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
- Stewardship Resources from other dioceses
- Further advice and guidance
Generous Disciples is the Diocese of Chelmsford’s stewardship initiative that started in Advent and will run until Easter.
But unlike previous stewardship initiatives, Generous God Generous Disciples will continue beyond this initial four month period..
We are using the time from Advent to 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 Advisors.
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 Canon Jeremy Fraseremail@example.com|
|Bradwell||Revd Canon Mike Powerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Colchester||Revd Canon Philip Ritchieemail@example.com|
3) Enabling Giving
Whilst some have stopped giving in recent months 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.
Generous God, Generous Disciples Webinar on the Parish Giving Scheme
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.
Between January and March, the Diocese of Chelmsford is running a series of webinars on Stewardship and Giving. To see the list of webinars, book your place and view recordings of previous webinars click here.
In the video below, Mission Ministry Advisor the Revd Canon Philip Ritchie highligts some key resources that have been developed across the country to support stewardship and giving. The Revd Sue Lucas talks about Giving in Grace from her time in Liverpool Diocese and the Revd Canon Tim Ball talks about the Generous God, Generous People initiative from the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.
Resources referred to during the webinar:
Giving in Grace http://www.givingingrace.org/
A set of comprehensive resources that will enable clergy and lay leaders to create over time a culture of stewardship in the local church and release Christians to "excel in the grace of giving" (2 Cor 8:7). All resources are free and fully accessible to all users
Generous God Generous People https://www.cofesuffolk.org/for-parishes/making-your-parish-sustainable/how-to-encourage-giving-/
A set of resources developed by St Eds & Ips Diocese designed to help churches ‘Grow Deeper’. It has been written to help churches reflect on what it means to live as generous Christians for use in bible study as individuals and in groups.
Giving for Life https://www.parishresources.org.uk/givingforlife/
Giving for Life helps parishes review their approach to issues of stewardship and generosity, within a context of discipleship. Following a survey of more than 1100 parishes, it is clear that most parishes have made real progress in adopting proven good practice over the past few years.
The Generosity Week (from parish resources which includes a 9min audio from Bishop Guli on 1 Jn 3:16-24!)
We believe in a generous God, a God who gave us everything. Giving and generosity are inextricably linked with the living out of our Christian faith. As a church we need to encourage generosity whenever we can, and to help parishes focus on generous giving, we’ve created The Generosity Week: Eight days of service and worship materials for churches to use whatever the time of the year to encourage people to live generously.
Building a Generous Church (Church of England giving resource pages)
Generosity is at the heart of our faith, we believe in a generous God and our own generosity is a testament and hallmark of our faith in action. The ministry and mission of The Church of England is largely funded through the incredible generosity of those who give to it. Here you will find a wide variety of resources, guidance and inspiration for encouraging giving to your church and for growing generosity within your church.
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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