GRANTS FOR FAITH BASED ORGANIZATIONS
Faith based organizations are relying more and more on grants these days because the economy has reduced their normal incomes from their congregational members and individual contributors. In fact, organizations are turning to faith based grants as a means of generating income for their community outreach programs or for generating capital to open a new religious place of worship or organization. Grants for churches help establish new churches and needed community programs. Grants for faith based organizations give organizations the opportunity to increase their fundraising efforts and to help further all kinds of programs. The federal government, state and local governments, organizations and private corporations all faith based grant funders. Keep in mind though that the funds you receive from the federal government cannot be used for specific religious programs or religious education. They must be used for programs that reach and benefit the entire community and not just their congregations such as programs for seniors, family programs, food banks and family centers, help for single mothers and other types of community outreach programs. You will have a better chance of getting funding for your organization if you concentrate your programs in these areas whether or not you are receiving funds from the federal government, private corporations or organizations.
Tips to Increase Your Funding
Since there are only so many funds available, and there are many organizations competing for them, it is important that you focus your programs in the areas that funders are looking for such as helping youth, after school educational programs, family centers and programs, literacy programs, senior day programs, technology and training. While private grants and foundations may give you money for building renovations, operating expenses, supplies, materials, program development and religious education, in order to obtain enough funding to cover these expenses you may have to apply to multiple funders at the same time.
It is important to be realistic about your expectations of how much money you need and expect to receive. Building relationships and partnerships with local organizations and community leaders are good ways to obtain funding as well. You may also want to solicit ideas from your congregation since many of them will be the ones implementing the outreach programs and helping with fundraising efforts. Keep in mind that funders look at past programs and performance when deciding on whether or not to award you funds or renew awards. They want to make sure you understand your community’s needs and that you tailor your programs to meet those needs. Be sure to write detailed and focused proposals letting the funder know your mission statement and how you intend to use the funds. Also, do not forget to attach supporting documentation that the funder requests such as your IRS 501(c) (3) tax exemption letter, your operating budget, financial statements, information about your board members and trustees, list of employees, job responsibilities and annual salaries. Providing the funder with detailed
information about your organization and meeting their guidelines is essential in getting your funding.