Funding for Faith-Based Organisations: a Quick Guide
When we talk to faith-based organisations, they are often surprised to find out that they might be able to access our funding! Because of this, we thought it would be a good idea to try and deal with a few of the most common questions, issues and misconceptions. Here we go:
Can faith-based organisations apply for Big Lottery Fund grants?
Yes. Faith-based groups (including places of worship, religious organisations, or issue-based religious charities) are eligible to apply for most of our grants, so long as they have the following things in place:
- A committee or board with at least three unrelated members
- A governing document such as a constitution
- A bank account in the organisation’s name
- Annual financial accounts.
Applicant organisations don’t have to be registered charities. They just have to have social aims, and meet our basic conditions laid out above.
What type of activities can faith-based organisations use Big Lottery Fund grants for?
Faith-based organisations can apply to run the same kinds of activities as any other groups applying.
The main thing faith-based groups need to be aware of is that we cannot fund the practice of religion, or any activities that actively promote religion or particular belief systems (or indeed the lack of belief). This is because these activities could exclude people from accessing a project on religious grounds.
Can Big Lottery Fund support projects with religious elements?
Potentially. Our main consideration is whether these activities could exclude people from accessing your project. For example, we couldn’t fund a counselling project that requires all users to make a religious pledge before taking part. But if users were given the option to opt out from this pledge without it affecting their participation, we could consider funding the activity.
Can Big Lottery Fund support community buildings within places of worship – like church halls?
Yes. We regularly fund minor refurbishment and upgrades for the likes of church halls through Awards for All Scotland. We recognise that these are important assets in many communities, and host a wide range of other groups and activities. That said, we would not typically fund a building that is used primarily as either a place of worship or for other religious activities. However, our sister organisation the Heritage Lottery Fund offers some funding for maintenance of historic places of worship.
We cannot accept Lottery money. Do any Big Lottery Fund Scotland grants come from other sources?
Yes. Most of our funding comes from the National Lottery, but we also administer some grants in Scotland that distribute money from other sources. Our main non-Lottery fund at the moment is Young Start (funded only by dormant bank accounts), but have also run funds for the likes the Scottish Government and UK Government, so it’s worth checking with us if you are interested.
Any other questions? Not sure if you can apply?
Get in touch! You can find our contact details here.
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