Key terms in fundraising

Certain terms will occur frequently when you are fundraising. These definitions are shown here to help increase understanding for those who are not familiar with fundraising.

An ask

  • In fundraising, an ask refers to any situation where your church asks an individual, trust, foundation, or business if they will support your cause with a donation.

Annual fundraising

  • Day-to-day fundraising on a regular basis, which happens all year round; for example, your church’s Sunday plate giving.

Capital fundraising

  • A concentrated effort to raise a substantial amount of money for a specific project, usually bricks and mortar, such as upgrading kitchen facilities or improving accessibility.


  • Crowdfunding is when rather than having one major investor, charitable projects harness the power of lots of people to get multiple small gifts, usually via the Internet. An individual project or appeal is known as a Crowdfunder.


  • A legacy is a gift from an individual left in their will. Helpful guidance on legacy giving for parishes has been provided by The Church of England.

Matching grant or matched funding

  • A donor or funder pledges to match whatever you raise through your own efforts.

Output and outcome

  • Outputs are the services or goods delivered by your projects. The outcome is the change, benefit, or impact, as a result of running projects and supporting people. Guidance on outputs and outcomes can be found on the fundraising hub.


  • A charitable trust, individual, company or organisation that could potentially financially support your church or project.

Restricted gift/funding

  • Donations or grants for a particular purpose or project - for example, £500 towards a ‘shop & drop’ service for isolated older people or £5,000 towards a new roof. Legally, permission from the donor is required before the donation can be used for a different purpose.

Revenue or core cost

  • Anything that is a principal activity or cost, from paying heating bills to volunteer expenses.

Unrestricted gift/funding

  • A donation towards your general cause or core costs of an overall service you provide. For example, a donor may give an unrestricted gift to your church to use wherever the money is most needed.