Applications for LWF Member Churches’ Projects

Projects Starting in 2020

The call for project applications for the new project cycle 2020-2022 is now close. The new call for application for projects starting in 2021 will be sent to all Member Churches during the month of September 2019.

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) project support aims to accompany member churches in working on relevant issues in their contexts over a limited period (usually three years). The LWF supports member churches’ project work in all seven regions of the Lutheran communion.

While we are open to receiving projects related to all areas of the LWF’s work, in this round we particularly seek proposals from the following five areas:

  • Theological education and ministerial formation;
  • Church growth, including mission initiatives and strengthening Lutheran identity;
  • Women’s empowerment and gender justice;
  • Youth empowerment;
  • Efforts for Climate Justice;
  • Diakonia.

If you want to apply, read carefully the following instructions and refer to the project screening schedule. 


How to apply? (application closed)

Please send your application to the LWF Department for Mission and Development (DMD): by 1 January 2019.

We will need from you: 

  • A Project Concept Note, including budget overview in the LWF standard format. You can download the format in your preferred language from this page (EN | DE | ES | FR). Please note that old formats are no longer accepted.
  • A formal project endorsement by an LWF member church, an LWF National Committee or an LWF Regional Expression will be requested later for the shortlisted project (see Guidelines for church endorsement).

Please note that only shortlisted projects will be invited to submit full project proposals.

How much can I ask for?

The LWF will support projects with contributions of between €5,000 and €90,000 annually. Please see the three budget categories below and make your choice based on the needed resources for your project and your implementation, monitoring and reporting capacities:

  • from €5,000 to €15,999 (minimum application and reporting requirements);
  • from €16,000 to €50,999 (standard application reporting requirements);
  • from €51,000 to €90,000 (high application and reporting requirements).
Detailed timeline

Projects that are approved in 2019 can start implementation in January 2020.

September - Call for applications. Information about the new application process is sent to all LWF member churches, National Committees and Regional Expressions.

September to December - Pre-screening processes in the churches. Churches, National Committees and Regional Expressions select the projects to be endorsed and sent to the LWF/DMD. Each church, National Committee and Regional Expression can submit a maximum of  five projects in one round of applications. For each project, the church must clearly indicate the priority (one means highest priority, five means lowest priority).

1 January - Deadline for Project Concept Notes. Concept Notes (including a preliminary budget and formal endorsement) should be sent by this date to  Applications received after this deadline will not be considered.

January to February - LWF pre-screening process. The LWF/DMD reviews and shortlists the received applications. Applicants are contacted concerning any questions that arise around the applications.

28 February - Submit Full Applications. Applicants are asked to submit full project proposals and detailed budgets for shortlisted projects.

31 March - Closing date.  This is the closing date for receipt of full project proposals and detailed budgets. Full proposals must include a formal endorsement letter and the Church Profile form. Only complete applications will be considered.

March to May -  Internal appraisal of full applications.  A second round of questions and further information is sought from the applicants.

June - Shortlisted projects presented to the LWF Project Committee for approval. The committee consists of LWF staff from different departments, two Council members and two people from related agencies. It decides on the approval of projects and authorizes LWF staff to seek funding up to the level approved for the project.

July - Member churches are informed. Churches are informed of the actions taken by the Project Committee.

August to December – Fundraising is secured.  LWF/DMD seeks to secure funding of the approved projects. Budgets may have to be revised to match available or committed funding. A formal letter of cooperation is sent to member churches about the funding that was secured. Most of the time, funding is committed on an annual basis.

January - Implementation starts. Agreements are sent to the member churches and the projects are implemented. 

Selection criteria

Project Concept Notes need to meet the LWF general project criteria and relate to LWF strategic areas. The LWF receives numerous project applications annually. The most successful applications will be filled in correctly, indicate clearly what the project is trying to achieve and have a realistic budget corresponding with the church’s capacity.  In addition, the following aspects will be weighed during the selection process: 

Positive indication for good quality implementation 

  • The quality of the project planning (including the process followed and the Concept Note/full application submitted);
  • The quality of recent project implementation and reporting;
  • Management structure and quality of governance;
  • The capacity for the planned activities;
  • Evidence of strong and sustainable mobilization of resources.

Likelihood of funding

  • Positive indications from potential funding partners. 


  • Assurance of fair distribution of resources among member churches, and between and within regions. 

Church profile

  • The needs of minority and financially struggling churches with low capacity. 

Ongoing projects

  • Priority will be given to on-going projects applying for a second or third phase and churches applying for the first time. A church may be given a second project depending on its capacity to implement the project and the quality of earlier project implementation. 

Link to the LWF Priorities

  • Applying projects should clearly relate to one of the LWF priority areas and promote the achievement of the shared commitments of the LWF. They should also respond to the needs of member churches and contextual challenges.

Gender and youth participation

  • Adequate representation of women and youth in the project planning and implementation phase. 

Ownership and commitment

  • Priority is given to projects that mobilize local resources. 


  • Strong sustainability component. 
Application documents

Concept Note

The Project Concept Note should describe briefly, but in enough detail, what the project aims to achieve, why it is being launched and how it will be implemented. The format also includes a budget overview. 

Shortlisted projects will be invited to submit full project proposals by 31 March.

Project concept note: EN | DE | ES | FR

Project duration and renewal

Most projects are approved for a period of three years.  After completion, a project can be renewed for a new three-year phase. A project cannot be renewed more than two times. This means that the maximum duration of a project is nine years.

If you wish to apply for a new three-years phase, follow the same procedure as for new projects. In order to avoid a gap in-between two project phases, please keep in mind that the approval process takes 12 months. Therefore, if for instance the ongoing project ends in December 2019, the application should be sent at latest the 1st of January 2019 so that the new phase can start in January 2020.