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To be up to date on charities, go online

15 January 2016

We are currently refurbishing areas of our church with new chairs and a new children’s corner. Someone has said that there is a CD we can purchase that has details about various charities we could apply to. Do you know where could we buy a copy?


THERE used to be CDs that listed various charities that might make grants for various causes. I have not come across one in a long time; the world seems to have moved on. Although books that list trusts are still available, as there are from the charity Directory of Social Change, most lists of trusts are online. This system also allows the lists to have ongoing updates — something that is not possible with a CD or a book.

A swift online search on the website Rivernorth (www.rivernorth.co.uk) resulted in a quick trawl through the main sites of interest.

The websites theheritagealliance.org.uk and ffhb.org.uk are clearly of use for listed churches that seek repair and conservation funds. The latter (Funds for Historic Buildings) has its origins in a really useful folder from the Architectural Heritage Fund in the 1990s. These sites have shortish overall lists compared with others below, but are, in a way, already partially filtered for the ones that will be of interest.

The website fundingcentral.org.uk is a free search-engine that has more than 4000 trusts on its list, and sends weekly newsletters that update fund-raisers on trends and information. GrantsNet is a free search engine that is about to come back online; and fundinginformation.org allows two free log-ins — so you can find out whether the directory will be useful to you — but thereafter costs £550 p.a. This is reduced to £100 p.a. for organisations with a turnover of less than £50,000.

The website grantmakersonline.com is a new service from the publishers Chapel & York; trustfunding.org.uk is the online search engine from Directory of Social Change, and contains all the information — and more — that books used to cover. Much the same ground is covered by grantsonline.org.uk, but i t has the advantage of easy staged payments, by week and month, in contrast with others for whom the whole year is the minimum.

Do look at each of these, but check the following before getting too committed: does the filter system give enough information on grants for capital funds, such as building projects, rather than mainly revenue funding? Churches, in contrast with many other charities, tend to look for funds to create facilities for community activities rather than funds to run community activities.

For repairs to listed churches, you may be satisfied with the two historic-buildings lists, and, as I did, find that even the most comprehensive lists have little to add to this category. Your local council for the voluntary sector, or its equivalent, may have lists of small local charities that do not make it to the large search engines, but may be old enough to prefer church-related projects.

There are thousands of trusts that might help community causes, but most of them will not fund capital. Many will not fund religious activity; so ensure that your application is for work that is not tied to your liturgical services, from Sunday morning to weddings and funerals. If you are really clever, you may be able to download some trust names during a free introductory visit to the site, and follow them up with a Google-type search for relevant websites.

For community facilities, if you come up with more than about 50 possible grantmakers, you may be including too many duds; or, if you are able to find fewer than about ten, you may be excluding some that could be useful. Redoing your search could be beneficial. And, to confirm your search process, ask other churches that have made successful grant applications for the names of trusts with which they had success.


Send issues and questions to maggiedurran@virginmedia.com.

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