What we can learn from grant making trends

13 November 2023

There are many ways to diversify your church’s income and fundraising portfolio – from adding shop sales to building endowments from wills. However, grants are a great source of income under-used by many churches.

A large pound coin being sliced up like a cake and divided between different people who are standing around the coin.

An analysis by Giving360 estimates the UK’s grant-making at £20 billion, with most grants around £10,000. While initially short-term due to COVID-19, we have seen a return to multi-year grant giving; trusts and foundations are once again supporting charities and causes with longer-term funding terms of three years or more.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) analysis from the ‘UK Civil Society Almanac 2022’ reports that the ‘religion’ sector is the third largest by number (16,000 organisations) but ranks eighth in income (£3 billion), with over half coming from public donations. Despite there being significant levels of grants available, in November 2022 an article in Civil Society reported that faith charities face challenges in securing grants, partly due to concerns about promoting religion.

There are lots of funders who will support churches or religion. Here are some free tools to help you in your search:

1. Giving360’s GrantNav Tool

Offers insights into funders, grant amounts, and purposes. In 2023, 139 grants were awarded under the keyword ‘church’.

Visit the Giving360 Grant Nav Tool

2. Funding Finder on the Charity Excellence Framework Site

Updated daily, it lists 54 church funders. The tool also provides links to sources such as Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.

Visit the Charity Excellence Framework's Fund Finder

3. My Funding Central

Using the keyword ‘church’, you’ll find 164 active funds, with 147 from charitable sources.

Visit My Funding Central

4. Get Grants’ ‘Funding Finder’

Provides weekly email updates with open funding opportunities.

Visit the Get Grants Funding Finder

5. Baptist Insurance Fundraising Hub

Has a list of 32 funders currently offering grants to churches. This list has been assembled by researching and cross-checking multiple lists of funds.

Visit the list of funders

Don’t forget that although many funders state they don’t fund projects that ‘promote religion’, they may consider a church ‘community’ project that benefits a wide group of people locally. These could include renewing church facilities for parent and toddler groups, offering housing advice, or running a food bank.

As the lists of open funds reveal, there is a wide range of funders open to applications from churches, and there is a range in the value of grant, duration and intended use. It is a great way to increase and diversify income streams to boost financial resilience.

Church fundraising PC screen