Meanwhile we started applying for grants. This can be a slow process, not only can it take days to complete an application form and amass the information required, but having made the submission it can then be three months or more before a decision is made. We were fortunate to have around £8,000 in the Bell Fund to kick start the project, which reassured donors that we were prepared to put our own money into the work.
Every donor requires slightly different information and every application has to be nuanced to meet the varying requirements. Some have a detailed multi-page application form, others want a letter outlining the whole project on no more than two A4 sides; some support high church projects, some low; some bells or iron work, others tower or repairs; some will fund the project, others the community involvement; some want to match fund, or will contribute when the fundraising is 33% or 50% complete, others want to finish the project or fund a discrete part of it; some will only support the PCC because it is a recognised charitable body, others will only support the bell ringers because they are a secular rather than religious organisation.
At Calstock we applied for funds from around 36 different trusts and charities. We had a 33% success rate and raised around a third of the funds we needed through grants to the PCC from these sources (£18,000) and something in excess of £2,000 through grants to the bell ringers.