Funding church projects
Funding the repair and maintenance of historic parish churches, and new projects is a major struggle for most churches. After paying for the costs of ministry and general housekeeping there is rarely much left. Nevertheless, parishes can, and do find large amounts of money.
Many parishes run on a fairly hand to mouth basis, but others have substantial reserves. Parishes lucky enough to have some money should be willing to use some of it to fund their projects or repairs, indeed many grant making organisations would look askance at a church with large amounts in the bank refusing to use it.
Trusts and other grant making bodies
It’s absolutely normal for a parish to expect to raise most the money they need from trusts and other grant making bodies. The reality is a bit different. There is enormous competition for these funds and 5% – 10% of the total amount needed is much more realistic.
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.
The received wisdom is that you’ll never raise £80K from jumble sales and cream teas. Nevertheless an enormous amount is raised in parishes by various local fundraising events, and the amounts aren’t necessarily tiny.
Legacy income is sometimes used to fund repairs and other building works in churches. 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.
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 asked to come to the church on a specific day and give a gift. Significant amounts can be raised in this way.
People living in a village 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. A ‘Friends of St Whoever’ organisation is an effective means of galvanising support from the village.
- www.parishresources.org.uk – 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.
- www.churchofengland.org/more/church-resources/churchcare – Good advice on every aspect on the care of church buildings, including funding them.
- www.heritagefundingdirectoryuk.org – The Heritage Funding Directory is a free, easy-to-use guide to financial and other support for anyone undertaking UK related heritage projects.
- www.charity-commission.gov.uk – This is the Charity Commissioners’ website. By clicking on the link ‘the Register of Charities’, you can search for charities by name or key word. It lists every registered charity.