THE availability of outside help for funding building
projects seems to us to be dwindling. Is this true, or is it just
that now that we face the challenge, it looks like a tricky
mountain to climb?
FUND-RAISING from outside sources goes around and comes around
as the years pass. At present, especially with the one-off roofs
and gutters grants this spring, the availability of funds for
essential repair works to the structure of the building, and its
"wind-and-water-tightness", seems positive.
There are a few significant sources in addition to the Heritage
Lottery Fund, although these other sources do not make the
extremely large grants that may come from the HLF.
If your project is about adapting your building, some of the
main sources of the 1990s and 2000s have disappeared, as a result
of the recession; and many of the charitable trusts that were the
most generous lost a great deal of "capital" in the same
For adapting and altering your building, searching for funds is,
to my mind, difficult at present. We are thrown more on to our own
resources than we have been for several decades.
But don't be deterred. Set yourselves incremental targets that
are achievable, and work stage by stage. These incremental targets
may be financially determined, or you could break your building
project into several less challenging projects, each of which will
move you further forward in your church development.
Decide on your leadership for fund-raising - in the church and
in the local area. A committee should have members with a variety
of skills, including a "champion" as well as those with
administrative and organisational skills, and should have six or
seven members. Make this committee a time-limited one; members will
need to chase seemingly impossible targets, and will not want to
continue for too long.
With a relatively short lead-in, it will become the committee's
task to draw in everyone in the church to take responsibility for
earning, gathering, celebrating, and having fun until all the money
is raised. The responsibility must belong to everyone, or, again,
you will wear out your most faithful few.
After a period of drawing in church members, fund-raising events
that target members of the congregation can begin, and every member
can be thinking of small and large ways to engage in
The next stage is to develop activities that will draw in a
wider catchment: people who want a challenge, or family events, or
festivals and sponsored events. The list can be endless, but the
success will depend on choosing activities and events that the
congregation and people in the area will buy into; and challenges
that people will enjoy whether or not they are churchgoers.
I think the committee should not even try to organise, run, or
co-ordinate the small events, such as coffee mornings and cake
sales, but should concentrate instead on the larger occasions that
take well-constructed publicity and a team of people to make the
Above all, the church is a community of volunteers, and no one
should feel dragged down by fund-raising. Here, the committee has
its most significant part to play: the magic is to inspire everyone
to go an extra mile willingly and happily. Don't forget that good
organisers - even volunteer ones - get a kick out of a job well
done. Communication throughout the church to create an environment
of inspiring challenge is the key.
Send issues and questions to maggie