Raising a congregation’s sights

Stanground and Farcet CofE Churches 

"David Saint has vast experience and I was impressed by his communication skills and his realism. His faith background was also important in understanding the needs of what is a tiny church in a poor area. His workshop helped to set our fundraising campaign off in the right direction and to raise people’s sights with regard to what we could achieve."


St Michael’s is one of two CofE churches in the parish of Stanground, just outside Peterborough. For several years the Church Council has recognised a need for more space to accommodate children’s activities on Sundays, a safer refreshments facility, room to circulate and scope to build the congregation. The Church Council had commissioned plans from a local architect and, as part of the buildings feasibility study, had begun to look at fundraising, including possible grants. To help apply some focus to this part of the project, parish vicar the Reverend Anne Shorter asked Action Planning to share our fundraising experience for Christian churches with the Council.

Anne chose Action Planning after seeing a presentation on funding capital projects by David Saint at the Stewardship Conference. She wanted David to come and talk the 16 members of the Church Council through the essential process of building a fundraising strategy and to help shift their perspective away from fundraising events like jumble sales and towards a concerted programme of higher value donations.

David ran a one day workshop, the first half of which was devoted to the whole business of fundraising, highlighting the many ways in which money could be raised and the way to approach asking for donations. The afternoon was spent applying these principles to the case of St Michael’s, identifying realistic goals and potential sources of fundraising.

The Action Planning workshop inspired a fresh approach to general day-to-day fundraising for St Michael’s, including building a case for support, budget planning, recording donations in detail and not being embarrassed about asking for money. It also revealed that the church could probably raise more from the congregation than they thought and persuaded them to extend the timescale of the fundraising campaign.

Consultant’s insight:
For most churches, major capital projects are few and far between, so the response tends to be “Let’s do what we have always done to raise the money, but just try even harder!” In fact, the process of raising large capital sums is very different from ‘normal’ fundraising, and “just trying harder” is likely to leave everyone exhausted – without having raised very much more money. By being open to consultancy support at an early stage, St Michael’s is now equipped with a clear process that should stand them in good stead to achieve their target.

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