Application Guidelines for Grantseekers
Phauna Foundation is a grantmaking organization committed to promoting animal liberation and exclusively supporting animal rights initiatives. Our funding is primarily focused on organizations based in the United States, although we do consider applications from other locations if they hold potential to significantly influence the animal rights movement in the U.S. It is important to note that we do not fund organizations focused primarily on welfare reforms or those working in unrelated cause areas.
This guide is designed to offer valuable advice to grantseekers, as we frequently receive applications lacking essential information. Our goal is to help prospective applicants better understand our mission and priorities, enabling them to submit well-prepared proposals or recognize when our foundation may not be the ideal match for their work.
By following this advice, grantseekers can enhance their chances of success and contribute to the vital cause of animal liberation.
Understanding Phauna’s Priorities
Before submitting an application, we strongly recommend familiarizing yourself with Phauna's values and objectives by exploring the blog posts on our website. These articles offer insights into our approach and priorities.
In summary, our grantmaking efforts focus on the following areas:
Animal liberationist initiatives
Research supporting social movements
Scalable growth strategies
Non-welfarist policy goals
Capacity building for organizations providing support services to the movement
Training and development of activists
Animal rights media organizations
Making veganism and animal rights activism "cool".
It is important to note that Phauna typically does not provide funding for the following types of projects or organizations:
Alternative protein development
Organizations focused on welfare reform as a key strategy or goal
Initiatives promoting the health benefits of a vegan diet.
Organizations that aren’t led by vegans.
By understanding our priorities and ensuring that your project aligns with our mission, you can increase the likelihood of a successful application and contribute to the advancement of animal rights.
Phauna’s Application Process
Please review the following steps to better understand Phauna Foundation's semiannual application process:
Step 1: Invitation-only grantmaking
Phauna Foundation currently operates on an invitation-only grantmaking model. Due to limited staffing resources, we focus on projects that demonstrate the strongest alignment with our funding priorities.
If we haven’t sent you an invitation to apply yet, you can seek an invitation.
Step 2: Soliciting applications
Organizations that closely align with our funding priorities will receive an invitation to submit an application. If you are reading this guide, it is likely that you have already passed the initial screening process and received our private application form.
Step 3: Reviewing submitted materials
Our team will thoroughly review all submitted materials and conduct additional research on your organization. We may reach out to you with follow-up questions to gather more information.
Step 4: Scheduling an interview
We will schedule an interview to discuss your organization, programs, organizational model, and funding situation in more detail. As we typically gather vision and mission information prior to the interview, we encourage the interview time to be used for dialogue rather than presentation.
If you wish to provide a presentation, we recommend prerecording it and submitting it with your application and follow-up materials. However, please note that most grantseekers do not prerecord interviews, and we are not explicitly recommending this approach.
Step 5: Post-interview communication
We may contact you after the interview for more information or schedule further interviews if necessary.
Step 6: Grant deliberations
Phauna conducts grant deliberations a few times a year. During this stage, we make general funding decisions for each organization. In certain cases, we may determine that more information is needed before reaching a final decision.
By following this process, we strive to ensure a fair and thorough evaluation of each application, ultimately supporting the most impactful animal liberation initiatives.
Crafting a compelling proposal
When preparing your proposal, we encourage you to present your organization authentically, as you would to the general public. Rather than customizing your proposal to fit our foundation's priorities, we prefer to see what you do, how you do it, and evaluate the alignment of your vision and mission ourselves. Avoid pandering, as it can leave an unfavorable impression.
While we generally prefer to provide unrestricted funding to deeply aligned organizations, we also consider restricted grants for specific programs. Regardless of the type of funding you seek, it is crucial to provide information about your entire organization. The following elements are essential for a comprehensive proposal:
Clearly define the problem, vision, and mission of your organization.
Provide an overview of your team, board, and any advisory board members, with a focus on the leadership team and their skills.
Disclose salary and benefits for all employees.
Include a detailed organizational budget, as well as a program budget if you are applying for a specific program. Budget should be on an annual basis, it should include salaries, all revenue sources, and costs. Clear communication on this point is critical.
Explain your fundraising progress, including major funders (or anonymous funders, if applicable) and any recurring small donations.
Discuss your organization's milestones, impact measurement, expected outcomes, and track record of success. If you haven’t yet had major successes, don’t be afraid to say so — at Phauna we recognize that some approaches are riskier than others and we also fund early stage organizations. It’s more important to be authentic than it is to include a resume filled with “successes”. Include a timeline and be transparent about both achievements and setbacks.
Offer insights into your organization's model, particularly if unconventional, to help us understand its overall health and operations.
By incorporating these elements, you will present a well-rounded, genuine representation of your organization, allowing us to better assess its potential impact and alignment with our foundation's goals.
Building a Relationship with Phauna
Once you have submitted your application through our private form, we welcome and encourage grantseekers to reach out with any questions or clarifications. Rest assured that we will also be in touch with you for further information and clarification. A healthy relationship with our grantees is built on the following pillars:
Honesty and transparency: It is crucial to maintain an open, honest, and transparent communication throughout the application process.
Engaging in meaningful dialogue: During interviews and follow-up conversations, try to avoid dominating the conversation or becoming overly eager. Instead, treat the interaction as a genuine exchange of ideas and information, rather than a sales pitch. This approach will enable us to better understand your organization and its goals.
Building long-term partnerships: While we do not currently offer multi-year grant commitments, our intention is to support organizations that we believe will be strong candidates for future funding. View the initial grant as an opportunity to begin a lasting, fruitful partnership with our foundation, built on trust and collaboration.
Upon awarding a grant to your organization, the specific terms and conditions will be outlined in the grant agreement provided to you. We strive to keep formal reporting requirements minimal and non-burdensome for our grantees.
Grant duration: Generally, our grants are offered for periods of one year, though we occasionally provide six-month grants. Your grant agreement should specify the grant period. If you have any uncertainty about the grant period, please ask us.
Establishing communication: After the grant is awarded, we will schedule a conversation with your organization to discuss the nature of our ongoing relationship. We will explore the best ways to stay informed about your progress without imposing undue burdens and will discuss any non-financial support we can provide. We welcome updates and exciting news about your organization. We appreciate this communication because it allows us to have a relationship outside of the application process.
Check-ins during the grant period: Depending on the specific grant and your organization, we may schedule a check-in during the grant period to touch base on progress and address any concerns or questions that may arise.
By maintaining open lines of communication and collaboration, we aim to foster a strong partnership with your organization and support your ongoing success in the animal rights movement.
By following the guidance provided in this guide, you will be better prepared to submit a well-rounded, genuine representation of your organization, increasing the likelihood of a successful partnership with Phauna Foundation. Together, we can work towards a brighter future for animals.