Checklist for grant applications

18 May 2020

After researching possible funders and grants for your church, use this checklist to identify some key points to consider before making an application.

There are a number of key factors that need to be in place for success in funding applications. We have developed a simple checklist to help you identify some of the steps you may need to take before you start applying for grants.
Even though some COVID-19 emergency funding opportunities have shorter and less involved application requirements, you will still need to give thought to the following points. This checklist will help you and your church to respond to potential questions from funders be on the front foot and be confident about your plan.
You may not have each point completed, or started. For example, you may not be in a position to give a fully developed fundraising plan, but if you have agreed the basic principles, and decided what action you will take to develop this plan, then you will be in a much stronger position to apply for a grant. 

The checklist: key factors for successful funding applications

  • A strong vision, which clearly expresses what your church would like to achieve with the funds raised. This could be as simple as illustrating the community benefits your service or church brings.
  • A compelling and clear case for support which conveys the need for your project, activities or services; what your solution to the need is; and what outcomes your solution will provide. Guidance on writing a case of support and on outputs and outcomes.
  • A ‘shopping list’ of your project/activity/service costs and/or running costs broken down into easily identifiable chunks to be funded.
  • A church leadership group that is willing to commit time and resources to fundraising.
  • Some administration: it’s essential to have people who are opening post, banking money, liaising with funders. In the rush to support the community, don’t forget to say thank you for donations – if you forget, they might not give any more money to your church!
  • A fundraising plan should practically define how you intend to implement fundraising. Set out how much you aim to raise and for what purpose, by when, from whom, laid out in a clear table with dates and tasks listed.
  • With fundraising comes responsibility: for example, your church will need a simple data protection statement to show that you are protecting donors’ personal information.
  • A fundraising person (or volunteers), with sufficient time to give to fundraising and appropriate expertise and experience (or the willingness to learn).
  • An implementation plan will help you deliver your fundraising plan; clearly identify who will take forward the actions and manage the milestones set out in your fundraising plan.
  • Thorough research and recording of possible donors and funders. Make sure you have a way of recording the causes supported by these potential funders and donors, how to apply, deadlines and any requirements. We have developed some useful tips to help you to organise your research into possible donors and funders.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the impact of your project is important to funders. Reporting your impact is a key part of successful fundraising, so consider how you could do this. Benefact Trust has a range of advice and resources including a blog post from the Church Urban Fund on evaluation for churches.
  • Consider how you will report back to the funder Grant funders will expect to see evidence of the impact of their grant. Not all funders will ask for a follow-up report for their funding but it is best to be prepared.
  • If you are undertaking a project where changes to the church building are being proposed, you will have to go through an internal planning approval process. A key requirement for this is writing a statement of significance and statement of needs. Read our guidance on how to complete these two key documents: Writing a statement of significance and Writing a statement of needs
  • For large fundraising or building projects, consider creating a risk register to identify, track and monitor project risks that might impact progress or outcomes.  We have developed a template risk register to help you get started.

Next steps

Once you have gone through the checklist, you may want to create a timeline grid to address key areas that you or your church want to focus on. This grid can include actions for volunteers who have agreed to help with your fundraising efforts. An example is shown here, which shows that you may need to act fast to meet some funders' deadlines for emergency funding:
Example application checklist template

Find out more

A dedicated helpline has been set up to help support churches with the fundraising hub. If you or your church would like support with our online resources please request a call back via the church fundraising helpline. And don’t forget to keep checking the fundraising hub for more updates!

0345 601 9959

Alternatively, use our online form and one of our Church Insurance Consultants will call you back:

Church fundraising Application checklist

This guidance is provided for information purposes and is general and educational in nature. Nothing constitutes legal advice. You are free to choose whether or not to use it and it should not be considered a substitute for seeking professional legal help in specific circumstances. Where links are provided to third-party sites and resources, these links are provided for your information only. Ecclesiastical is not responsible for the contents of those sites or resources.