How To: Fundraise For Your Work In Schools

Posted on May 22, 2017 by Chris Curtis
Categories: Primary, Secondary, 16-19s,

How do you raise funds to run your organisation or schools ministry? It’s pretty overwhelming if you have to find thousands of pounds each year to pay staff and keep everything going. A couple of days ago I was talking to someone running a project in the North West: “I feel like I spend more time trying to raise the money for our schools project than I do actually doing schools work!” That’s not uncommon. Regular donations from supporters and churches are hard to come by, and even when you have that kind of help, it’s not always enough to make ends meet. So you have to figure out new ways to find the funds you need.

Applying for grants is one solution. A single grant might easily equal the total amount you raise from individual donations in one go. It’s even better if they are given over two or three years. But grants aren’t easy to get either. There’s plenty of competition and, if you’re involved in Christian schools work, there’s only a small number of grant-making Trusts who might be interested. Do you expand your work to include the kind of pastoral support that more Trusts would want to fund, or are you compromising on what the organisation is there to do? No wonder it feels like it’s tough to find funding! And that’s before you factor in the current economy and the challenges churches already have to meet their costs – before they make a donation to you!

The good news is that there really are some straightforward ways you can improve your chances of getting funding – from donations, grants and other sources of income. Some simple skills and knowledge can save you a ton of time and get you in front of the right people. Here at Youthscape we have find more than million pounds every year to meet our costs – and that comes from churches, Christians and grants. The strategy we’ve developed to make that happen is something we’ll be sharing in the upcoming SchoolsworkUK Equipping Day on June 9th. It takes time and commitment, but it’s absolutely possible to raise funds for your schools ministry or youth work, whether that’s revenue funding (staff  and programme costs) or capital (buildings and equipment).

Back in the summer of 2012 we took on our biggest fundraising challenge ever – we’d found the perfect building to be Youthscape’s new home here in Luton but it was going to be £1 million to buy and even more to renovate. We had literally nothing in the bank! But there’s nothing like a challenge to get you praying and working…. and last year we finally moved in to our new home having raised £3.4 million to complete the project.

The principles I learned for Bute Mills are the same for any project – whether it’s £10,000, £100,000 or more. If you’re prepared to put the time in, there are places and people who will fund you. But you need to know how to approach them, and how to pitch your project. get that right and your fundraising challenge becomes possible.

To hear more tips and practical fundraising soloutions, book on to our Equipping Day on 9th June "Fundraising For Your Work in Schools" here:

Chris Curtis is CEO of Youthscape, and was awarded "Fundraiser Of The Year Award 2016" by the Institute of Fundraising.

  • Barry Warren

    Hello Chris.

    Loved your recent article on How to: Fundraise for your work in schools.

    My wife and I have been leading assemblies in Primary Schools over the past 10 years. I was recently made redundant from my role as caretaker at a local church. Felt God was leading Diana (my wife, who by the way is disabled following a stroke in 2003), myself and 1 of Diana's carer's into pursuing this further. In April 2017 we launched Inspire Children's Ministry. It is more than assemblies. We are either running or looking at running, lunchtime and after schools groups/clubs, Holiday Clubs, leading R.E.lessons etc. As a new organisation, funding is a very key element. Sadly, we are unable to attend what sounds like a great Equipping Day on June 9th. Will you be producing any information to go alongside this day (notes, recording the day etc) as I would like to know more. We are very open to suggestions or meeting in the future.
    Every blessing


  • Robert Simpson, Assistant Warden And Safeguarding Lead, ST Saviour's Church

    A helpful article. We are also engaged in raising capital funding at St Saviour's Church. Involving young people more in Christian ministry both in church and outside of church is important. At St Saviour's, we welcome all young people and encourage them to develop an appreciation for what is sacred in traditional Anglo-Catholic worship. Our outreach programmes aim to serve the most disaffected and disadvantaged in society, with many young people among them; so, it is good to see an organisation like Youthscape established, in Luton, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable, Justin Welby, as Patron.