Raising funds for community projects
From celebrating a marriage or blessing a new life, to saying goodbye to a loved one, churches bring friends and families together.
There are many ways to diversify your church’s income and fundraising portfolio – from adding shop sales to building endowments from wills. However, grants are a great source of income under-used by many churches.
An analysis by Giving360 estimates the UK’s grant-making at £20 billion, with most grants around £10,000. While initially short-term due to COVID-19, we have seen a return to multi-year grant giving; trusts and foundations are once again supporting charities and causes with longer-term funding terms of three years or more.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) analysis from the ‘UK Civil Society Almanac 2022’ reports that the ‘religion’ sector is the third largest by number (16,000 organisations) but ranks eighth in income (£3 billion), with over half coming from public donations. Despite there being significant levels of grants available, in November 2022 an article in Civil Society reported that faith charities face challenges in securing grants, partly due to concerns about promoting religion.
There are lots of funders who will support churches or religion. Here are some free tools to help you in your search:
Offers insights into funders, grant amounts, and purposes. In 2023, 139 grants were awarded under the keyword ‘church’.
Updated daily, it lists 54 church funders. The tool also provides links to sources such as Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.
Using the keyword ‘church’, you’ll find 164 active funds, with 147 from charitable sources.
Provides weekly email updates with open funding opportunities.
Has a list of 32 funders currently offering grants to churches. This list has been assembled by researching and cross-checking multiple lists of funds.
Don’t forget that although many funders state they don’t fund projects that ‘promote religion’, they may consider a church ‘community’ project that benefits a wide group of people locally. These could include renewing church facilities for parent and toddler groups, offering housing advice, or running a food bank.
As the lists of open funds reveal, there is a wide range of funders open to applications from churches, and there is a range in the value of grant, duration and intended use. It is a great way to increase and diversify income streams to boost financial resilience.