Stewardship as we recover from a time of distancing


Up till now, this page has been keeping you updated with stewardship advice during a time of distancing, but we are now starting to think about how we can get back to something more approaching normality.

Therefore we will now be adding stewardship resources that might help your parish as they enter this new stage.

Please email Naomi  or Clare who will be delighted to help you if you have further questions. 

1. Get ready to welcome people back to your buildings

If you are opening up (and especially if you area a heritage building, and expecting visitors), you should investigate the 'good to go' scheme. This will help you to evaluate your Covid-19 preparedness, with useful checklists, and enable you to display a certificate to reassure visitors. 

Parish Resources are constantly updating a page of useful financial advice for churches during Covid-19 too, so again this is worth keeping an eye on. They also have some hand santiser supplies available through Parish Buying. 

Don't miss the chance to do a thorough check not just of buildings, but outside too - even large trees can be a health and safety hazard if not checked regularly.

The National Church has designed resources to encourage people back to church available through their print hub.

The National Churches Trust has provided links to all sorts of resources, including maintenance information, grants advice and other helpful advice on their page about opening your church.

2. Get contactless giving set up- and don't be afraid to run an appeal

The government recommend that churches switch to contactless and avoid cash. 

You'll find great information here including some extremely competitive rates negotiated by parish buying.

You can also provide a QR code so that people can donate via their mobile (see point 2  below) - there are lots of free QR code generators online.

We are hearing that many charities are reporting an increase in giving, and churches too - so don't be afraid to ask! People naturally want to help, but the current restrictions mean that many are unable to help in practical ways.If you have had to use reserves during the crisis, now might be a good time to make sure they are brought back to a good level - about 2 or 3 months running costs would be a good place to start.

See Stewardship's article about church reserves in light of Covid-19. If you have more than the recommended amount held in reserve, then make sure you have a clear reserves policy and a plan for spending the money. Here is general guidance on reserves from The Charity Commission, and more specific guidance from Parish Resources, and from Stewardship.

Gift Aid: we have received confirmation from HMRC that where churches normally make use of the Gift Aid Small Donation Scheme (GASDS) in relation to small gifts given in weekly envelopes, they are happy to accept gift aid claims for separate weekly envelopes containing £30 or less given when Church buildings re-open or multiple gifts given in one envelope with a declaration stating how much was donated each week and the relevant dates. Info here.

3. Set up online or regular giving options - it can be easier than you think

At this time, it is key to make giving as simple as possible. Online donation platforms are key, and are easier to set up than you might think. Please see below.

The National Church team have just published this encouraging giving online advice, which includes an animation you can customise via your 'A Church Near  You' login, although you can use the customised video however you wish. The animation has recently been updated to reflect the fact that some churches are now partially back in their own buildings. CofE churches should have their own entry on 'A Church Near You' website, and ACNY have now published information on how to set up an online giving page on the ACNY website. (You will need to set up an online giving provider first). You can also watch this ten minute step-by-step video to explain how to set up online giving. Do contact Naomi or Clare if you have any questions!

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.  There's a little video to help you: https://vimeo.com/417954021 Obviously, this is only useful to churches who have an online giving page so dp sign up for that as well https://www.parishbuying.org.uk/online-giving.‚Äč

We warmly recommend The National Church's very popular online giving webinars. See which topics and dates are available.

Very quick, simple, and cheap online giving solution:

You can now create a very simple online giving page with market-leading transaction rates via Parish Buying. You can use your existing SumUp account, or create a new one (takes 24 hours), and from there, it is five minutes work to create a page through the Give a Little app. (If you don't want the £19 card reader and just want the online account just click 'I already have a reader' when prompted.) All instructions are on the giving online page  - you can get to the SumUp info via the first link. (You may need to log into your Parish Buying account first). 

This parish resources page has a complete overview of all the online options available, and we've also produced a diocesan How to... Set up an Online giving page to guide you through the process

You may like to know that Data Developments' platform My Giving Online is being offered for free for 90 days (with potential for extension and no obligation to continue). Please see here for more information on the platform and free training videos: https://www.datadevelopments.co.uk/services/. And the I Know Church software package is also being offered for free until 30th Sept with no obligation to purchase. 

Parish Giving Scheme phone option

If your church is already registered with PGS, then new donors will be able to sign up to a regular gift over the phone - just make sure your parishioners have your unique PGS code. Over 500 signed up in the first 18 days, so this has proved popular. The PGS has great benefits for your church - simplified admin, no cost to you, monthly cash flow... get your parish signed up today if you haven't already!

If you want to send round PDF versions of the direct debit form, Naomi can now help you by providing forms specific for your church. Also, if you want to register during lock-down, just contact Naomi. 

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. You can find links to template forms here. Ensure that people choosing this option are provided with all the details needed to make a payment:

  • Church bank account name
  • bank name, sort code, account number.

You should ask people to include their name within the payment reference so you can record their giving and claim Gift Aid where you hold a current Gift Aid declaration for them.

 

 

4. Be prepared for questions about legacies and in-memory giving. Here's the best site for advice...
The media are reporting a large increase in demand for will-writing services, and the process of updating or writing a will and letting family know ones wishes can put people's minds at rest. If you are approached about legacies or in memoriam giving, the CofE has produced an excellent legacy website. If you have a website, or a newsletter, do make this information available online so people can access it directly, without needing to ask. Further information on dealing with loss during the Coronavirus outbreak is available from Cruse.
5. Do talk to us - we are here to help and support! And what to do if you're facing financial difficulties...

If you have questions about any of the above, please talk to us. We can also help as usual with queries on grants, contactless giving, the Parish Giving Scheme, legacies and so on. As we are working from home, it's best to get hold of us by email and our email addresses are at the top of the page.

If you think you may need to drastically reduce costs, please remember that Parish Share is essential – it pays for our clergy, who are vital, particularly at this present time. We understand that some parishes may be in difficult situations, and we'd encourage us to please talk to us first if you have any concerns about meeting your Parish Share commitments. There are also some good suggestions from Stewardship including a very helpful webinar.

Eccelesisastical have been working to provide a Fundraising Hub which has collected together the very latest guidance on which grants and trusts churches can apply to during Covid-19. One new fund that you may well find of interest is Hope Beyond, from All Churches Trust.

The Archdeacons are also available to support you. Please contact them by email:

UPDATE 3rd June: Download the ten stewardship considerations checklist to help you think through all the things you can do if you are struggling.

Further resources (most of these pages are regularly updated)

Parish Resources Covid-19 financial advice page. - Essential advice.

Church of England guidance on and tools for giving and donations

Advice on Reopening your church

Stewardship's Covid-19 financial advice pages - some really useful info here.

Ecclesiastical Fundraising Hub - lists of grants and trusts for churches during Covid-19, and advice on applying