 million Audit or review by a qualified auditor
    Below $500,000 As required by entity’s trust deed or constitution

    You can find out more from the Charities Services.

    If you have expenditure under $500,000 but 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.

    Support is available from Community Law or Christchurch Community Accounting.

  • undefinedWhat do my accounts need to contain?

    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.

    The Charities Services website contains information, getting started videos, templates and guidance notes.

    Chartered Accountants have recently released two resources dedicated to help New Zealand Not-for-Profit entities comply with their financial reporting requirements.

    The resources are:

    • a webinar on the new Charity Financial Reporting standards, available here
    • a guide for NFP financial reporting in NZ which can be downloaded here.

    There are also other organisations which can support you. See our Toolbox.

  • undefinedDo we need to acknowledge the grant?

    We support operating costs and/or project costs.

    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.

  • undefinedWhat will we need to report on if we receive a 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.

  • undefinedWhat happens if we wish to amend our project once a grant has been awarded?

    We expect grants to be used for the purpose applied for. However we recognise occasionally circumstances change and you may wish to spend the grant slightly differently. Please contact us to talk this through with one of our funding team.

More about the process and timescales

  • undefinedWhen should I apply and when will I hear?

    We consider applications all year round so we encourage you to choose when is best to apply. To help you choose check out our application timeframes and funding decisions.

    It is important to note you can only receive one grant per financial year (1 April to 31 March) 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.

    You need to allow at least ten weeks to hear the outcome of your application if you apply under the Small Grants Programme, and four months under the Large Grants Programme.  If you don't think you have left enough time to hear an outcome before your project begins, please contact our Funding Team before applying.

  • undefinedCan we apply for something which has already happened or will happen before we hear the outcome of our application?

    No. We cannot fund retrospectively. This means if you have already committed these costs or the activity will take place before you hear the outcome of your application, we will not be able to fund your request. To find out more about when to apply check out our applications timeframes and funding decisions.

    You need to allow at least ten weeks to hear the outcome of your application if you apply under the Small Grants Programme, and four months under the Large Grants Programme.  If you don't think you have left enough time to hear an outcome before your project begins, please contact our Funding Team before applying.

  • undefinedWhat happens to my application once it is submitted to Rātā Foundation?

    Applications are submitted through our online portal.

    Once it arrives into the Rātā Foundation system, one of our administration team checks to see you have submitted all of the requested information.

    Next it passes to one of our funding team, who will look at the application. The assessors and advisors will look to see your application meets our eligibility criteria and is not requesting an excluded item.

    Your assessor or advisor will also look to see what difference your project will make and how your organisation is placed to deliver the project.

    We will also look to see how strongly your application aligns with our funding priorities within Learn, Support, Connect and Participate.

    A report, which summarises the application, is presented to Trustees. The Trustee will make the final decision on supporting or declining applications.

    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. Find out more about application timeframes and funding decisions.

  • undefinedOur application has been successful. When can we apply again?

    You can apply at any time.  However, you can only receive one grant in any Rātā Foundation financial year (1 April to 31 March).You can receive one grant in our financial year from 1 April to 31 March. 

  • undefinedOur application has been declined. When can we apply again?

    If your application has been declined, you are able to re-apply at any time. You may wish to have another look at our website to see how your project or organisation fits our focus areas. We also encourage you to call our Funding Team before submitting another application on 0508 266 878.

  • undefinedWhy are some applications declined?

    Unfortunately Rātā Foundation receives requests for funding which are far higher than the grants budget we have available. So we have to make difficult decisions about which projects we’re able to support. Some reasons an application might be declined include:

  • undefinedIf we apply under the small grants programme this year, can we apply under large grants programme next year?

    You can decide which programme to apply under at any time. If you choose to apply under our small grants programme this year, you can apply under the large grants programme next year or vice versa.

  • undefinedCan we apply to both the small grants programme and the large grants programme in the same financial year?

    You can apply to only one of these grants programmes at any time.  Please look to see How We Fund  to see which programme best fits your needs.

  • undefinedHow will we know if our organisation has received funding?

    We’ll send you a letter to tell you whether your application has been successful or whether it has been declined.

    Grant payments will be made after you have agreed to the terms and conditions of the grant and have sent us an original hard-copy pre-encoded bank deposit slip.

    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, and we may withdraw the grant if you are unable to do so.

    Building Project instalments will be paid as agreed, in line with your project timeline and as conditions are met.

    To see our decision timeframes, go to our Application Timeframes and Funding Decisions page.


    undefinedWho decides if my grant request will be funded or not?

  • Grant applications are assessed by the Funding Team to ensure the application meets our policies and funding priorities. Final approval is given by the Board of Trustees.

  • undefinedWhy does it take so long to hear if my grant has been approved?

    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.

More about Rātā Foundation

  • undefinedWhere did Rātā Foundation originate?

    Ever wondered where Rātā Foundation’s money originated?

    In the 1980s the deregulation of the banking industry was the catalyst to the formation of Rātā Foundation. Established in 1988 and named the Canterbury Community Trust it received an annual dividend from Trustbank Canterbury which it distributed to not for profit organisations throughout its four funding regions of Canterbury, Marlborough, Nelson and the Chatham Islands.

    In 1997 it received a further injection of capital when Trustbank Canterbury was sold to Westpac and the profits of the sale were channeled into the trust for the community.

    In 2015 the Canterbury Community Trust changed its name to Rātā Foundation. We believe our new name better represents our organisational beliefs and values and incorporates a powerful, well articulated vision for the future as well as being more inclusive of all our funding regions. To find out more read our identity evolution story.

    Today Rātā Foundation’s income comes from its capital base of over $600 million achieved through a prudent and extensive investment strategy. It is the role of Rātā Foundation to use this money wisely and work with the community to identify priorities and needs. Rātā Foundation is simply the guardian for current and future generations, acting on behalf of you – the community.

What support is available

  • undefinedCan I talk to someone about my project?

    Our Funding Team is available by calling 0508 266 878. One of our team will be able to answer queries you may have about the application process.

  • undefinedWhat support is available in the community to help me develop my project or organisation?

    There are many organisations, which can provide support to community organisations.