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/ 27 June 2017

It’s summer time …

A fundraising cake sale?

Now that the sun is shining (well some of the time!) and the longer, lighter evenings are upon us, many will be looking forward to their annual holiday. A week or two away from work or the normal routine can bring immense anticipation – I know it does for me. There is, I feel, something special about a break from the usual run of the mill activities even if it’s just for a couple of days!

For those involved in fundraising, the summer also offers great opportunities for a break from the ordinary with the added chance of engaging with the local – and wider – community.

I think this is especially true during the main school holidays. I read with interest the latest blog by Alex Taylor, A working holiday, and how parishes will be full of families who are struggling to find childcare for children and young people who might not have much to do all day long. Offering holiday clubs for children or sport or craft experiences for teenagers etc really is a brilliant way of engaging and strengthen relationships with those that you may not easily come into contact with.

And so it is with Community Fundraising Events.

But before anyone starts worrying about the ‘fundraising’ element of ‘Community Fundraising Events’, I thought it might be useful to share this definition:

A local or community approach to fundraising is, by definition, very specific and targeted. It involves building a relationship between your organisation and the people who give you money and who support your aims and activities.

Community Fundraising doesn’t have to be just about raising money, it can be a great way to engage with your local community, to break down barriers and share God’s love through service through an activity. And putting on a Community Fundraising Event can also have a wider reach than holiday activities – depending on what’s on offer – so that those who are single, or maybe older people at risk of social isolation, can join with the children and families to enjoy an inter-generational experience.

A Community Fundraising Event is also a great place to carry out a Community Audit – a necessity before embarking on any major fundraising campaign because most funders will ask if you have been in contact with the local community.  The joy of using this type of opportunity is that if those at the event have not been in contact, or have had very little contact, with the parish, there is a chance to find out more about them (whether through a 1.2.1 encounter or an end of event survey) which could bring a very different perspective about the needs of the local community.

A quick search on the internet will flag up a whole host of different ideas for Community Fundraising Events. More information about running a community event and other types of fundraising can also be found at the fundmychurch pages.  However, my advice for a summer event, especially if it has not yet been arranged, is KIS – Keep It Simple!

A cake stall or Strawberry Cream Tea; Pimms in the Afternoon; a Community (or maybe a Teddy Bear’s) Picnic in the church grounds – with indoor contingency in case of bad weather; – or anything else that can be easily arranged would be my first choice.

And finally, my top tip for this blog.

It’s worth remembering, that although everything seems to grind to a halt through-out the main school holidays, many funders carry on delivering business as usual.

As an example, the closing date for applications to ChurchCare which funds fabric repairs to Grade 1 or 2* listed buildings is 14 August 2017 for a December funding decision.

Also 14 August 2017 is also the final deadline to the Heritage Lottery Fund for any first round applications and supporting documents to their Grants for Places of Worship funding strand.

The National Churches Trust (NCT) deadline for this funding round of Community Grants (usually between £5,000 and £20,000 towards the cost of projects introducing facilities to enable increased community use of places of worship such as toilets and catering facilities), is slightly earlier 3 July 2017, after which the form will then close for revisions to be made until it is re-launched in September – further dates yet to be announced.

Other NCT funds have different deadlines so it’s worth visiting their very helpful ‘Which grant is right for my project?’ page before making any formal application. Please also note that to be eligible for any of their grant programmes, you must have 50% of the funding required in place. This can include any VAT you are eligible to reclaim through the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme.

Finally, some grant makers such as AllChurches Trust, run a rolling application programme so this is one funder you can apply to without worrying about meeting a deadline!

You can make an annual application for a Big Lottery ‘Awards for All’ grant of up to £10,000 which can be used for a number of community outreach and youth activities – check out the guidance here on how to apply.

Remember that good fundraisers only secure around 1/3 to half of the funding they apply for.  If you want to search for funders for a specific project or requirement do contact me for a list of funders in your area that may be able to help fund your needs.

About Carol Ward

Carol Ward is the Parish Fundraising Manager for the Diocese of London, and has a wealth of experience across many sectors for parishes to call on. She is married to Andy. Together, they have three children, two grandchildren, and a dog called Jack.

Read more from Carol Ward

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