Need Funding for a Project? Check out These Options

By Central East Region of the UUA

There have been a lot of questions recently about fundraising options for congregations in different situations, so we thought a blog to help you understand the different types of grant vehicles we have available and when to use which ones would be helpful. Also we want you to be aware of how we raise money for each one.

Disaster Relief Fund

Disaster Relief Image

What is it for: assistance after natural disasters for recovery of congregation or local community through partners. Think tornadoes, flooding, hurricanes, wild fires, ice storms, derechoes, and so forth.

How is it funded? Donations to the fund from individuals or congregations. We appreciate being included in you Share the Plate offerings! A video is available to share with your congregation introducing the fund.

Details for applications and donations are available on the UUA website.

We've written a blog post about this fund in the past, so you want more details, you can check that out.


Central text is framed by a collage of images from various crowdfunding campaigns. Faithify, crowdfunding Unitarian Universalism. Inspire. Unite. Fund.

Faithify is a UU Crowdfunding Platform for anything UU related. What is it for? There are two types of fundraising on this site - for disasters and other immediate needs, you get everything that is donated, even if you don’t make your goal, and for long term projects the funding model is all or none (if you don’t make your goal, no one is charged and you don’t get any money).

How is it funded? Donations through the website from individual donors.

A note about Faithify - We often explain this by saying think GoFundMe for UUs. Which raises the question why use Faithify instead of GoFundMe?

Four reasons -

  1. Faithify is UU specific, you cannot place an item on the site if it is not connected to Unitarian Universalism in some way, which gives donors peace of mind.
  2. Faithify doesn’t charge any fees itself, the only fee you pay is the credit card transaction fee for each donation.
  3. There are UUs around the country who check this website regularly for projects to donate to, so your visibility is increased.
  4. The CER features a Faithify project every week on our social media which also amplifies your message, we cannot share GoFundMe projects.

The success of projects on Faithify depend on how well your congregation advertises the project such as through social media. Regional offices can help with this, but we can't be your only advertising. Educating congregants to keep checking the site or periodically highlighting projects to drive folks to the site will help them develop that habit. Faithify does offer a free video class called Faithify University that walks you through the entire process and how it works, which we strongly encourage congregations to look at before starting a project.

Details for how to donate and how to set up a project are at the Faithify website. And we have a Better Together blog post that goes into more detail.

    CER Chalice Lighters

    CER Chalice Lighter Logo

    What is it? Grants of $20,000 or more to congregations for specific projects to support the growth of UU congregations of all sizes, groups of congregations with innovative ideas for outreach, and even for the development of new congregations. Grants are given out three times a year and the process of writing a grant proposal and going through the approval process can take several months. Typical projects are new buildings, land purchase, building expansions, expanding or increasing staff time, major system overhauls for video/audio, and cluster projects.

    How is it funded? Individual donations from those who sign up to be Chalice Lighters. The suggested pledge is $20 per individual per call or $60 per year ($120 for a couple).

    Learn more about becoming a chalice lighter or applying for a chalice lighter grant at the CER website.

    Other UU Grant and Loan Programs

    UUA Logo

    The UUA has additional grants and loans you may want to consider, depending on your project. The three listed above are ones we most commonly use.

    The UUA has a Building Loan program for those looking to purchase a building or make renovations. There are a number of different programs that fall under this program. Learn more about the Loan Program at the UUA website.

    UU Funding Program is a denominational grant-making program of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Grants are focused on four areas: support the work of social justice, strengthen Unitarian Universalist institutions, transform gratitude for being into generosity of living or make Unitarian Universalism more visible in the world. Learn more about the UU Funding Program at the UUA website.

    How Do We Get Involved?

    For each of these grant mechanisms congregations can take an important role in amplifying them and encouraging their members to donate to the various funds or projects. For example you might have regular information in your newsletter or announcements educating your members about each of these programs, consider including the Disaster Relief Fund in your share the plate program, include these programs in lists of ways individuals can be involved with supporting other congregations. If you need help or suggestions in how you can do that please reach out and we'll happy to help.

    Questions? Feel free to reach out to me or your primary contact.

    About the Author

    For more information contact .