Sustaining Giving during COVID-19

We find ourselves in challenging and unprecedented times. Churches will be dependent on the generosity of individual giving more than ever as they serve the local communities and seek to be a place of hope, prayer and support during this difficult time. Our mission remains constant to be a beacon of light as we go out into the communities to live out our calling to be Christ in the World.  

In the past much of our giving has traditionally been through envelope or cash donations during church services but there are new and different ways that have been developed to accommodate the new world we find ourselves in. This page includes many ideas and also sources of grants you may be able to apply for.

If you have any questions about anything you read or want to talk through the needs of your church please don’t hesitate to contact your Stewardship Officers:-

Jane Hodgson (for the area north of Lincoln)  [email protected] or Tel 07701 364461

Hugo Cobham (for Lincoln and the area t the south)  [email protected] or Tel 07885 968608

Re-opening Churches: Encouraging Safe Giving

As our churches re-open it is important to enable safe giving within our buildings.

  • Encourage regular giving. Consider joining the Parish Giving Scheme (PGS), and promoting it as a mechanism of planned giving to your worshipping community. Using PGS and Standing Orders provides a reliable and regular income for your church, and carries no infection risk like cash.
  • Explore contactless giving options. These options are accessible and safe, often requiring no contact and meaning the donation goes directly into the church bank account. Where digital units include touch screens, we recommend putting hand sanitisers next to the unit, and cleaning wipes which can be used to clean the screen between each donation. Parish Buying have a really good list of recommended suppliers. When deciding which unit is most appropriate for your church, make sure you think about security, if you need a charging point nearby, and if you need a phone signal or Wi-Fi for the unit to work. However, some units do not need either.
  • Get a QR code. QR codes are a really safe way to encourage simple giving - individuals simply use their phone to scan your unique QR code, which allows them to make a donation. QR codes are easy to set up and you can then put your QR code everywhere. On posters, your website, on notice sheets and emails, on cards and banners and welcome notices. Go to Parish Buying to set one up for your church - its free!
  • Text Giving. Text Giving is a good way of asking for one off donations or to be used as a top up to regular giving.
  • Make precautions for cash. It is important to say that handling cash increases the risk of infection. If you are going to accept cash donations, make sure you have assessed the whole process, including thinking of those who will be counting and banking the money, and so will be exposed to risk. For those people, provide appropriate precautions including gloves and hand sanitisers.

Parish Giving Scheme (PGS) – Registration

The Parish Giving Scheme was officially launched in the Diocese in October 2018 and is available free of charge to all parishes across the Diocese who wish to use it.

The Parish Giving Scheme offers individual parishes the facility for all who wish to give money regularly to do so by Direct Debit, the simplest and cheapest and most effective way to give, and it handles the Gift Aid on those gifts.

If your church hasn’t joined the PGS yet then a parish first needs to pass a PCC resolution and then complete the registration form (Click here for the form) which can be filled out, then scanned or posted and sent back to your Stewardship Officer along with signature authorisation from the incumbent, treasurer and church warden.

The Stewardship Officer will then assign a PGS code and email it to the PGS office to be registered. Under normal circumstances PGS packs would then be posted to the treasurer with paper gift forms. Although this option is still available if requested, the PGS have due to COVID set up two alternative joining options. The first is a telephone method of giving so once your church has joined you can simply use the direct dial telephone number to set individual donations up which is 0333 002 1271 (standard landline charge).

Alternatively, you can join by printing off an electronic copy of the PGS Gift Form sent by the Stewardship Officer and then once filled in it can be sent by post to the PGS Office in Gloucester.

Wider Community support

There is now a leaflet to encourage members of the wider community to support your church through the Parish Giving Scheme (PGS). We have bene working with the Diocese of Truro to design a leaflet to appeal to our wider community audiences, including family, friends and those more on the fringes of church, asking them to ‘Support your church community for future generations’.

This recognises that there is much goodwill towards the Church amongst many in our wider communities, who may wish to support the work of their local church, but whose motivations for doing so might be different from those within our worshipping congregations. As a rural diocese we welcome this opportunity, as we think it will be of benefit to many of our churches. Lincoln and Truro are the first dioceses to be able to offer these leaflets, having volunteered to pilot it. The leaflet itself has a built-in Gift Form offering people the option of contributing financially to their local church in a more regular and planned way; i.e. monthly, quarterly or annually. There is no extra work for the treasurer as the form is sent directly to the PGS office in Gloucester to process. PGS submits any Gift Aid claims and then simply puts all monies donated to your church, plus any Gift Aid claimed, into your church’s bank account in the same month. The only criteria that PGS ask is that you are registered and actively using PGS within your church first before you can have access to the wider community leaflets. 

If you are interested in using the PGS wider community leaflet, either now if your church is already registered with PGS, or in the future if it is not yet registered please contact one of your Stewardship Officers. 


Online Giving

Online giving is where a donations platform is linked to your website, Facebook page, and other social media channels. The platform allows individuals to donate using a variety of payment methods. A good donations platform provider will embed a “Donate” button on your website and will automatically reclaim your Gift Aid.

Below are some useful links on Parish Resources and Parish Buying to help churches get going with encouraging giving online and giving during virtual services.

https://www.parishresources.org.uk/encouraging-giving-online/

https://www.parishbuying.org.uk/categories/giving-and-payments/online-giving

Once you have successfully picked your new online giving provider there is a useful blog provided by the central church team on what to do next and how to promote it, including advice on setting it up on your own website or on your “Church Near You” page.

https://www.churchofengland.org/more/church-resources/digital-labs/labs-learning-blog/encouraging-online-giving


Virtual Services

A Church Near You have produced some short animations for churches to use during virtual services and more widely online to encourage giving. This will be really useful for churches less confident about talking about giving and an added bonus for those who are already doing lots of great things. Churches will be able to customise this video with their own details using ACNY. Video here: https://vimeo.com/showcase/7154681

Gift Aid Small Donations System - GASDS

Treasurers may be concerned about the working of the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS) during the COVID-19 crisis, given that many eligible cash donations could be lost. Donors who would ordinarily make small donations each week may be setting these aside to give them all together in one lump sum once they return to church. HMRC officials have responded to this question as follows:

“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”.

So in summary it seems HMRC are happy for church treasurers to assess whether these are a series of separate donations and, if so, make a gift aid claim accordingly. If, for example, a church member puts £100 cash in an envelope and marks it as 10 weeks of £10 weekly donations for the occasions where they have not been able to make a regular cash offering, it seems HMRC would be happy for the church to regard them as eligible donations under GASDS. Alternatively, 10 separate envelopes of £10 each can be included as these are clearly separate donations.


Other Online Giving Ideas

Easy Fundraising

During COVID we are all spending more money ordering on-line, so why not set up an Easy Fundraising account for your church and ask members of the church or wider community to consider helping out? It costs them nothing and over time can become a quite significant amount. A small percentage of the purchase price goes from the retailer to your church if you register on the link below. There are over 4000+ shops that are included in this scheme with most of the major high street brands and supermarkets

https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/

Amazon Smile

There are other ways to give such as Amazon Smile although, unlike Easy Fundraising, this is limited to Amazon itself. When you register you will be asked to select a charity. You can set up your church or you can also select the Diocese, who have set up an account with Amazon Smile under the name “The Lincoln Diocesan Trust and Board of Finance Ltd.” Donations will be gratefully received and, as with Easyfundraising, these are at no additional cost to individuals, but rather come out of Amazon’s profits.

Mobile Phone Giving

Text

In the current climate this option may work well for people who don’t have access to the internet as a way to donate and is especially useful as a “top up” way of giving for regular church members or for visitors. 

https://www.parishresources.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Text-Giving-2020.pdf

QR Codes

This is a free, versatile, and easy set-up option to start accepting contactless donations from smartphone users. It can be posted on a website, social media or sent via email. 

https://www.parishbuying.org.uk/categories/giving-and-payments/solutions/thyngs

Digital Giving

The Church of England has through Parish Buying, worked with various suppliers to offer discounted prices on card readers for your church.

The range includes small hand held units, larger table top units that can be secured into furniture and even a new brass collection plate that will take cash as well as contactless donations. Please register with Parish Buying using the link https://www.parishbuying.org.uk/. It’s free and only takes a few minutes and then you will be able to view the full range of the units under the “Giving and Payments” category. 

Virtual fundraising

Fundraising is often an essential part of a churches income and during lockdown this will have greatly suffered but as many of you will now be more used to watching Sunday Services via Zoom or Facebook it may now be easier to organise some fund raising events online to help raise funds as there are still many rules on social distancing and gatherings in public places.  

Rather than just cancel an event, and write-off the financial losses, are there any new things, or new ways of working that we can call upon? So, rather than cancelling all of your planned events perhaps you could consider whether you can turn your event into something digital or virtual. Virtual fundraising events can help mitigate the loss of income, as well as enabling you to keep connected with the people in your parishes and communities.

Here are a few ideas for virtual fundraising events.

  • Virtual book club - donate what you would have spent on refreshments.
  • Zoom quiz night - donate to take part.
  • Concert night - this could be pre-recorded, donations gain entry.
  • Virtual flower festival or garden event.
  • Online raffle or auction. You could even auction time and talents such as gardening, DIY odd jobs, washing cars and cake making!  
  • Zoom coffee morning - donate what you would normally have spent on cake. These events are very popular, as they are very simple to organise and connect your church community socially.
  • Virtual Tour of the church with a donation – many churches are on the tourism trail so perhaps you could organise a virtual tour with a virtual entry ticket

Legacies

Legacies are a lifeline for our parishes. For many people, leaving a gift in their will is a final opportunity to make a lasting gift to God. It is also a way to make a lasting difference to the future of their church and community.

Some detailed guidance is below:

https://www.parishresources.org.uk/legacies/

https://www.churchlegacy.org.uk/ 


 Grants

Here are some links to potential grants that you may be eligible for. If you have questions or need help regarding any grant funding applications and church building projects, please get in touch with Matthew Godfrey, Historic Churches Support Officer  or Fran Bell, Church Development Officer in our Church Buildings Team. They are happy to help steer you through projects relating to your church buildings and how they can be used to connect with the wider community.  

Grants for Community Projects

https://www.allchurches.co.uk/what-we-fund/hopebeyond/

https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/   

Maintenance and repairs

https://www.nationalchurchestrust.org/foundationgrants

URGENT - Applications for this grant close 30th Oct 2020

Local Lincolnshire Projects

https://www.lincoln.anglican.org/grants-and-funds 


Other useful Links

Ecclesiastical Insurance has lots of good advice on fundraising and grants.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has lots of advice and a funding database which is free to churches with an annual income lower than £100,000.