Finding the money to fund the repair and maintenance of historic parish churches, providing kitchens and toilets, or other projects is a very difficult task. After paying for the day-to-day running of a church, there is often not much left. Nevertheless, parishes can - and do - access and raise large amounts of money to help them meet their goals.
On this page, we cover:
Many parishes run on a fairly hand-to-mouth basis, but others have substantial reserves. Parishes lucky enough to have some money in the bank should be willing to use some of it to fund their projects or repairs - and most grant-making organisations would be cautious of supporting churches with large reserves and no willingness to dip into that pot.
It’s very common for churches to expect that they can raise most of the money needed for their project from trusts and other grant-making bodies. However, the reality is often very different. There can be enormous competition for these funds and an expectation that trusts will fund 5% – 10% of the total amount needed is more realistic.
For advice on how to go about applying for grants and a national list of grant-making organisations visit this page
For further information look here.
In theory, it should be easier to find one large donation than a lot of small ones, and seeking large amounts from individuals is a standard fundraising technique. We do encourage parishes to explore this option, although we recognise that this is a difficult area for some parishes and should be approached with sensitivity.
A guide to major donor fundraising can be found here.
OK, so perhaps you'll never raise £80K from jumble sales and cream teas. Nevertheless, an enormous amount is raised in parishes every year by local fundraising events, and the amounts can be very significant for local parishes and projects.
An internet search for ‘local fundraising ideas’ should bring up plenty of ideas prepared by all sorts of charities.
Easyfundraising is worth thinking about. If your congregation shops online, they can choose to make your church their chosen charity and anytime they buy something a small percentage of that transaction goes to your church. There are a large number of companies participating, including Amazon, Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Argos and John Lewis.
Easyfundraising also has a lot of local fundraising ideas on their website.
A legacy gift is a planned future gift that designates some or part of an individual's estate as a donation to a charity. Legacy gifts enable individuals to create a powerful philanthropic legacy by making a direct impact on the causes important to them. Legacy income is sometimes used to fund repairs and other church building works. In 2017 churches in the Diocese of Canterbury received over £700,000 in legacies - so it is well worth every church taking the simple steps needed to encourage bequests.
Information on encouraging legacy giving can be found here.
The Church Legacy website contains essential information on encouraging people to make wills and legacy giving.
A gift day may be held when the target is almost reached and a final push is needed. The church membership and others living in the locality are usually asked to come to the church on a specific day and give a gift. - perhaps as part of a bigger fundraising event. Significant amounts can be raised in this way.
A briefing on how to plan a gift day can be found here.
People living in a village or local area who are not churchgoers are often happy to contribute to the maintenance and repair of the Church, particularly if it is beautiful or historically important - or if the church engages in a lot of community activity. A friends scheme can be a highly effective means of galvanising support from the village.
This booklet is a long-established guide on setting up and running a friends’ scheme.
A general appeal letter sent to every house in the village rarely has any effect, but this template has been known to have some limited success.
Parish Resources – this site is produced by the National Stewardship office for the Church of England and is packed with really useful information, including a very good series of guides on fundraising, and lists of trusts. It hasn’t been updated recently, but the basic information is still relevant
Ecclesiastical Insurance has provided some excellent materials to support parishes on all aspects of fundraising. Charity Fundraising Hub | Fundraising (ecclesiastical.com) They also have information on digital fundraising: Digital fundraising FAQs | Church Fundraising | Ecclesiastical
Churchcare is a website produced by the Council for the Care of Churches and provides a wealth of information on caring for your church and its contents, looking after the churchyard and developing the building. There is also comprehensive information on fundraising and sources of funding.
The Heritage Funding Directory is managed by The Heritage Alliance and the Architectural Heritage Fund. It is a free guide to financial support for anyone undertaking UK-related heritage projects. This is a useful starting point for navigating funding sources.
The Charity Commission can be a useful source of information. By clicking on the link ‘the Register of Charities’, you can search for charities by name, key word or charity number. It contains information about the objects of a charity, trustees and financial information. There will be accounts filed which often list who they have given grants to, and how much, which will help you decide whether it is worth applying to them, and how much to ask for.
The Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme makes grants towards the VAT incurred in making repairs and carrying out alterations to listed buildings mainly used for public worship: Listed Places of Worship (LPW) Grant Scheme