Diocese of ChichesterDiocese of Chichester

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Funding Church Building Projects

Applications for Funding

Whether your Church or parish is seeking major funding or minor funding for a project there is usually some type of funding body which will cover your application. There are funds available for repairs to the building, conservation of stonework, repairs to the organ, stained glass, monuments or tombs. There are grants for environmental works and there are grants to improve church plant by using sustainable development and green eco friendly resources.

Good organisation and ‘shared’ responsibility in completing fund raising forms is important when applying for funding. Research and forward planning cuts swathes through administration and a simple phone call to the grant making body is often invaluable. The people administering the funds want to help you. A call to them first makes physical contact, establishes a relationship and can often be a reference point for later questions, referrals and follow up calls. A phone call in the first instance can also let you know if your application is potentially a viable one or if you have made the error in applying to the incorrect funding body.

Caveat Emptor – buyer beware.

Grant funding bodies dislike inadequate submissions especially when they have to guess what is being asked for. It is vitally important that all the data and information can be supplied and that you know what the question on the form is asking.

Do not be afraid of application forms.

  • When applying for funding, when putting together your application, make sure you have given all the necessary information, but without going into excessive detail. Remember that your application will be one of many to be considered by the relevant committee or the trustees of the charity. It is of course possible to include too much information - pages of unnecessary background information may be well meant but are difficult to plough through. The ideal is a short dossier of essential information, backed up by photographs or drawings where appropriate.
  • You may find that grant awarding bodies ask for a charity registration no. on application forms. Currently most PCC’s are "excepted charities" which means that they are charities but are excepted from registration with the Charity Commission. The provisions of the Charities Act 2006 are being phased in over several years. The 2006 Act either amends existing provisions or inserts new provisions into the Charities Act 1993. One of the new requirements is that excepted charities (including PCC's) with gross income in any financial year of £100,000 or more must register with the Charity Commission. Gross income includes that of daughter churches, trading activities, trusts and church halls.
  • If your annual income is under £100,000 you should state that "The Church of England and its PCC's are excepted from registration as a charity under section 3(5) of the Charities Act 1993, as amended by the Charities Act 2006”.
  • Fund raising will involve several rejections and lots of opportunities to give up. There are always more organisations seeking money than there are funds available. The better quality application meeting the funder’s objectives stands a better chance of success.
  • Learn from mistakes and keep trying until you succeed. If and when you succeed getting monies and grants given to you always you make sure you comply with conditions or restrictions that are set and don’t forget to say “thank you”. Even if you don’t succeed, this may be part of building up and developing a relationship for future support.
  • If the cost of work is very large and quite beyond the church's normal resources, it would be advisable to set up an Appeal Committee. However much you may dread another committee, a small group coordinating the appeal under a dynamic and efficient leader can be a real asset to any fund-raising initiative. Not all members of the Appeal Committee have to be on the PCC or even the Church Electoral Roll but it must be under the direction of the PCC as it is they and not the Appeal Committee which has to give instructions to architects or builders, and it is the PCC who are legally responsible for any debts incurred. If it is possible to draw members from wider sections of the community, try to recruit people with specific financial skills; the local historical society may like to be involved and to help promote the work amongst its membership. The parish school might wish to be linked to the project; an art competition in church will also bring parents to the launch. Someone should also be put in charge of publicity, organising press releases and copy for the local newspaper and the diocesan newsletter. Appeal literature needs to be clearly worded and well laid out. For this reason, it is a great help if people with literary and artistic skills can be recruited to the Appeal Committee. There should be a well-designed letterhead and if possible a distinctive logo. Good photographs of the church will be of great help, so a keen photographer needs to be persuaded to give his or her services to the appeal.

What do I do now?

Listed to the right are some pointers to where you might start finding information about what particular fund you might think of applying to. This list is only a starting point and is not exhaustive. It is a list however that is tried and tested and has immediate reference to Church buildings and projects. If you would like to discuss your project with me then the number to call is 07807 640189. I will come and look at your project, talk with your fund raising group, encourage you all along the way and suggest ways of taking your project forward. You are not alone…

Rev’d Lawrence MacLean
Diocesan Adviser for Fundraising & Sustainability