“With this ring, I thee wed”- churches in partnership
If you were the Trustee of a grant making trust, which of the following submissions for funding from churches would be more likely to get your vote?
- We are applying for funding for a new kitchen and toilets to make our church more accessible to the local community. We believe that by providing these improved facilities, more groups will want to use the church, including children’s groups and, we hope, a lunch club for older people who may be on their own.
- We are applying for funding for a new kitchen and toilets. There are no other meeting spaces in the village and we have teamed up with the local school to encourage parents of pre-school children to help us set up a toddler group. We are also liaising with a local music group and plan to put on monthly free concerts for the village.
Churches in partnership?
Trusts and other funders want to see more than aspiration, no matter how sincerely held, if they are to consider a generous investment in your project. One very useful lesson the National Lottery Heritage Fund has taught us is that an accompanying activity plan is a vital component of widening access to heritage. Involving partners in developing such a plan can mean the difference between success and failure. The same is true for other types of repair and reordering project. You may want to repair the roof, but is it just the congregation that will be kept dry? How about the village choral society, who currently find it too damp to use?
Forging partnerships with other local organisations can really root your aspirations in something more than fine words. Ideally this should happen when the project is no more than a “twinkle in the eye” rather than after architects’ plans have been drawn up. But it is never too late. As with a marriage, being prepared to shift ground and amend your plans, to better accommodate your partner(s) is a key to success, as is understanding what partners may be looking to get out of the arrangement.
The other huge benefit gained by developing partnerships is that a wider community will feel it has a stake in your project, be more likely to support it financially and indeed, in some cases, to come to the odd service. There’s nothing quite like a communal service of celebration when your project is complete!
Find out more about our work with churches or contact us to discuss how churches in partnership can secure funding.