Should Catholic apostolates apply for secular grants

So, we wrapped up Lent last week…

… which means wrapping up Lenten fundraising appeals.

I completed many appeals these past weeks for lay apostolates, religious communities, parishes, and schools.

And as always, there were lots of lessons learned.

Today, I will focus on whether or not you should apply for secular grants. I discuss the pros and cons and what to consider when looking for funding from grants.

Should Catholics apply for grants (specifically secular grants)

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Other articles you might be interested in:

Mother Teresa and the Art of the Ask

How to Convince Someone to Donate

How to Get Donors – a Faith-based Fundraising Strategy in 3 Steps

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Greetings, my fellow Catholics, today we are going to talk about whether or not you should apply for a grant, specifically a grant from a secular organization. It’s a very hot topic. A lot of people ask, “Well, should I get the money?”

That’s what we’re going to talk about. I’m going to give my suggestions on what to do and whether you actually should get one or should just pass them up. So stick with me to the very end. 

First, a quick introduction. My name is Brice Sokolowski,  founder of, the website that is completely dedicated to helping Catholics with their fundraising. So whether you’re a fundraiser who is just starting out, or you’re already well on your way and established but possibly looking for a few ideas on how to do the right things even better. Well, you are in the right spot now. Let’s dive into the topic of today: Secular sources and should you turn to them for grants? 

Also, make sure to download my free guide, The 10 Commandments to Catholic Fundraising. These are 10 points that I have found really helpful in my fundraising. I think they’re going to help you, too. My guide has been downloaded by thousands, and thousands of Catholics whose overall consensus is, “two thumbs up.” So make sure you download your copy. The link is below. 

Okay, let’s dive into the topic of getting grants from secular sources, and should you do it? I’m going to include my notes on this topic on my website as well, so that way you can follow along and get everything that you need. 

Point number one is to understand this key topic: If you get a donation one year or Grant, (let’s say it’s for 25,000, or maybe10,000). You have to also think about it, can you get it (the grant) from them again the following year? 

This is important. If you get a grant for 5, 10, maybe 50,000, you’re going to be dependent on that. You’re obviously going to spend it, and whatever you spend your money on, you probably don’t want to spend it again the following year. So you have to really think about the fact that, if you’re going to apply and (hopefully) get the money, is there a good chance that you’re going to be able to get this money the following year? It’s really important because you don’t want to dig yourself into a financial hole. 

There will always be people who will say, Well, I don’t know what’s gonna happen next year. I just need to focus on this year. That’s completely understandable. If you want to “play the short game,” and use the short strategy with your fundraising, go right ahead. But it’s a good thing to think about.  Would you be able to do it? You don’t have to have a definitive answer. But just think to yourself, Do I want to be in a position where I might not get money from them again? 

Point number two stems from point number one: Is the source of the grant aligned to your mission? More specifically, what will your donors and the people in your community think, if they found that you have gotten a grant from them? Because it’s really important to consider aligning values and making sure that things appear — and feel — correct to the community you serve. 

We sometimes hear discussions about Catholic organizations receiving donations from organizations that don’t ally with the Catholic faith. And sometimes, we see Catholic foundations handing over donations to people or organizations that don’t align with the Catholic faith. There is this crossover of money but… Money isn’t “just” money. 

I have more to share on this interesting topic, related to Mother Teresa, that I’m going to share in a link below. I produced a video about her a few years back, discussing her thoughts on the topic of getting money, and her concept behind where the money comes from, and should it be regarded as so very important? If you’re thinking about getting donations and you want further information on grants, take a look at this video I did with Mother Theresa. It’s very important to make sure your money aligns with your mission. All money is not created equally. Or, it’s not coming from the same places; sometimes you might not want to be associated with certain sources. So that’s my point number two. 

Point number three (and this is my personal opinion) is that grants, for the most part, aren’t the best way of fundraising.

Because…  it’s a waste of time. You will do a whole lot of work hoping that you get a response (more than likely, you won’t). It takes months to get a response, meanwhile, you still need to know where you will be getting the funds for the following year, So there are a lot of unknowns to grant writing as fundraising. Obviously, if you get 100,000, you get excited. I remember when I got my first grant that was a large sum of money! But then I thought, What am I going to do next year? I’m probably going to have to find it (all over again) from somebody else. Now, the better strategy of getting money annually is by getting individual donations.

So the bottom line, for me, as to whether you should get donations from secular sources is… Probably not. Be careful about the red tape if you do want to pursue it. Obviously, there are exceptions to the rules, but very rarely. So my recommendation is, do your due diligence before you say ‘I do’ to a grant. Stop and think first, is it a good match? Also, look over my video and my article on Mother Theresa, on whether this is something that you should do, (and I don’t think you should, there are plenty of other options). 

That’s what I talk about on my website, the other ways of raising funds. So if you’re trying to figure out where to find donations, and you’re not really hooked on the idea of grants, there’s plenty of other resources for donations. So my advice? I’m saying “No, thank you” to grants, in particular secular grants, when there are so many other sources for donations. 

That’s it for me. I thank you for your attention. Share this with a friend. Share this with an apostolate that you think would appreciate the advice God loves you and I look forward to speaking with you next week. Bye!

Want to fundraise more for your Catholic apostolate?

Make sure to get your free copy of ‘The 10 Commandment of Catholic Fundraising’. It’s a book that highlights the ten tasks you should do to keep you focused on your mission and hit your fundraising target, every time.

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Brice was born and raised Catholic. After enjoying a successful career in technology consulting with Accenture and PriceWaterhouseCoopers in cities across the United States (Dallas, San Francisco, Paris, Abu Dhabi, and London) around the world, he left it to help his Catholic diocese in London, England with a fundraising campaign. The campaign went on to raise over $60 million, the largest sum ever raised for the diocese and in the United Kingdom.

Learning from professional fundraisers, he figured out the basics and then left the diocese to focus on what he loves most: building Catholic charities that change the culture, save lives, and save souls.

Brice currently lives in Texas and travels the world helping Catholics fundraise. This website is where he shares what he is doing and how he is raising funds for Catholic causes and missions. That way you can move more quickly with your next appeal.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Mother Mary and Saint Joseph, protect us as we announce the good news of God's beloved Son, Jesus Christ.