The information shown here is generally representative of EMI, though particulars may vary by project and EMI office location. Additionally, more information may be available on the Departments page of a specific EMI office location—browse ‘locations’ above.


Through EMI’s Technical Assistance application process, a Christian ministry can qualify to receive professional technical services through EMI at non-profit rates. The following is a general outline of that process, though specifics may vary by office location:

1. Technical Assistance Pre-Application. The Pre-Application is the way to start the conversation with EMI about your project. There are four parts to this online form: Background & Contact Information, Project Information, Design & Cost Information, and Review & Submit Pre-Application. In the Pre-App, an applicant is expected to give a written description of the proposed project and its purpose, in addition to answering yes/no questions and providing basic information about the ministry, property, and project. There is no application fee or special materials required to complete and submit the ‘Pre-App’, and the estimated time requirement is 30 minutes.

The Pre-App information entered online may be reviewed and edited prior to final submission. When the Pre-App is submitted to EMI, the contents may no longer be edited and the applicant will receive an email copy of their Pre-App. Launch the Pre-App with the button on the top of this page.

2. Follow-up & Completing a Technical Assistance Application. After a Pre-App is submitted online to EMI, a member of the EMI Project Development Team will review the information and contact the applicant to follow-up. In most cases, a Christian ministry applying for not-for-profit technical assistance will be required to provide additional documentation as determined by EMI. This may include ministry registration documents, property ownership proof, site photos, and answering additional questions about the project and the ministry situation to complete their Technical Assistance Application. In certain cases, a Christian ministry will be sent a more detailed Technical Assistance Application package which is required to supplement the Pre-Application material. During this stage, the EMI Project Development team will give the ministry an estimate of the project schedule & cost.

Depending on EMI office location, follow-up to the Pre-App may happen in a variety of ways. Though telephone interviews and email are most common, at some EMI office locations, EMI Project Development staff will meet with ministry representatives in person—either at an EMI office or by visiting the ministry centre or project site. In any case, a staff member from EMI will be working with the ministry to gather the supplementary information needed to complete the Technical Assistance Application.

There are set deadlines for completing a Technical Assistance Application as this has implications for the mobilisation of an EMI Project Team and the published date of project deliverables. This information is located in the Cost & Schedule tab.

3. Approval Decision & Letter of Agreement. Once a Christian ministry has supplied the requested follow-up information to EMI to complete their Technical Assistance Application, EMI will make a final decision regarding the application's approval. If approved, EMI will draft a Letter of Agreement which outlines the schedule, scope & deliverables, and cost to the ministry for the project. In order for EMI to start recruiting a team of professionals to service a particular project, there must be a Letter of Agreement signed between EMI and the ministry.

Christian ministries can qualify to receive professional technical services through EMI at a fraction of the cost, but these services are not usually available immediately or at every EMI location. The following is generally applicable for EMI – specific details will vary significantly by EMI location.


Typically, the cost for receiving professional technical services from EMI is comprised of three items:

  1. Providing hospitality for an EMI team. The in-country expenses of an EMI team must be provided by the host ministry for the duration of an EMI team’s visit. This includes basic meals, simple lodging, local transportation, and security and translation (as necessary). EMI teams vary in size depending on the scale and complexity of the project work. A typical norm is 8-12 people. EMI teams will usually be a mix of nationalities and males & females. To develop design work in the field, most EMI teams will need access to a workspace with large tables and electricity, and EMI stresses that hospitality means simple & basic meals, lodging, etc. The ministry is best-positioned to determine hospitality costs for their situation.
  2. Project Leader’s travel costs. The full travelling costs of the EMI Project Leader must be reimbursed by the host ministry. In most cases, this will include an international round-trip economy-class airfare from the Project Leader’s EMI location the project location. In other cases, this might be a domestic round-trip economy-class airfare or train fare, etc. In any case, the Project Leader’s travel cost to the project country will depend on the EMI location operating the project.
  3. Portion of project design cost. The host ministry must agree to donate a portion of the project design cost to EMI. This design cost assessed by EMI is based on your project type, scope, size, and duration. This design cost assessment is standard to all EMI locations, and EMI will communicate to the ministry the design cost portion to be contributed to EMI in the Technical Assistance Application process. As a rough rule of thumb for an average project size, a Christian ministry should be prepared to contribute between 1% to 3% of the estimated construction cost of the project they are proposing to EMI for professional design services.


EMI Project Teams are typically mobilised during three periods during the year: February/March, June/July, and September/October.

It takes EMI a number of months to recruit design professionals to assemble a Project Team. And EMI design professional volunteers usually need advance notice to schedule leave from their workplace, make travel arrangements, etc. This lead-time will be longer for a larger project with complex technical needs, and shorter for a smaller project requiring fewer team members.

In any event, this lead-time means that EMI requires a completed Technical Assistance Application from a ministry six months in advance of the desired timeframe for an EMI Project Team’s visit. An EMI Project Team will typically visit a ministry project location for 1 to 2 weeks to investigate and study the site, consult with the ministry on the design programme, and develop the initial design plans. After this Project Trip, the project design goes through EMI’s internal technical review and development and the project deliverable contents are published to the ministry four to six months after the team’s visit.

This schedule can be accelerated in some cases, and each project will have a specific scope and schedule developed by the EMI location operating the project. Nevertheless, in general, the deadlines for completing a Technical Assistance Application and EMI project operation schedule are as follows:

Deadline for completed Technical Assistance Application: 1-March 1-August 1-December
EMI Project Team visits a ministry site for standard 1-2 week Project Trip: September / October February / March (of following year) June / July (of following year)
Ministry receives project deliverable content from EMI: February / March (of following year) July / August (of Project Trip year) November / December (of Project Trip year)

Q: Does EMI fund projects?
A: No, EMI does not fund projects. Christian ministries pay not-for-profit rates for technical services that EMI coordinates for their projects.

Q: Does EMI help with fundraising for projects?
A: No, EMI does not fundraise for projects, nor can Christian ministries access the EMI Network for project fundraising.

However, EMI has observed that certain international grant agencies, foundations, trusts, or major individual donors will look for EMI’s design involvement on a project before making significant investments financially. This is simply because donor agencies prefer to see thorough project planning.

Q: What is the length of the project application process?
A: An online Technical Assistance Pre-Application can be made to EMI—it will take 30 minutes or less. EMI will follow-up Pre-Applications within 10 business days to advise an applicant ministry as to what further documentation is required to complete their application, or schedule a visit to complete the application in person. For more on application deadlines and schedule, review the Cost & Schedule tab.

Q: How much will design services cost our ministry?
A: This depends of the scope, size, and duration of your project. The costs outlined in on the Cost & Schedule tab will be defined further during the application process and documented in the Letter of Agreement between your ministry and the EMI office location operating the project.

Q: What if our ministry can’t afford to pay for an EMI design?
A: These costs may be paid to EMI indirectly by a ministry’s partner or agent or donor. EMI’s design costs are linked to the scope and scale of the proposed project. EMI has observed that if the ministry is unable to pay the not-for-profit costs associated with EMI design services for a specific project, it indicates that the construction of the project is less probable in the immediate future.

Q: We need to start building right away. Can EMI help us with construction plans without visiting our site?
A: No. Over the past 35 years and 1400 projects around the world, both EMI and the Christian ministries we serve have seen the value of the personal consultation and investigation process for getting good results in construction.

Q: Can EMI help our ministry on a project from the initial stage through to project completion?
A: In all cases, an EMI team can help support a project through the Concept Design stage. Depending on where the project is located, EMI may be able to assist a ministry in the Detailed or Construction Design stage and with Construction Management services. When an EMI office location is in the project country, construction stage services become more feasible.

Q: We are a small, local ministry without connections to major donors or people outside our country. Will EMI work with us?
A: Yes, absolutely. Many EMI projects are designed for local ministries like yours, led by national Christian leadership or the national church, or without international partners, funders, or connections. Your ministry is a work of faith. We understand this and want to support it in design.

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