Fundraising planning guidance

Writing a fundraising plan is an important step towards helping your church fundraise successfully.

The fundraising plan helps your church to identify funding opportunities, organise your time, allocate tasks and make sure you meet deadlines.

Why should your church write a fundraising plan?

Like all projects that are important but not urgent, it might feel as if writing the fundraising plan is a distraction from your project, such as supporting isolated people in your community or growing disciples. In the long run, however, every hour you spend planning and getting organised now will help raise the funds that will enable your church to achieve its vision.

Overall, your fundraising plan should be:

  • Brief – no more than a few pages except for the most complex projects
  • Informative – almost all of it will be tables of numbers, dates and list of trusts and other funders
  • Living – this is a working document that gets updated as often as every week during your project
  • Shared – it needs to be accessible to all the people working on your project. You can use an online tool such as Google Drive to do this.

What should a fundraising plan contain?

Some elements of a fundraising plan will depend on the project. For example, if you are planning to raise a large amount for a capital project, you will need to consider project milestones around the planning and construction process because trusts and foundations often require planning permission to be in place before you apply.

Your church should aim towards a final plan with the following elements:

  • timetable of project milestones
  • list of the trust and foundations that you want to apply to (including key information such as deadlines). More guidance on this can be found in the researching possible donors and list of funders
  • key dates for your fundraising events, appeals and other fundraising activity.
If you don’t have all these elements in place yet, don’t worry. Start a basic plan, which can be updated as your project develops.

Project fundraising plan

Download our example of a capital campaign fundraising plan template that your church can use as a template for its own fundraising plan.

Although it is an example, it is based in reality; for example, it can take up to three months from the point of submission for planning permission to be approved by a local authority. Alongside this, churches often need to attain faculty permissions to undertake works, which could extend this process further.

If your project is a community action project (for example, a youth volunteering project), you can still use the template and replace activities like ‘planning permission submission’ with ‘DBS checks completed’, or the items that are more relevant to your project.

‘Phase one fundraising’ is your applications for larger grants and donations. These are your lead or key donations that, once in place, will help you build momentum for your ‘Phase two fundraising’.

For bigger projects, you could also create additional monthly activity tables that will give further detail.

Fundraising targets

As well as planning your project and fundraising activity, it will be important to plan the value of grants and donations you expect to receive and when. If you have set a fundraising target, this will help you keep track of the funding gap that you are working to close. Download our fundraising targets template to see an example of how to illustrate an approach that your church could take in developing its fundraising targets.

For grant applications, some grants will come with conditions about raising other money before they will release the grant to your account or having to spend the grant within a set amount of time.

Always make sure you and the fundraising team are aware of these conditions and, if you think your church will have any problems meeting these conditions, then talk to the grant-maker as soon as possible. If you communicate well with them and explain the situation you are facing, most grant-makers will allow a degree of flexibility.