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Fundraising from Individuals and Companies
|Don t assume that filling in application forms to a number of funding bodies is the only way of raising money for your project. Most of them receive applications for funding far in excess of their available resources. The situation is being exacerbated by the current weakness in the equity markets, which is dramatically reducing the value of the funds and the dividend income of smaller private trusts in particular, forcing them to limit their activities in order to conserve their resources. The response of some grant-making trusts is to reduce the number of recipients, so as to continue to be able to give sums of a sufficient size to really make a worthwhile contribution to a project. Others continue to try to spread their resources as widely as possibly, so as to give some assistance, however modest, to as many applicants as possible.
At the other end of the scale, the largest grant makers, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, insist on sizeable levels of matching or partnership funding. In other words, grants from these sources will be contingent on the applicant raising a sometimes significant proportion of the total project cost from other sources. This is often a major problem. For example, an analysis of applications to the Joint Scheme for Churches run by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund (the predecessor of the current Repair Grants for Places of Worship in England programme) during the last two years of its operation, revealed widespread anxiety about raising the balance of the project cost.
A comment made by one of the County Historic Churches Preservation Trusts in its Annual Report pays eloquent testament to the problems of fundraising for repairs to local churches at the present time: Until five years ago, it was normal for churches applying for grants or loans to complete the work within the year. This is now most sadly hardly ever the case. Although it recently became possible to claim back some VAT on certain repairs, help from English Heritage and the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme has generally not been obtainable [in this county] and there are many unremitting financial strains on our often tiny communities. Most PCCs have tried extremely hard through the years to carry out repairs as they arise and thus avoid deterioration, but venerable buildings require large sums even for modest work and it is inevitable that major repairs become essential . . . . .
The end result for all but a fortunate minority of applicants is that a substantial element of self-help is likely to be critical to the ultimate success of a project to repair or restore a historic building. This may take the form of an appeal within a church congregation, or local fund-raising activities, or an approach to a commercial sponsor.
Arts & Business
For projects that might lend themselves to support from the corporate sector (perhaps because of some logical association between the project and a particular industry, or on a local level between a project and a local business, Arts & Business functions as a clearing house to bring together businesses which are prepared to offer some level of corporate sponsorship and projects seeking financial support. It defines its purpose as being to help strengthen communities by developing creative and effective partnerships between business and the arts . Further information from: Arts & Business, tel 020 7378 8143 or on their website at www.AandB.org.uk.
Further useful information regarding fundraising is contained in notes prepared by the Association of Preservation Trusts (APT). In particular, their Finance and Funding Note G6 (Fundraising) introduces the principles of fundraising, draws attention to available tax reliefs and discusses other methods of giving. It concludes with helpful suggestions for further reading.