Funding sources

‘Official’ sources

Funding for energy efficiency and renewables are available from a number of sources, including the Government, energy companies, and local organisations.

Most grants for capital investment have been discontinued in favour of the Feed-in Tariffs and Renewable Heat Incentive – payments for electricity and heat generated – and low-interest loans. YouGen provide a short Introduction to financial incentives for renewable energy and energy saving.

EcoChurch Southwest provides low-cost loans to support churches in fitting solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to the roofs of their buildings. Please contact us for more information, or if you are interested in pursuing this action.

Further guides and information on possible funding sources:

Crowdfunding

The following is taken from a feature article published in the Church Times in 2013 (pdf).

Crowdfunding is one way of raising finance which can benefit church and community projects, and offer ethical  projects for donors and investors. It takes traditional fund-raising online, and utilises the potential of internet and social-media sites to communicate aims and receive funds.

There are several different types of crowdfunding …

  • Donation model – backers of the project simply donate funds to a good cause
  • Rewards model – backers pledge funds towards a project in return for related rewards, and the satisfaction of feeling that they have supported a good cause
  • Interest model – backers provide a loan, and expect a return in the form of interest
  • Equity models – backers buy a stake in the project, and expect a return in the form of a share of the profits

… and there are many many platforms. The following may be of interest, but see also the tips below.

  • Solar Schools – raising funds for solar panels on schools, used by a number of Church of England schools; donation model
  • Spacehive – civic and community-based projects; donation model
  • Microgenius – community-based renewable energy projects; investment model
  • Abundance Generation – UK ethical and sustainable energy projects; investment model

Crowdfunding Tips

1. Pick your model and platform

First research the different types of crowdfunding models to find which best suits your needs: donation, reward, equity, etc. Then you’ll need to find a website to host your crowdfunding campaign. Take a look at for example this  “Ultimate List of Crowdfunding and Fundraising Websites” for some tips. Consider the types of projects on each website you consider, and their fees and funding deadlines. With a rewards model, think about how you are going to deliver the rewards. With interest or equity models, consider talking to a business adviser first.

2. Budget carefully

Consider the costs of the campaign and project. Take into account site costs and transaction charges, as well as costs and delivery of rewards.

3. Make a good pitch

Look at successful pitches, and note why their pages work. Use images or short footage to enliven your page and tell your story. Include people connected to the campaign, such as the person behind it.

4. Create a “crowd”

Work to engage potential funders before launching. Use mailings, blogs, and social media several months before. If possible, involve your “crowd” in the design of your project. Target social-media figures who can influence your crowd. Do not neglect traditional media.

5. Keep momentum

Most sites require you to set a time limit for your campaign. Plan in advance when key events are to happen, such as updates, marketing pushes, or target milestones. Get supporters to pledge early, and approach your target groups only when the momentum increases. Update your campaign pages regularly, and respond quickly to any comments and questions.

6. Plan the end

Have a “Plan B” if you fail to raise the target. You can always try again. If successful, deliver on promises made, including what happens to any extra money. Success is likely to be of interest to local media, and is a good way of ensuring a bigger “crowd” for your next campaign.