Winchester

Finance and Resources: Parish Support


“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” 

Philippians 2:1-4

As a Church, our first concern is for all of God’s people; those sick, those caring for others and for all those who are finding isolation and a disruption to the rhythm of life unsettling and uncomfortable. Within these troubling and uncertain times, many clergy will have a leading role in front line care for everyone in their communities and so it is vital that as church officers and PCC’s we take all reasonable and appropriate steps to secure regular financial giving and support their churches and this ministry.

When encouraging the continuation of regular giving in these times first and foremost show a sensitivity and awareness to potential changes in the financial, economic and employment circumstances of individuals – current givers and potential givers. All encouragement to giving during these times should highlight an awareness of these difficulties and (if appropriate) an offer to help.

Update on Cash Donations in Churches

The government has published the latest guidance for the safe use of places of worship. 

Please note their guidance on cash donations:

  • Where possible faith leaders should discourage cash donations and continue to use online or contactless giving and resources.
  • Where this is not an option, cash should be collected in a receptacle that is set in one place and handled by one individual, as opposed to being passed around. Regular cleaning and hygiene should be maintained, and gloves worn to handle cash offerings where giving continues.

For complete Government advice on the safe use of places of worship: Click Here

Update on the Parish Giving Scheme

The Parish Giving Scheme continues to accept registration for any new donors and parishes. The donor registration forms are being accepted in the usual way, however it may take slightly longer than usual to process the forms during this period.

Donors who are registered can still review their giving and speak directly to the team via:

Tel: 01452 835595       Email: info@parishgivingscheme.org.uk

Alternatively, a new way to setup donations by phone is available, meaning all registered prospective donors can sign up to the PGS without paper forms.

Call: 0333 002 1271

You will need your banking information as well as your parish's PGS Code to get a direct debit set up. If you do not know your parish's PGS code, then speak to your parish PGS representative or the diocesan Stewardship and Resources Advisor.

Please find all the details here: PGS Telephone Service

New ways of accepting donations: Online Platforms

At this time, it is important to make giving as simple as possible. Online donation platforms are key to be able to offer this is an easy fashion, whilst not needing a lot of administration to set up. There are various options to have a look at with varying costs. 

Please see here for a complete overview of what is available: 

Online Donation Resources

Give A Little Online Giving Function

Parish Buying have collaborated with Give A Little to develop an online giving platform for churches to receive direct donations. The transaction fee is 1.95% - substantially lower because the of partnership with Parish Buying.  By signing up to use the online giving platform through Parish Buying, churches will receive 8 months free access to the Premium membership which enables gift aid. This applies to all Parish Buying Give A Little online accounts and is paid for by a subsidy from the Archbishops' Council. 

A Church Near You - Donate Button

There is now a 'donate' button available on each church homepage on A Church Near You. This means that churches will be able to link their online giving page to this button. 

Click this link to watch a video on how to set this up: A Church Near You Donate Button

New Standing Orders or Bank Transfers

In addition to this, we recommend speaking to all parishioners who do not currently give via the Parish Giving Scheme or through existing standing orders, to encourage setting up new standing orders or direct debits, perhaps even for the short term. This would involve sharing the church's bank account details with parishioners, securely. This may help mitigate the loss of income that is usually brought in via Sunday services and the collection. 

Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme

Concerns have been raised about the operation of the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme during the coronavirus crisis, given that many eligible cash donations could be lost. Donors that would ordinarily make small donations each week have been asking if they could keep aside the individual donations that they would normally give and make them separately once the crisis is over, above the standard £30 limit. 

HMRC officials have now responded to these queries: “In respect of GASDS, guidance on the eligibility for donations for inclusion in this scheme is clear in stating that claims can only be made on cash donations of £30 or less; and contactless card donations of £30 or less collected on or after 6 April 2019. The decision over what constitutes an eligible donation is one for the church/charity to make for themselves, rather than for HMRC, but the conditions for something to be considered a ‘small donation’ are clearly set out in legislation. Where it is the case, for example, of separate donations being given in a single envelope, then if the church/charity official is happy these are clearly separate ‘small donations’ (and clearly stated as such) then they will be eligible for GASDS, as is the case where separate envelopes are used”.

HMRC appear to be happy for church treasurers to assess whether these are a series of separate donations and, if so, make a claim accordingly.

Parish Resources

The following Parish Resources webpages from the National Church will continually be updated:

Parish Resources Encouraging Giving Online

Coronavirus Financial Guidance for Churches

ACAT

The Association of Church Accountants and Treasurers: Resources and Guidance

The Diocese of Winchester has an account with ACAT so that our parishes are able to access the training and guidance available on their website for free. Create your account and login on their website: ACAT Website

Stewardship

Stewardship, the Christian giving charity, are constantly updating their website with advice to churches and charities. Please see here for further financial and charity related information:

Stewardship COVID Response

Parish Letter Example

Below is an example letter that could be sent to parishioners to explain the church’s response so far, and to encourage them to think about their personal responses, both in the community and financially. Communication at this time is as important as ever, so a letter like this explaining the church’s offer to support those in need as well as asking for continued and even further support from parishioners is key. This is shared with thanks to Richard Harlow, Area Dean of Basingstoke & Rector, Tadley with Pamber Heath and Silchester.

Parish Letter Example

Ecclesiastical: Church Fundraising Resources

Ecclesiastical have put together a suite of resources to help churches and their communities at this challenging time.

Have a look at what is available here: Fundraising Hub