The majority of churches have felt the financial impact of the UK-wide lockdown. Income from hall bookings and fees from weddings and christenings has disappeared, and some churches have experienced a fall in weekly giving. But what help is there for churches?
With over 130 years’ experience of working with churches, Ecclesiastical is using its unique position as a charitably-owned business to support churches through this challenging time.
The specialist insurer has launched a fundraising hub providing resources that cover topics such as sources of emergency funding and guidance for writing grant applications. These resources provide tips and guidance to help churches during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
Michael Angell, Church Operations Director at Ecclesiastical, said: “We know that there is an immediate need for funding to help churches to meet their day-to-day needs, particularly during these incredibly challenging times.
“Although churches have now been able to reopen, there is still a shortfall in funding that will need to be addressed and our fundraising hub is here to guide churches on steps they can take.”
The fundraising hub, which launched in June, has been designed to be easily accessible, cost effective and benefit as many churches as possible. It is particularly geared towards meeting fundraising needs during the pandemic. Ecclesiastical developed the resources in collaboration with fundraising specialists Philanthropy Company.
Caroline Underwood chief executive officer of the Philanthropy Company, said: “We are very pleased to be able to provide fundraising advice and support to Churches throughout the UK through working in collaboration with Ecclesiastical.
“We have developed practical, timely resources that will provide churches with the valuable tools that they need to continue their work at a time when communities need their support more than ever.”
Since the hub launched in June there have been over 10,500 visits to the pages – nearly 3,000 of which have been first time visitors to the Ecclesiastical website.
The most popular sections of the fundraising hub have been the Top Tips for Fundraising and List of Emergency Funders pages – indicating a real need for financial support as a matter of urgency.
Michael continued: “The fundraising hub is full of top tips which are needed now more than ever.
“By helping churches to raise key funding during this difficult time we can help them to address their immediate financial needs while also providing hardworking volunteers with skills to help them fundraise in the future.”
As part of the package, Philanthropy Company is delivering a series of webinars to further support churches and give specific fundraising advice. The first webinar, which was broadcast in early July, provided a comprehensive overview of fundraising during COVID-19 and beyond, as well as the basic steps and top tips that church can take.
The webinars have been developed to help build confidence and identify key steps that can be taken to begin or build fundraising, no matter the level of fundraising experience or knowledge that volunteers may have.
The first webinar was viewed by 370 attendees from across the country, with over 40 questions submitted from churches of all sizes, including cathedrals. Further webinars are scheduled for late July and early August, with all of the sessions being made available to watch again through the fundraising hub pages.
Michael concluded: “Early indications are that this is a resource the church sector has been looking for and the traffic we are seeing to the fundraising hub is really encouraging – but it also shows that there is unfortunately a high need for support.
“We hope that churches find these resources helpful both now and into the future as our communities come back together.”
Ecclesiastical has launched a dedicated telephone helpline for church customers who need assistance using the resources on 0345 601 9959. The fundraising hub and accompanying resources can be found at the Ecclesiastical website.
The churches pictured in this article are for illustration purposes only. Their appearance here does not indicate that they have suffered financially.