Finding Funding: Grants for Church Buildings
Everyday somewhere in the Diocese of London someone is filling out a grant application form. Probably. It’s one of those activities that’s often talked about, and casually conjured up ‘oh, we’ll get a grant for that’. But the actual practical business is more than a little time consuming. Here’s some brief advice for the early stages.
Let’s assume you know what it is you need money for. Can you explain it to a stranger? Does it have an obvious start and finish? How much is it going to cost? What might happen if you’re not able to fund it? Is it urgent? Getting a handle on these facts and figures is essential at the outset. If you’re not convinced of the importance of your project, will you be able to convince others?
Searching for eligible grant funders is an emotional roller coaster. Sadly those emotions are generally frustration, exhaustion, disappointment, weariness, and despair, with the occasional glimmer of light. In that respect it’s not too dissimilar from online dating. One imagines.
To avoid the above, simply download the document ‘Grants for Church Buildings‘ and you’ll find a plethora of grant funders interested in church buildings. It’s certainly not a definitive list, but it’s a good start and will hopefully save you repeating the same search that so many parishes have had to carry out before.
As a wise woman once told me (Eleanor Gill, Legacy and Funding Officer at Church House), fundraising is all about relationships. It doesn’t matter whether you’re fundraising through legacies and donations, or through massive charitable trusts, developing a good relationship is essential.
A good relationship with a grant funder is often built on a clear understanding of each other’s priorities (stop me if this sounds like couple’s therapy). Head to their website, make sure you meet their funding criteria, look at projects they’ve funded recently. If it’s possible to do so, I often recommend phoning up before submitting an application. You can check that your project meets their criteria, and find out about any pitfalls in the application process before getting stuck in.
Remember that although your first contact with these organisations is probably going to be through a website and an application form, they exist to give money to good projects like yours! They are staffed by people interested in charitable giving and assisting with worthy projects, and they really like to hear how it’s going. Keep them up to date, invite them to see any progress or the end result, and make sure you say thank you!
This was written by Matthew Cooper, formerly from the Parish Property Support team.