If your church or-faith-based organization is interested in starting or expanding an outreach into the community, or is in need of funds for something other than operating expenses, there are faith-based grants available. Identifying what you need helps you to find a funding source with the same goals as your organization.
A good place to begin your search for faith-based grants is with your denomination’s headquarters. Some denominations offer grants for churches for building or programing needs. If you are not a member of a denomination that offers grants to churches, but you are a faith-based organization, you might try government or foundation faith-based grants.
Faith-based grants that are provided from a governmental source and most foundations are not intended to help the operation of the faith-based organization or church! There are laws and restrictions regarding funds received from the government. While a faith-based organization can apply for a variety of grants, the service it is funding must be offered to everyone regardless of religion, race, gender, etc. A church receiving the grant cannot require participants in a program or service provided through the governmental funding source to attend services or profess a specific faith. Many faith-based grants that are awarded are for the benefit of the community. The types of projects that would qualify for a government faith-based grant are homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, food pantries, and a variety of other community benefit type services. Many churches decide not to pursue governmental sources when looking for grants for churches because of the restrictions and prohibitions placed upon recipients.
The most common faith-based grants are offered through foundations. Foundations can offer more variety, but few fund operational expenses such as salaries, utilities, supplies, etc. unless it is part of a service or program that is being funded through a faith-based grant from their funds. It is normal for grantors to request that the program or project be performed in a separate building from the church itself to ensure that there is no discrimination.
One of the most important things to remember when preparing your faith-based grant proposal, is there are few grants set aside just for faith-based organizations. Organizations receive grant funds through venues that also offer the same funding to community organizations. This makes it important that your faith-based grant proposal be completed as competitively as possible. A good way to make it competitive is to focus on the benefit to the community and the difference your project will make in the lives of those the grant funds will affect.