Many churches have Friends of... Schemes that operate independently or semi-independently to raise funds for maintaining the church building. This does mean that money belonging to the Friends cannot usually be spent on the usual mission and ministry of the church.
Starting a Friends of... Scheme
Friends of... Schemes can be very helpful for supporting the maintenance of costly church buildings but there are some very important considerations when you are looking at starting a scheme:
How will a Friends of... Scheme compliment, rather than replace, regular giving?
If the scheme targets people who would otherwise be encouraged to be regular givers to their church you will not, overall, increase your income. So it is important that a Friends of... Scheme is primarily aimed at those who would not otherwise consider regularly financially supporting the church.
How will you structure the scheme?
We strongly recommend setting up a Friends of... Scheme as a sub-committee of the PCC (or DCC) rather than as a separate, independent organisation. This allows non PCC members to sit on the sub-committee whilst still ensuring ultimate accountability for the fundraising and its income falls within the PCC.
Would a scheme have longevity?
Friends of... Schemes take a lot of effort to set up, from arranging the structure to organising volunteers, and it is important before embarking on starting a scheme to be sure that it will make a difference not just in the short term but in 5-10 years time. If not, a short-term fundraising appeal might be a more efficient use of time. You might want to ask yourself: Are volunteers open to long-term commitment? Is there plenty of scope for growth? Do the events and activities of the Friends focus on short-term goals or on long-term maintenance?