On these pages you will find practical resources and guidance to support stewardship and giving as part of the Generous God, Generous Disciples stewardship initiative :
- Generous God, Generous Disciples
- Your Mission and Stewardship Advisors
- Enabling giving:
- Encouraging giving
- Encouraging giving Webinars
- Further advice and guidance
During Advent we look forward to the coming of Christ, God's gift to the world. And during Advent this year we will reflect on our own giving in response to God's generosity. Generous God, Generous Disciples is the Diocese of Chelmsford's Stewardship initiative that will run from Advent until Easter. But unlike previous stewardship initiatives, Generous God, Generous Disciples will continue beyond this initial four month period. We will use the time from Advent until Easter to reflect and equip ourselves as a diocesan family to put giving at the heart of our Christian discipleship for the future. Then throughout 2021 and beyond we will continue to support stewardship in our parishes, particularly through the work of our Mission and Stewardship Advisers.
The sections below contain the pracitcal guidance and resources to support parishes as part of Generous God, Generous Disciples.
Your Mission and Stewardship Advisors are available to provide one to one advice to church leaders. Their details are below.
|Barking||Revd Jeremy Fraserfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Bradwell||Revd Canon Mike Poweremail@example.com|
|Colchester||Revd Canon Philip Ritchiefirstname.lastname@example.org|
3) Enabling Giving
Whilst some have stopped giving in recent weeks because their financial situation has worsened, others who give via the plate or envelope have stopped giving because they have not been able to do so. This section provides advice and resources to enable people to give in new ways.
Encouraging people to give by Direct Debit has major benefits for all concerned and should be your primary focus when it comes to enabling people to give regularly. Direct Debit gives your parishioners the convenience of not having to organise payments on a regular basis and it allows your church to be more confident about regular income.
The Church of England Parish Giving Scheme provides a straightforward way for parishes to organise a direct debit programme whilst benefiting from Gift Aid and allowing parishioners to sign up for inflation linked giving. This short video explains how it works:
In recent weeks, the Parish Giving Scheme has also enabled parishioners to set up Direct Debits by telephone
The video below explains more.
This flyer has been produced by the Diocese of Chelmsford Mission and Stewardship advisors to help parishes make use of the Parish Giving Scheme, click on the image below to download a copy.
During the Coronavirus Pandemic, many churches have set up online giving to enable people to give via their websites. Some have used these tools to invite giving during online services.
Unlike Direct Debit, giving is one off, so it is best used in conjunction with a Direct Debit programme rather than as an alternative.
There is a growing market of online giving providers you may wish to consider:
These providers also allow you to set up Gift Aid too.
Adding an online donation button on A Church Near You
A Church Near You have built a function on their website that allows churches who use online giving to add a 'donate' button to their A Church Near You web page. You can find out more here.
Finally, ensure your PCC Treasurer and Gift Aid Secretary are aware of how and when online donations will reach your church bank account. Similarly, that they know how gift aid will be claimed on them. This process is different for different providers so it’s worth checking carefully. The Parish Giving website Good Governance Guide provides a common sense approach to issues arising from online giving in all forms.
Before the Coronavirus Pandemic, many parishes had introduced contactless giving. Whilst contactless technology has not been of use whilst our church buildings have been closed for worship, it will be increasingly important in the future.
The technology and offers from the marketplace vary all the time The Parish Buying Scheme is the best source of up to date information. They are free to sign up too and offer advice and webinars for parishes.
There are three types of terminal:
1) A terminal that needs to be paried with a mobile phone and therefore needs constant supervision by a person. This usually requires wifi connection but 4G is usually sufficient some of these terminals retain the donations in a non 4G areas and download when reconnected to wifi/4G.
2) A stand alone terminal that can be left unattended. These tend to be more expensive. These need wifi /4G/ ethernet connection
3) A unit that can be passed around with the collection plate or bag. These sometimes require donors to download an app on their phone. But most act as a fixed figure donation as a contactless payments ( you can set 4 to 6 fixed figures )
The Church of England Parish Buying Scheme can be accessed here
Gift Aid is an important source of income for many of our churches and can increase the amount of donations and regular giving by 25%. To benefit from Gift Aid your church will need to register with HMRC.
You will need to obtain a Gift Aid declaration from anyone who is giving. This can be done in a number of ways depending on the circumstance:
- Online platforms such as Just Giving will obtain the declaration for you when somebody gives, provided you set up your account to receive Gift Aid.
- For plate collections, enverlopes with a declaration form printed on the outside can be left in the pews and sent to regular worshipers at home
- For regular giving, including by direct debit, givers can complete a one off form and return it to you
Your declaration form must comply with HMRC guidelines and a template is available here.
An introduction to Gift Aid
Tools such as Direct Debit and online giving help us to enable people to give more easily.
Teaching and communication are vital to help encourage generous giving. The following resources and guidance have been produced to help churches encouarge giving.
Developed by Parish Resources, the Generosity week is eight days of service and worship materials for churches to use at any time to encourage people to live generously. The Generosity Week includes:
- Eight informal audio recordings/ podcasts
- A collection of services
- Small group material
- Marketing and social media materials
It is useful to have a message about giving that you can share with your potential givers. This can then be included appropriately in your communications and during worship. The following is an example that is shared on the Parish Giving Site:
During this difficult time when our church buildings are closed, we are still a church; meeting virtually for prayer services and fellowship, loving our neighbours by offering practical support to the vulnerable, and caring for our communities. The work of our church is reliant on people’s generosity, a generosity that is a hallmark of a lived-out faith and a testament to it. We give to our church in a variety of ways, but with the closure of all our buildings we cannot receive all the gifts that we usually would, so we really need your help now. If you are able to give more at this time, here’s how you can help.
You may wish to adapt this message to make it relevant to your own parishioners or personal to your church. You could tell stories about the difference your chuch has been making in your community for example.
Once you have developed your giving message, you then need ot consider the best ways to reach your potential givers. It's likely that you'll reach different groups of people in different ways.
Email is one of the best ways to reach your potential givers and allows you to tailor your message to the person or groups of people you are talking with. Keep your email short and succinct and make sure your call to action stands out. By call to action we mean the part of the email where you ask people to take action.
Tools such as Mailchimp are free or don't cost very much to set up and allow you to insert buttons which make your call to action very clear. Mailchimp and similar tools also help you to comply with data protection legislation.
Use email for giving sparingly. People don't appreciate being emailed too often especially if they are being asked for money. Make sure you link through to your web page from your emails and that when people visit they can get the information they need and are able to give easily. See website and video.
Sending a letter is still an effective way to reach many potential givers and can help convey a sense of inportance that is difficult to achieve through electronic communicaiton. Letters can be particularly useful for promoting Direct Debit where forms can be enclosed. Letters can be slightly longer than emails, but you should make sure that your call to action is very clear so that no reader can be in doubt what the letter is asking for.
Your website can play a key role in encouraging giving:
1) It should make it very easy and obvious how people can give. Include a big button linking through to your online giving page
2) It should tell your story and deliver your message about why people should give at this time. One of the most effective ways you can tell a story is through video. You could make a video yourself using an adaption of the message script above or the A Church Near You Website allows you to personalise the video below to your own church.
Many of our churches have expanded their use of social media during the coronavirus pandemic. In particular by using live streamed and video services. Whilst you may choose to include financial asks in your ordinary social media posts, particularly if you have made a video like those mentioned above, incorporating an offering into your online service is particularly important:
- Make sure there is a highly visible button or link on the web page or social media channel where the service is being broadcast. This link shouldn go through to your online donation page so that people can give there and then.
- You may wish to show the videos mentioned above during the offering.
The Reimagining the Offertory guidelines from the Parish Resources website offer resources to help parishes enable their offering to move closer to becoming both a joyful act of worship and also a committed part of discipleship. Giving in the context of worship reflects the importance of giving in community. The offering can also be a wonderful time to give thanks for generous contributions of time and talents in your community, both inside and outside of your church family.
Particularly useful for pre-recorded or livestreamed online services are:
The Diocese of York Generous Giving Team have produced offering prayers written for online worship.
Over the coming weeks, we will be delivering a series of webinars to support parish giving as part of our Generous God, Generous Disciples Stewardship Initiative.
The webinars below are now open for booking. All the webinars will be recorded and made available afterwards if you are unable to log on to a particular session.
10 things I wish I’d known when I became a parish treasurer, Saturday 23 January, 10am – 11.30am
In this practical webinar we’ll be joined by Terry Gray from Colchester, who will be known to many across the diocese and has provided advice to many of our treasurers. Register here
Spirituality and Giving, Wednesday, 27 January, 7.30pm – 8.30pm
We’ll be joined by the Dean of Chelmsford, Nicholas Henshall who will lead us in a reflection on spirituality and giving. Nicholas writes: “Although we easily focus on the practicalities of financial giving and its outcomes, in the New Testament giving is always a spiritual issue. Jesus talks about giving again and again – and his focus is always on the need of the giver to give. In this webinar we will be exploring these themes, and above all how we understand our generosity as a response to the generosity of the God we know in Jesus Christ, who fed thousands from a few loaves of bread and turned hundreds of gallons of water into hundreds of gallons of wine.” Register here.
The Parish Giving Scheme, Thursday 4 February, 7.30pm – 8.30pm
In this webinar we’ll explain how the Parish Giving Scheme can help you to encourage and enable giving in your parish.
We’ll be joined by Richard Jones who is the Lead Parish Giving Adviser for the Diocese of Hereford. Richard will explain how the scheme works and how you can get started. There will also be an opportunity for discussion and questions.
Dates for our other two webinars about stewardship resources and diocesan finance will be confirmed soon.
The Church of England Digital Labs Team are running a series of webinars on receiving online donations.
The next webinar takes place on 8 December.
Parish Resources Website
- Generous God, Generous Disciples Stewardship Initiative
- Advice for Treasurers
- Legacy Resources
- Online Returns
- Statistics for Mission Return
- Parish Giving Scheme
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