Our church plans to enlarge and improve its old Church
Room for both existing and potential use by new groups. Have you
written any books on the subject of fund-raising and about
church-related building projects? We are a small group with
ex-teachers and some IT support.
THE answer is yes, to the question about the book. My UK
Church Fundraising Handbook is still on target for most of
your fund-raising, although the chapter on funding from government,
local and national, is no longer very helpful, as so much
disappeared from that sector when the recession and the changeof
government happened. But donot give up on local-government funding:
ask your local councillors and council officers if there are any
funds that might help you.
Chapters on trust funding and local fund-raising are still
For grant-making trusts that may be of help, there are several
possible websites. I use trustfunding.org.uk, and, although a
subscription is expensive, it is better at finding sources of
capital funds than other sites that I have tried.
Do check the Lottery funding streams. Each has its own
independent and idiosyncratic processes for bids, and more than one
may be relevant. There is the Big Lottery, that used to be called
the Community Fund, and this may be helpful on a community
building/hall; the Heritage Lottery Fund is good for church
repairs, and for building works that are about getting a heritage
asset used by local people; and the Sports Fund likes to support
local-activity initiatives, and may be relevant depending how your
hall is used. The Arts Fund is harder to access.
The Landfill Communities Fund does not show up on trust
searches, but you can go to the Entrust website (entrust.org.uk),
enter your postcode, and find your way to a list of potential
landfill grant-makers in your area. These often ask you to fill in
a preliminary form to check your eligibility, or even phone to
check if you are eligible.
Once you have a list of potential sources, each may give
guidelines on how to apply and what to tell them. About 60 per cent
simply say "Apply in writing". My book suggests how to assemble a
useful set of material to explain your project simply. Preparing
the materials and description can also give you source material
when it comes to filling out forms.
I always do the most complicated form first, so as to draw on
its information for lesser forms. I also fill in bids to those able
to make the biggest grants first, as these always require the most
attention, and warrant the most care.
Your diocese may have an adviser on fund-raising who can offer
access to online searches, or advice on local trusts that are
church-friendly; there are many of the latter which are too
localised to feature in national search engines. Similarly, other
local churches may have relevant experience that can be of help to
With regard to finding your way collectively through the process
of building works, I suggest that, alongside your appointed
architect, you find and appoint a quantity surveyor, whose job will
be to help ensure that the design and building processes meet your
needs financially, and for subsequent use of the building.