Grants are one of the key means of funding church building projects. They are available for a great variety of purposes, including repairs to the fabric of the building, specialist conservation work for bells or wall paintings, developing cultural, social and educational projects, or for alterations that will open up a church building for wider use. These grants can help you to generate income that cannot be raised locally. They can also act as a catalyst in engaging the congregation and local community with your building.
The starting point in many cases will be to ask yourself:
• How do you want your church to help serve the community?
• What might we need to do or change to allow that to happen?
It is worth bearing in mind that many grant organisations receive many more applications than they can fund. Applying for grants is therefore a competitive process, so it is important to ensure that all applications are good quality. Different types of projects will require applications to different funders with differing priorities and criteria.
A local fundraising campaign can often generate significant interest and support. Many grant funders will look favourably on an application if there is evidence of wider community help, and may unlock other grant options.
Seven Key Application Tips
1) Plan your project! Make a list of eligible grant sources, note application deadlines, and record any feedback if you are unsuccessful. Are you able to reapply?
2) Speak to the local community about your project to gather wider support. How might the changes you want to see benefit them?
3) Research the grant funder. What are their priorities? Tailor your applications to meet their objectives.
4) Engage with the funder where possible before writing your application. Do they promote discussion before you apply?
5) Demonstrate the need for your project and provide evidence for your case. Repairs or conservation work should be clearly identified as urgent in your Quinquennial or other professional report as this can help decision-makers. For reordering projects, evidence gathered through community consultation will help with some funders.
6) Share your draft grant application paperwork with someone before submitting it.
7) Supply all of the additional documents requested. Follow their format for submission, adhering to any guidelines they set out.
Where to look?
You can download two Grants Directories below:
Charitable Grants for Churches - the main list of national funders
Grants & Resources Directory - developed for the Diocese of Peterborough. This document also includes further advice and guidance on setting up and managing projects, with details of a wide variety of additional resources and help available to you.
For further advice:
Please contact Jon Breckon, Historic Churches Support Officer