Building a fundraising team

13 June 2022

Like other types of teams, the most effective fundraising teams have clearly defined roles with people given particular responsibilities.

illustration of seven hands joining in the middle

In fundraising, one of the hardest things to manage is the feeling that you are on your own. This can be difficult to handle as the reality is much of the fundraising activity is done by a very small number of people.

However, it’s great to try and build a fundraising team. Not only does this offer practical support but it also ensures that other people are involved in your church’s fundraising efforts.

You can achieve a lot if you are clear about people’s roles and keep the team motivated. In fact, underpinning the success of many church's fundraising campaigns are volunteers who are engaged and having fun. It is a great opportunity for people to learn new skills and gain confidence.

Choose a team leader

It’s vital to have a team leader who regularly thanks the team, reminds them fundraising doesn’t happen overnight, and encourages them to persevere with this important task when there are obstacles or disappointments. It’s important that this leader also communicates positive fundraising messages to the wider church community – keeping them on board and motivated by your project.

Be proactive

Churches often get volunteers by putting a message in the notice sheet and waiting to see who turns up! Advertising like this is important as it can draw out people you may not have thought of, especially if the advert is specific about the required tasks and skills. However, you will usually get the best results by thinking of the people you want to be involved and approaching them directly.

Value transferable skills

Your volunteers may have valuable experience and skills from their professional or previous working lives. Volunteers who don’t have professional experience are equally valuable as they may be well-connected to the local community or have skilled hobbies.

When forming your fundraising team, it is important to consider the experience and skills of your team and match them to the things you need. You can use the table below to help you match your volunteers to fundraising roles.

Team RoleAreas of ResponsibilityTeam MemberSkills and Experience
Individual GivingPhoning potential donors and supporters about fundraising appeals; setting up meetings with potential individual donors, and drafting letters from

Dr Smith

Retired local GP; good rapport with people on a one-to-one basis; excellent telephone manner; personable and able to maintain good relationships
Trusts and FoundationsWriting trusts and foundations applications; managing relationships with trust managers; reporting to trust funders following a grant

Mrs Jones

Retired librarian; good rapport with people; methodical and well-organised
Fundraising planningCompiling fundraising spreadsheets, donations reporting and forecasting

Mrs Gordon

Excellent with numbers and familiar with church finances
EventsOrganising fundraising events, setting up events, overseeing catering

Ms Eve

Experience managing large group activities and events; good problem solver
Digital FundraisingSetting up and overseeing online giving page; working with the treasurer

Mr Adam

Studying marketing at college, great digital skills and experience of crowdfunding

Set clear expectations

Often in church life, people sign up for things because they are keen to be helpful without really understanding the level of commitment required. Always send everybody in the team a letter or email before they sign up which tells them:

  • how long you are planning for the team to run (for bigger projects, it is usually at least two years)
  • how often you will meet and how long for (this can vary depending on whether the team is for a specific project and at different stages of that project, or if the team is more ongoing for day-to-day fundraising. For a large project it is typically monthly at the beginning and end, and fortnightly or weekly in the middle of things. For more ongoing activities, fortnightly or monthly)
  • what tasks you want them to do and how long these might take (for example, a single application to a trust can typically take between one and 30 hours depending on how complex the project is and how many you have already done. For digital fundraising it might be an hour or two per week).

This approach may put some people off, but that is much better than having people who have to give up half-way through because they are unable to do the work that is needed.

Use all resources available to you

As well as people in your church, it can helpful to assemble a list of all the other resources and people that may be able to help you. These might include:

  • People who are not regularly part of the church but who would be willing to help with fundraising. For many, the church building will have hosted family christenings, weddings and funerals; it might be a place of happy memories, or have an association with a special person. Sit down with one or two other people from church and map out a list of who may be willing to help out.
  • Other services or community hubs. Pubs, Post Offices or shops may well be willing to help with publicising what you are doing or keep a donation box on the counter. Your local councillors, Police Community Support Officers or the Neighbourhood Watch committee may be useful contacts for your church. There may be other voluntary organisations that operate in your area – if so, reach out to them to see what work they are doing and if they could help.
  • Other churches in your area. Your diocese will be able to signpost many resources which may include potential sources of funding. Other churches in your deanery or archdeaconry may have had success in fundraising – ask around. It’s good to network within your diocese, as other churches may be aware of local funders or those who do not appear in most lists of grant funders.
  • Grant funders. Most grant funders encourage applicants to get in touch with them early in a project. They will be able to let you know if your project qualifies for funding and any additional steps you need to take.

For more information and fundraising tips, please visit our fundraising hub.

If you’re a smaller or rural church, there is resource information in our toolkit for rural churches.

Church fundraising PC screen