Experiments in Action: Daily Bread Matching Grants

Posted on October 14, 2020 by Innovation Lab

This post features information about ELCA World Hunger’s Daily Bread Matching Grants which support congregations and their partners as they work toward a just world where all are fed. Applications are currently being accepted for a new round of Daily Bread Matching Grants . To find out more check out this blog post from ELCA World Hunger and ELCA.org/dailybread.

A successful pilot

Approximately ninety-six percent of ELCA congregations participate in some form of feeding ministry, from community meals to food pantries and more. Today, ELCA World Hunger is connecting hundreds of those congregations with tools for building sustainability in the midst of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic through the new Daily Bread Matching Grants. But Daily Bread Matching Grants did not appear as a response to the pandemic overnight. They have been in development for over a year and, based on user feedback, have been able to adapt to best serve congregations with feeding ministries in a changing landscape.

How do Daily Bread Matching Grants work? Congregations raise financial support for their feeding ministry using the ELCA’s online crowdfunding tool. All funds raised by the congregation are theirs to use in support of the feeding ministry. A congregation sets a goal for raising $500 or beyond, and unlock a $500 matching grant from ELCA World Hunger. In just a few weeks, congregations have new connections and new capital to fuel ministry. Back in 2019, ELCA World Hunger piloted Daily Bread Matching Grants as a new way to support congregational feeding ministries.

2019 Daily Bread Matching Grant Pilot Goals & Results:

  1. Goal: Support domestic anti-hunger ministries as they work toward a just world where all are fed in transformative, holistic and integrated ways.
    • Result: 19 of the 20 congregations unlocked their matching grant and together raised a total of $25,480
  2. Goal: Identify, cultivate and engage new local hunger leaders
    • Result: 75% of congregations did not have a designated Hunger Leader before participating.

Responding to covid-19

Fast forward to the beginning of 2020 and the coronavirus began to spread across the United States. Food insecurity followed, and questions began to arise. For meal programs and feeding ministries, how might food distribution need to be adjusted to ensure the safety of volunteers and neighbors? How might the economic downturn increase the need for food?

“We wanted to respond quickly and make sure congregations were getting support as they serve their neighbors. Daily Bread Matching Grants seemed like a great way to do that while also equipping congregations to quickly raise funds in a pivotal moment when many people in the church and beyond were looking for ways to support their local feeding ministries.” said Juliana Glassco, Director, Planning and Engagement, ELCA World Hunger.

As part of the ELCA’s COVID-19 response plan, ELCA World Hunger announced a special launch of Daily Bread Matching Grants with up to 100 grants of $500 each, available to ELCA congregations. One thing was clear: ministries needed quick access to monetary resources to respond to need in their communities. With the unique ministry moment and experience of past iterations in mind, this new version of the grant had a key feature:

  • The $500 grant from ELCA World Hunger was dispersed to congregations immediately once their application was approved. They would receive funds as soon as possible, whether or not they met the $500 fundraising goal. This change was made to specifically address the widespread and immediate need caused by COVID-19.

Interest in the grants was significant and over 250 applications were received in the span of a few days.

In response, the number of grants available was expanded to 200. On April 3rd congregations opened their fundraising pages and began accepting gifts.

Together, congregations raised over $200,000 in support of their feeding ministries. Once the amount raised was matched by ELCA World Hunger the total impact from online giving was over $313,000.

Reflecting on the experience, a congregational leader of Messiah Lutheran Church, Schenectady, NY said “It not only allowed us to add funding for our food pantry, it also helped us raise awareness, which will help us position the pantry to be a long-term solution for our community’s hunger needs.”

Into the Future

Daily Bread Matching
Learn more about iteration and integrating
feedback here. 

“We’ve learned that, with the right tools and timely support, we can help to unlock the incredible generosity that exists in congregations and communities across the country,” said Glassco.

While online giving was familiar to some congregations and brand new for others, across the board the Daily Bread Matching Grants generated excitement in congregations. In addition to offering future grant opportunities to congregations, ELCA World Hunger is now able to connect with those ministries as they consider their next steps, even offering access to coaching for ministry leaders through ELCA Coaching.

ELCA World Hunger will continue to look for ways to unlock generosity and help ELCA congregations serve their neighbors.

The ELCA Innovation Lab Blog is new! We’d love to hear what you think. If you’ve got a few minutes, complete this short survey. If you have any additional questions or comments let us know at lab@elca.org