Stewardship during this time of distancing


We appreciate that the current situation has financial implications for everyone, and that includes churches too, so we have put together some advice with links to information we know you will find useful. Please expand the links below for more information. We'll keep updating this as we get more information. If you would like any advice and support, or if you have any questions, please email Naomi who will be delighted to help. 

  • Updated Friday 24th April with further updates in Section 2.
  • Updated Monday 4th May with more details on grant info (Section 5) and online giving and PGS (Section 2) and on 7th May with GASDS info (Section 1)
  • Updated Friday 16th May (Section 1 GASDS and Section 2 button for ACNY online giving)
  • Updated Fri 29th May with information on Grants and Trusts in Section 5
1. Keep talking about stewardship as normal - and include 'offering moments'

Keep talking about stewardship as you always do – and do include an 'offering moment' during your Sunday online content if you normally take a collection in church. It's important to keep the normal routines of daily life going as much as we can, and giving is something that helps us to feel joy. The Diocese of York have produced some great offertory resources especially for this time . Do encourage people to be generous to charities as well as the church, and we've already heard of people wanting to donate to a church hardship fund. See Stewardship's advice on additional giving within a church.

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. So giving financially can help members feel that they are contributing something important, as long as you can show that there is a real need. For you, that might be as simple as explaining that your income from hall lettings has disappeared, while the need to support clergy through parish share is more important than ever!

Check out the diocesan Stewardship pages for further links and advice. 

Update 7th May: 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.

2. 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. There are various options, with varying costs and features .Please see this national parish resources page for 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. 

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. 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!

The National Church team have been running very popular online giving webinars. They've now added four more dates for you to book on to. 

*NEW updates as of 4th May*  

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). 

The good news is that the Parish Giving Scheme has worked really hard to get a phone option available. If you are already registered, 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. 

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. 

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.

Update 16th May

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

3. Review income and expenditure, prepare or review your budget (including links to useful information)

Now is the time to really get on top of income and outgoings, and reduce all unnecessary expenditure. Review and adjust your budget (or create one, if you haven't already - see Chapter 3 of your Church Fundraising Handbook for guidance.) 

Stewardship have also provided some answers to various financial questions during the crisis (eg GASDS, government help etc) which is well worth reading - and they are updating this regularly.

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.

If you have reserves, now may be the right time to spend them. See Stewardship's article about church reserves in light of Covid-19. We recommend that you hold two to three months of running costs in unrestricted reserves, so if you do need to dip into them during this time then also put together a plan to restore your reserves after the crisis, maybe with a special appeal. 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.

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 still working. 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.

UPDATE 7th May: We have heard that some churches that are  paying business rates have been successful in applying for the £10k small business grants scheme. If a church has a hall that is not on the same land as the church, they can probably apply. Churches don't pay rates - many halls, however, are zero-rated and so can claim the grant. Each church with a trading element or hall should contact their local authority. Either apply online if they have their rate account number or via a dedicated email address.

UPDATE 29th May: 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.

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

Caring for your Church Building during lockdown

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