SOFIA Network:

Grant Writing & Fundraising for Missionary Projects



One-Week Workshop in Rome
September 12-16, 2016


  • Do you want to learn how to put together successful applications for missionary projects?
  • Are you looking for external funding for your ministries?
  • Do you want to know what to say, how to say it, and what information to send to potential funding partners?
  • Do you want to receive first-hand funding information from two guest speakers -- the directors of two of the most important Catholic grant making agencies?
  • Do you want to learn how to identify the right funding agencies for your projects and how to set up long-term partnerships with them?
  • Do you want to network with 50 other committed religious and lay people from all over the world?

Then our full immersion workshop conducted by two experts in project management and grant winning is the right opportunity for you and your congregation or diocese!

2016 edition: 60 participants from 35 Congregations and organizations

Sponsored by



Comments from last year's participants:

“The workshop opened up for me a new world of funding possibilities that will help my Congregation to sustain and expand our missions.”


“I truly appreciate this workshop. So inspiring! Thanks a million for the knowledge/expertise shared so freely.”


“Varied, engaging, able to transmit huge amounts of information in a stimulating manner.”


“A great deal of networking took place and useful tips were shared.”




SOFIA - Salvatorian Office for International Aid: the development office of the Salvatorian Fathers and Brothers

Preparing project applications and reports
- The 7 steps of the project cycle
- Results focused planning
- Preparing budgets and financial plans
- Monitoring and evaluation
- Preparing narrative and financial reports

Finding Funding
- Catholic funding agencies in Europe and the US
- Government sources of funding for missionary projects
- Understanding how funding agencies operate
- Two guest speakers from Catholic funding agencies
- Nurturing donor relationships and strategies to grow your donor base
- An introduction to corporate partnerships, events, digital marketing
- Roundtable on setting up a solidarity or development office and working with lay collaborators

- Classroom teaching
- Group discussions and exercises
- Individual work
- Roundtable session

Brother Allen Sherry fms (b. 1948) is an Australian Marist Brother and seasoned fundraiser who is currently Executive Director of AMS. He was the founding Director of his congregation’s International Bureau of Solidarity (BIS) in Rome and has worked as a funding consultant to several international missionary congregations. This is the tenth workshop Allen presents in Rome.

Dr. Arnout Mertens (b. 1975 in Belgium) is the co-founder and General Director of SOFIA, the Rome-based development office of the Salvatorian Fathers and Brothers (SDS). He created partnerships for the Salvatorians and other congregations with philanthropists and funding agencies from Church in Need to the European Commission. It is the third time he teaches the workshop with Allen.

- Ms. Regina Lynch, Director of the Projects Department at Aid to the Church in Need
- Misean Cara staff member

The workshop is intended for religious or lay people working for congregations who are new to the field or have some experience. A good understanding of English is required.

- Registration: Monday 12 September 2016, 8:30 to 9:00 am
- Daily sessions:

    Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (breaks: coffee 10:45-11:15; lunch 12:45 – 2:15pm; coffee 15:30-16:00)

    Wednesday: 2:00 - 6:00 pm (coffee 15:45-16:15)
    (Wednesday morning is kept free to give the participants the opportunity to attend the General Audience of Pope Francis on St Peter’s Square.)

Villa Maria, Largo G. Berchet - 00152 ROME (pleasantly located on top of the Gianicolo hill, next to Salvator Mundi Hospital)
How to get there

Free wireless internet will be available.

A draft project application or data for one project. We will give you feedback on how to improve it and where you could try to ask for funding.
A copy of Agencies for Development Assistance, 8th edition, published and distributed by MPS ( They will be for sale during the workshop. Limited supply of free books is available on a “first come, first served” basis to sisters working in low-income countries. (Send an enquiry on letterhead stationery of your project/convent in that country to [not Leoniana Bookshop])

We do not offer housing, but you can download here a list of different accommodation options in Rome.
Villa Maria, which is managed by the Salvatorian Sisters, offers a limited numbers of single rooms for 65 euro/night including breakfast: contact details.

We ask for a donation of 550 € for the entire week, which is to be paid cash upon arrival or by bank transfer to Fondazione SOFIA Onlus:
IBAN IT25 W052 1603 2290 0000 0012 540; BIC/SWIFT BPCVIT2S; purpose: “workshop + your name”

The donation covers all sessions, the course materials, five lunches and the coffee breaks, and helps SOFIA to provide scholarships for needy children in the slums of Caracas (Venezuela).

Religious whose Congregation is a member of Misean Cara (see list here) can obtain funding for their expenses related to the workshop (including the donation and travel costs) through a MPSS application and are invited to contact their Mission Development Officer in Dublin.

You can download this page and the registration form on
Please scan/copy this form and send by email to Marina Saponara @ or by fax to +39 06 68629400. We suggest that you keep a copy for your own records.