Many churches need to think more creatively about funding their ministries in today’s environment. Church planter and consultant Rosario Picardo provides tips and resources for those interested in exploring the potential of grants and crowdfunding.
Grants are often a mystery for churches and are overlooked as a potential funding source for new projects or programs. While it is true that grants are not a typical source of funding congregations, many churches have benefited from grants that align with the mission and values of grant makers.
Churches can use crowdfunding to raise a lot of money in a little time, while also raising awareness for the outreach efforts of the church.
Here are some suggestions to learn more:
- Begin by understanding how grants relate to your church’s tax-exempt status. Review information at Grantspace.org.
- Take a local class on grant-writing, or consider this free course online at Grantspace.org.
- Invite and designate a person or group within the church whose gifts and calling line up as the church’s grant writers.
- Find charitable foundations whose missions and values line up with yours.
- Pay special attention to local and family foundations.
- Understand the commitments, obligations, and restrictions that your church may be taking on by receiving a grant.
- Check out the book Winning Grants to Strengthen Your Ministry by Joy Skjegstad.
Crowdfunding is another way to raise money for a specific endeavor from a large number of people using the web. Churches can use this option to raise a lot of money in a little time, while also raising awareness for the outreach efforts of the church.
While many crowdfunding companies have made their platforms easy to learn and easy to use, it would again be advisable to find the person or group of people in your community with a knack and a desire for this type of work. People who would be a good fit for this work would have basic technical know-how to both understand the online crowdfunding platform and to be able to explain it to others wishing to contribute; communication skills, whether PR or marketing related; and financial acumen. An article on Crowd101.com provides more ideas.
This article originally appeared on Rosario Picardo’s blog, Picardo Coaching, and is used by permission. Rosario is author of Funding Ministry with Five Loaves and Two Fishes, available from Amazon and Cokesbury.
- Crowdfunding for Congregations and Faith-related Non-profits (PDF), a guidebook by Adam J. Copeland, Director of Stewardship Leadership at Luther Seminary in St. Paul
- Doing Mission Fundraising Well by Lisa Kipp
- Some Old Handbells Became Our Fish and Loaves by Rosario Picardo