Funding for faith-based organisations: a quick guide

We often get asked whether we can fund faith-based organisations – and the short answer is yes! Faith based organisations, depending on their project, can be eligible for our funding. 

Here we answer the frequently asked questions around this topic – but if you have any more burning questions, please get in touch with us. 

Can faith-based organisations apply for The National Lottery Community Fund grants?

Yes. Faith-based groups (including places of worship, religious organisations, or charities with religious values) can apply for most of our grants, so long as they have the following things in place:

  • A governing document such as a constitution
  • A committee or board with at least two unrelated members (or three if applying for more than £10,000)
  • A regulated UK based bank account or building society in the organisation’s name
  • Annual financial accounts

You don’t have to be registered charity but you do have to have charitable or social aims and meet our basic requirements laid out above. 

You can read more about the requirements for getting your group ready to apply for funding on our blog.

What type of activities can faith-based organisations get funding for?

Faith-based organisations can apply for the same kind of activities as any other groups applying. These include things like services, salaries, volunteer expenses and equipment.

The main thing 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.

We can fund activities if they are not exclusive to only those who practice that religion.

Here are a few examples:

  • Running community activities for local families for example, such as arts and crafts if it is open to the public and doesn’t involve religious activity. 
  • Running debt management/household budgeting courses for anyone in the community. 

Can The National Lottery Community Fund support community buildings that are part of places of worship, like church halls?

Yes. We can fund minor refurbishment and upgrades for the likes of church halls through our National Lottery Awards for All Scotland fund.

We can fund these minor refurbishments and upgrades if the space hosts various groups or activities that are open to the local community. For example, drama groups, yoga classes, art classes, coffee mornings etc.

However, we would not typically fund improvements to a building that is mainly used as a place of worship or for other religious activities. For example we wouldn’t fund new pews for a church.

If you do need funding for a place of worship you may be able to access funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Or from other funders, such as National Churches Trust.

Where does your funding come from?

It’s important to note that The National Lottery Community Fund doesn’t run The National Lottery.

We are one of several organisations that distribute “good causes” money generated from National Lottery ticket sales but we also manage some funds that give out money from other sources. For example, the Young Start fund which is funded from dormant bank accounts and Scottish Land Fund on behalf of Scottish Government.

So even if your organisation doesn’t accept National Lottery funding, we may still have some funding that could work for you. Feel free to ask.

Still unsure whether you can apply? Get in touch! You can find our contact details here.

Are you a faith-based organisation looking for funding? Read @TNLComFund’s simple guide to funding for faith-based organisations.

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