Aside from managing the actual work, this is probably the part of the project causing the most anxiety and stress. Don’t panic.
There are many different funding opportunities available for churches, particularly for community-based projects.
Grant funding is still out there, but you may have to think creatively to get it. It is also worth approaching local businesses for sponsorship (they are often keen to support local activities) and thinking about imaginative events and activities to encourage local people to donate to your project.
Whether you ask face to face, or fill in a form, the process of applying for funding is pretty similar. You need to be very familiar with your project plan, your budget and your aims and objectives and be able to explain these to anyone who you ask for a donation or grant.
In all cases, be clear about what you asking for. People and organisations alike are more likely to give if they know what their contribution will be used for.
- Historic Religious Buildings Alliance : fundraising top 10 tips and here
- ChurchBuild : funding your church building project
- Parish Resources : buildings / funding them
- Gifted Philanthrophy : webinars for major project planning and capital campaigns
Setting up a fundraising or Friends group
It’s a good idea to set up a group of people with responsibility for fundraising. They should be enthusiastic, organised, have time to commit to the project and not be afraid of knock backs.
They need to be kept appraised of the project plans and with how the project developed once it has started.
Some churches have benefitted from setting up a separate Friends or heritage group to fund and manage projects entirely. With a clear constitution, aims and objectives it is sometimes easier for a separate group to fundraise for and manage some projects (in close partnership with the church).
- Our guide to setting up a Friends Group for your church includes key information.
Setting a budget
Having a clear and detailed budget for your project is essential, especially if you want to ask for funding from grant giving organisations. Spend time on getting it right, and it can be a real asset to your cause, and actually make your fundraising easier.
- To get started, read our guide to creating a budget for fundraising
Most grant giving bodies require an application form and supplementary information. These are usually requested online.
Use your project plan to make as many applications as you can, at the same time. Identify funders, what they fund, deadlines, likely grant award, what needs to be in place before approaching them etc.
Most will not fund activities that have already taken place, DO NOT START WORK on your project until you have received confirmation of funding.
Soliciting large donations from individuals is usually done through personal introductions or networking.
Never underestimate the value of your church to local people and those who may have family connections with the area.
- Our website has a guide on how best to raise funds from potential donors
Local community fundraising
From a bake sale to a teddy bear theme park… fundraising events are not only a great way to raise money, they are also brilliant at encouraging local people to come along and get involved.
- Our website has a handy guide to ideas for local fundraising
Online / text fundraising and contactless donations
Online and text giving is growing, as are contactless cash transactions. It is quick, easy and can be very beneficial, if you choose the provider that is right for you.
For ongoing fundraising, use something like a JustGiving page (there are others), where you can describe your project and encourage people to donate through the page via social media and other means.
For spur of the moment donations, use something like a text giving service, where you can allocate a text number to a particular project or cause, for example a window which needs restoration. The donation comes to you via the texters' phone bill.
- Take a look at our guide to making the most of using online and text giving to help your church building project
Crossing the Threshold: Chapter 10: Raising the Funds will show you how to develop a fundraising strategy which is a written plan that details your funding objectives and how you are going to achieve them.
Crossing the Threshold: Chapter 11: Identifying the right external funders helps you identify the funders most likely to fund your particular project and how to manage the process of making applications.
Crossing the Threshold: Chapter 12: Completing Applications : selling your project to funders explains how to complete application forms in the most effective manner.