Funding the repair and maintenance of historic parish churches, and other projects can be a daunting task. After paying for the day-to-day running of a church, there is often not much left in the pot for mission, maintenance and development. Nevertheless, parishes can - and do - access and raise large amounts of money to help them meet their goals.
Many parishes run on a fairly hand to mouth basis, but others have substantial reserves. Parishes lucky enough to have some money in the bank should be willing to use some of it to fund their projects or repairs - and many grant-making organisations would be cautious of supporting churches with large reserves and no willingness to dip into that pot.
Trusts & Grant-Making Bodies
It’s very common for churches to expect that they can raise most of the money needed for their project from trusts and other grant-making bodies. However, the reality is often very different. There can be enormous competition for these funds and an expectation of 5% – 10% of the total amount needed would be much more usual.
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 and should be approached with sensitivity.
OK, so perhaps you'll never raise £80K from jumble sales and cream teas. Nevertheless an enormous amount is raised in parishes every year by local fundraising events, and the amounts can be very significant for local parishes and projects.
A legacy gift is a planned future gift that designates some or part of an individual's estate as a donation to a charity. Legacy gifts enable individuals to create a powerful philanthropic legacy by making a direct impact on the causes important to them. 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.
The Church Legacy website is full of essential information on encouraging people to make wills, and legacy giving.
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 usually asked to come to the church on a specific day and give a gift. - perhaps as part of a bigger fundraising event. Significant amounts can be raised in this way.
- Resource: Planning a Gift Day
People living in a village or local area 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 - or if the church engages in a lot of community activity. A friends scheme can be a highly effective means of galvanising support from the village.
- Capital fundraising Friends Scheme booklet
- Capital fundraising Friends Scheme constitution
- Capital fundraising Friends invitation letter
More links & Resources
- Parish Resources – 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
- Ecclesiastical Insurance has provided some excellent materials to support parishes on all aspects of fundraising including digital fundraising
- Church Care – This site is produced by the Council for the Care of Churches, and provides a wealth of information on caring for your church and its contents, looking after the churchyard and developing the building. There is also comprehensive information on fundraising and sources of funding
- The Heritage Funding Directory - a free easy-to-use guide to financial and other support for anyone undertaking UK related heritage projects
- The Charity Commission - by clicking on the link ‘the Register of Charities’, you can search for charities by name or key word. It lists every registered charity