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/ 23 February 2017

How to raise money for your community outreach

A community tournament game, courtesy of Ambassadors Football

Reading Matthew Hall’s blog on resourcing a physical activity or sports ministry last week, got me thinking about how parishes could raise money to set up and run these projects.

There is absolutely no doubt that using people’s interests to connect with them and introduce them to God’s love and His Good News definitely works. In a previous life, I was a Trustee for a local Youth for Christ initiative where churches were able to work with local schools and book a football cage, with a team of (young) sports coaches during school holidays to engage with the children and young people in their area. Those attending were charged a nominal fee to cover the cost of the refreshments provided.

It was a complete and utter ‘sell-out’ for the young people – especially because the area was one of high deprivation and poor infrastructure so there was very little for the youngsters in the area to do.

Sometimes, opportunities for funding arise with quite a short application time. Comic Relief’s latest strand ‘Levelling the Field, UK’  for organisations working in partnership in the UK, which use the power of sport to empower women and girls to reach their full potential is one such strand.

It is a £1 million initiative funded by Comic Relief and the Treasury to support projects in the UK. Applications are welcome for a minimum of £30,000 and a maximum of £250,000, over a period of between 12 and 36 months. Comic Relief is also encouraging a variety of different types of projects – a pilot for an innovative piece of work or the continued development of a proven piece of work. Funding is available for project delivery, research, or for a campaign so it has a very broad spectrum.

However, the fund is only open for a 10-week window with the closing date for applications given as midday 16th March 2017.

Therefore, if you are already doing some of this type of activity in partnership, you might be able to sneak in an application before the closing date above.

Looking ahead, it is well worth keeping an eye on the Comic Relief website: this funder offers several other funding strands including improving the health of vulnerable and disadvantaged people and building stronger communities in areas of disadvantage, deprivation and poverty

Other funders give a much longer lead-in time, with several application dates for a particular fund to help those interested research and plan their outreach. Lottery funders quite often follow this route. As an example in 2017, the Postcode Community Trust will focus on grassroots community sports, arts, recreation, physical and mental health projects. Although the first round of applications closed on 10 February, those interested in submitting an expression of interest for funding will be able to do so between 1 and 18 August 2017.  We also recommend you sign up to the London Community Foundation and People’s Health Trust for regular updates on funding pots for community projects.

And finally, another top tip:

Whatever you are fundraising for, when it comes to applying for grants, many Foundations will ask two questions:

  1. How do you know this is what the community wants?
  2. What fundraising is the church arranging to support these initiatives?

To help you answer these questions, the fundraising team have put together some useful toolboxes which you can find here. Included is information on how to carry out a Community Audit to help the parish better understand its congregation and neighbourhoods and Mission Action Plans which are integral to strategic planning and delivery of effective mission and ministry by parishes in the Diocese of London.

Carol Ward (MInstF), Parish Fundraising Manager for the London Diocesan Fund is a fundraiser with over 20 years’ experience of working with the many different fundraising streams that are needed in a fundraising strategy.  For more information, e-mail Carol or visit the Fund My Church pages of the website. You can also follow us on twitter using the handle @fundmychurch.

Photo courtesy of Ambassadors Football.


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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