WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM OTF GIVING HISTORY? PART 2

In my previous post, I provided general information in respect to OTF grant strategy. This info sheds light on giving amounts, favorite grant types, long term strategy, and in general makes some order in thousands of raw data information. When trying to understand better how exactly the grants are divided geographically, I was dealing with technological challenges including pricey software and limited sharing capacity.

[long story short: started using Tableau, which is highly friendly however I could not share and was able to analyze on the first 3 letters on postal codes; then switched to PowerBI, which is significantly less friendly and shareable (although limited in time)].

All in all, I will present here maps that show giving dollars and postal codes, and clearly show where the money goes, and how much. Not surprisingly, population concentrations get more attention and funds (in general), but if you are interested in a specific location – those maps can give you highly effective visualization of the data. I was surprised to learn that maps can shape my understanding better than any other graphs that I dealt with so far; so even if you are experienced with data analysis for years, you may still be pleasantly surprised to be suddenly aware of the potential insights you enjoy while using in data mapping.

Back to business, the map below shows average giving per month based on the postal code.
The range is between $2,125 and $265,883 per month. Quite wide (I did not control for type of grant in this map). Due to technological constrains, I could not share the interactive map with you; so I captured the core, and left the rest of the province outside this image. However, we can easily see that GTA gets attention, and interestingly the periphery gets higher amounts (the dark blue on the right is K0K ($166k), and the semi-dark blue on the left are N0G ($87K) and N0H ($81K). The two small areas in the middle of the map are L4R in the north with $190K and L3Y in the middle with $178K.

Moving forward, I created an interactive map for total giving amount across the province. In this case, you can explore the area of interest and see how much in total was awarded per postal code.

Seed – $ per month

Diving into Seed grants over the years, it seems that there are actual differences between postal codes. At a general glance, the core of Toronto/York Region area does not get too much Seed if any, and the average dollars per months significantly vary. This raises the question whether organizations in this area are well established and therefore need less Seed funding, or maybe OTF strategy proiritizes other areas that are less central. I do not have an answer for this question (OTF do not publish unsuccessful application data), but you should take this into account if you are planing to apply for a Seed grant.

The map shows that the most funded is Toronto Biennial of Art (M6P) with over $35,000 per month. The least funded on a mothly basis is St. Vincent de Paul Society of Kingston (K7K) with just under $550 per month.
I cannot describe in words how exciting it is to play with the data over the map, but unfortunately I could not share it online.
Over-time analysis shows a trend of growth in average monthly funding: from $5400 per month in 2015/16 to $5550 per month in 2017/18.

(Average duration for Seed is 11 months).

On PowerBI it looks much less informative, and I could not find a better way to present the very same data. Anyways, here it is for you to interact with the data of interest.

Grow and Capital geographic distribution

Capital across the province (per month):

In general, again, it seems that the core of Toronto/York Region is less funded than other areas. This requires further investigation, as it is not explained by this data why the core is funded less than the secondary tier. Maybe additional variables such as populations and action areas will explain better.

Grow GTA (per month):

This map again raises more questions than answers. Why the core is not represented? Why there are areas that are heavily funded? Postal codes in the middle of the map: L0K, L0H, L0B, L4A, L7K (all around $18,000 per month); Toronto in the areas of M+.
No clear picture of funding strategy comes up from this map.

The only explanation I have now is that postal codes are more dense in more densely populated areas; and this may create a biased visual of funding distribution. However, this does not provide an answer to the question of monthly awards; and does not provide a good answer why over years some areas get zero attention.

At this stage, until I find a better solution, or I get positive feedback about PowerBI maps; I have no plans to produce interactive maps for Grow and Capital. Please write me if you think this is beneficial.

However, regardless of maps the below presents a summary of monthly dollars. In my opinion this is a good guide if you have future plans to apply.

Growth in monthly funding is prevalent and significant

When I tested Grow and Capital – growth in funding is clear.

Grow monthly avg. in 2015/16 – $10,500; 2018/19 – $11,900. (average duration is 33 months).

Capital monthly avg. in 2015/16 – $12,900; 2019/19 – $15,300. (average duration is 8.5 months).

In other words, the average grants you may want to apply for next round (assuming no significant changes in the process) are as the following:

Grow for three years, for about $400,000; or Capital for 8 months, for about $130,000. If judging from the theoretical amount you may get -Grow falls way behind the maximum of $750,000, and Capital obeys the defined boundaries of $150K.

By this I will end the blog post for maps. In the next posts I will focus on
Action Area, Grant Result, Demographics, and Funding Dollars.

Please feel free to share, comment, and contact me for insights and ideas.
Thank you for reading!

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What can we learn from OTF giving history? PART 1

Ontario Trillium Foundation recently released a history of grants awarded between 2015-2019. I have decided to take a look at the data, and extract major lessons about their giving, type of funding, action areas, geographic area, target populations and so forth.
The analysis is divided to several articles; to make it easier for reading. The beginning of this article series presents some basic descriptive stats, to provide a general picture about OTF funding. As we go on, I present interesting comparisons and cross-tabulations. To summarize, lessons to be learned and recommendations for future applications are discussed.

Related image
  1. Total number & type of grants

In general, 2503 grants were given in twelve cycles of applications, average number of grants approved per cycle is 209, with the range of 99-334 (lowest June 2016, and highest November 2015).

OTF reduced the amount of grants by ~15% in 2017/18 and 2018/19 rounds compared to 2015/16 and 2016/17 . Hence, less organizations are now grantees of OTF.

The major types of grants are (out of total grants): Seed (36%), Grow (26%), and Capital (25%). One cycle grants were: Ontario150 (8% 2016/17 only) and Provincial Impact (1% 2017/18 only). Collective Impact is present in all years, however comprises only 3% of total grants.
It seems that Seed is highly popular, and safe to assume that Collective Impact is significantly challenging for forming, applying, and actually get the funds.

Types of grants per year (not including Collective Impact, Ontario150 and Provincial Impact):

Grow and Seed grants are declining with time; however Capital is on the rise. Additionally, it seems that OTF tries to be consistent over time with core grants and open all of them every year.

2. Total grants for catchment areas

Not too surprisingly, for catchment areas, Toronto leads the chart, and right after come Halton-Peel, Simcoe-York, and Champlain (Ottawa). Provincial-wide grants take 6% of total grants.

Stay tuned for geographical analysis in respect to census data.

3. Frequent grantees (5 times or more)

Interestingly enough, 29 organizations made it to the top list of grantees. Tides Canada is significantly higher than all other organizations, seconded by Sketch Working Arts. Additional thirteen organizations received grants five times.
In case you were wondering how the rest of the distribution looks like, here are the numbers: 75% of total organizations that received 1-4 grants were awarded once; 17% – twice; 6% – three times; and 2% – 4 times.


4. Money, Money, Money

Average dollar amount per grant is $116,000. Seed grants get $55,000 on average; and Grow get $368,000.

When looking at trends over time, Seed keeps its boundaries of about $55,000; and Capital and Grow amounts are in steady growth, in 22% and 16% respectively, comparing 2015/16 and 2018/19.

If so, when considering to make an application for Seed, better to ask around $55,000; for Capital – ask for about $100,000; and for Grow you can aim high to $400,000 on average. Just a reminder, the official limits are $75,000 for Seed, $150,000 for Capital, and $750,000 for Grow.

When I correlated funds and number of months in Grow grants, surprising low correlation was found (r=.38**). An in-depth investigation reveals that the distribution is not normal, and skewed to the left, hence tend to focus on lower amounts regardless of duration.

If you pondered about the monthly support, here are some numbers:

  • average funding per month is $11,000 (st.dev. $5300, Median $9,400)
  • 25th quartile gets $6500 monthly; 50th gets $9,400, and 75th gets $14,700. Top decile gets $19,700-$23,500
  • Top three organizations:
    YMCA of Western Ontario (2016/17) ;
    Second Harvest (2016/17);
    Eabametoong First Nation (2016/17)

Stay tuned for descriptives of Action Area, Grant Result, Demographics; and  in-depth analysis for Action Area, Grant Result, Organization, and Funding Dollars.

Feel free to comment and suggest additional analyses.

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