The restoration/conservation project in our church will
cost up to £500,000, which is well beyond our capabilities - and
available time. We are looking for a professional fund-raiser, and
hope to pay for this support on a success basis out of funds
HAVING looked up your church on the internet, the first port of
call for the structural repair that is needed would be the Heritage
Lottery Fund. For a Grade II* church, this is the primary source
for large sums of money to pay for structural repair, and for
keeping the building wind- and water-tight. Grants are usually up
to a maximum of £250,000, but occasionally will be higher when a
repair project requires a huge sum and the work cannot be split up
Then look up Landfill Community Funds with a search on the
Entrust website for possible landfill trusts, and for enquiry
details. Entering your church's postcode will result in list of
potential trusts, and a map of landfill sites in your area. You
need to be within ten miles of a landfill site to qualify. Landfill
trusts can supply large sums; but bear in mind that the grant must,
in most cases, be seen to be spent on the building contractors'
costs, not on fees for the architect and other consultants.
Contact the Historic Churches Trust for your county, and you
should be well on your way. The National Churches Trust, though it
receives many applications, may be able to help, and some of its
grants for repairs are as much as £40,000.
Most external grant-makers expect that supporters of the church
will also make an effort through fund-raising events and donations.
Local action also enables the church and its neighbours to feel
"ownership" of the project.
On the question of a professional fund-raiser, for most parish
churches - especially those in villages - the bigger fund-raising
companies are not a good option. They are equipped and trained for
donations from rich individuals and companies, and the parochial
nature of the Church of England means that, on the whole, we have
few such potential donors on our patch.
But you may find an individual with experience who can help you
- paid or voluntary - with the work needed on the applications
forms for trusts. The Heritage Lottery Fund, in particular, is
heavy on form-writing and administration, and even the landfill
trusts ask questions that the lay person may find challenging.
I always think of the possible return when engaged in arduous
form-filling: it is the thought of the large grant that keeps me
going. You may need a couple of people to keep on top of the
paperwork, while one of them undertakes the writing.
The Charity Commission recommends that consultant fund-raisers
are paid hourly, not by results. Paying your consultant as you go
along, as each form is filled, keeps accounts short, and when a
grant is received, there is no call on it apart from the project
itself. Most of the outside funders for repair work would not think
that paying a fund-raiser was an eligible expense anyway; so you
may need to find the fund-raiser costs from your local
fund-raising, which is normally much less restricted.
Send your issues and questions to