Researching possible donors and funders

16 September 2020

Successful fundraising and grant applications begin with research into possible donors and funders.

Useful tips when researching possible donors and funders

There are a number of factors to consider when looking for funders, so we have developed some simple tips to help you organise your research.
  • Think about the type of potential funder that you want to approach. There are several types of potential funders including trusts, foundations, corporate funders, statutory bodies and philanthropic individuals who may be able to support your activities.
  • Understand the potential funder’s areas of interest, the fit with your church and the projects/activities which need funding. The funder may be interested in the restoration of church buildings, promoting Christianity or reaching marginalised community groups.
  • Funders have different application procedures, so it is important to note any key elements in their process including deadlines. Some may require an application form to be completed while others have an online quiz to assess your suitability for their grants.
  • Think about the target amount that you will be seeking from this donor, taking their areas of interest and track record into consideration.

Useful sources for your research into possible donors and funders

As it can be difficult to know where to look for funders, we have collected a handful of sources that could be helpful for your research. Some of these databases charge subscription fees, so you can check with your church’s organisational body or administration team to see if they can help you with access to those particular databases. These sources include:
  • Ecclesiastical’s list of emergency funders during COVID-19  
  • Online databases with details of trusts and foundations including:
  • Some denominations have detailed resources available that can help with your research. For example, the Church of England has developed a national list of charitable grants for churches.
  • Your local or regional church body (for example, your diocese) may have information about local funding opportunities that could be available to support your church and your activities/projects.
  • The Charity Commission has information on all UK-registered trusts and foundations, including annual reports, names and contact details of Trustees.
  • Funders themselves are often useful sources of information about how to write a stronger application. For example, The Garfield Weston Foundation has a list of resources that you may find useful when thinking about your grant applications in general. In addition, Benefact Trust has useful guidance on how to get grant funding, to read before you start your applications.
  • The Charities Aid Foundation  has information on resources and funding available for faith-based charities during COVID-19.
  • Websites of other churches (and benefices) for information on their current or recent projects or fundraising campaigns, as this may include a list that names their supporters.
To help you organise your research, we have developed a research template. This can be used to collect information that you will need to consider before making a funding application. Download the PDF for the 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 Fundraising tips

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.