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Support: Parish Finances

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We are aware of the many and varied challenges that you are currently facing and it is our hope that the below questions and answers may help you in navigating the way ahead. In the first instance do please make contact with your Area Financial Adviser and your Area Dean. We wish to support you.

Some parishes might soon start to face short-term impacts on their cashflow, or income, either because of significantly reduced Church attendance, or financial problems with tenants.

In response, parishes and worshipping communities should initially:

  • consider the use of your reserves, which are established to provide a financial fallback in such circumstances
  • consider approaching your bank who may be able to provide temporary overdraft facilities
  • consider whether there are regular financial givers who could accelerate their giving, or provide other financial support.

We have experienced a significant fall in rental and/or giving income. Can we reduce our Common Fund giving?

We understand the difficulties that many parishes are facing in light of services being suspended and buildings closed. Each parish’s circumstances will be different depending on the profile of their givers, the nature of their rental income, other sources of income, and financial reserves. The Diocese recognises that for some parishes their 2020 Common Fund pledge will no longer be affordable, and we encourage parishes to speak to their Area Finance Adviser if a parish finds itself in this situation.

What other forms of giving can we use to replace cash giving?

There are a variety of alternatives to make it easy to give. Many of these are available through Parish Buying. The Parish Resources website provides information about alternatives, and their advice is summarised below.

Text Giving

QR Codes

Online Donations via website, email links or social media channels.

Contactless Card Readers are likely to prove useful when buildings reopen.

Standing orders and direct debits help to provide a regular source of income, so please encourage your givers to use these methods and consider the Parish Giving Scheme.

How should we respond to building renters who want rent reductions or to cancel leases?

In view of the current exceptional circumstances, parishes are likely to want to be sympathetic to renters who are facing financial challenges. Parishes should consider the following approaches:

  • Encourage renters to take advantage of the various government schemes to support businesses and employers.
  • If full rent is not sustainable, agree a rent discount for a specified period, with a review if government support changes.
  • If no rent is affordable, agree a rent holiday for a relatively short period with a review before this period expires.

Our parish is thinking of making staff redundant. Do we have any alternatives?

We would encourage you to pause, and take advice, before acting hastily in relation to any staff employed by your church. If you need specific HR advice, please email HRhelpdesk@nulllondon.anglican.org with details of the advice required. A member of the HR team will then look to contact you within 1 working day of receiving your email.

Fundraising

Below are some fundraising queries in light of the pandemic. To view our full set of fundraising guides please visit this page.

How can church members be encouraged to give now that our church buildings are closed?

  • Keep in touch

 

When everything changes as quickly as it has, most people will crave for some sort of normality. Even though the church is closed, your church family will still want to hear from you. They will want to know how they can help – so tell them.

  • Explain that in these very troubled times, you need on-going financial help to keep your foodbanks and homeless projects going. Ask if they can support this with a donation or regular gift.

 

  • Encourage those who make their regular gifts by cash in envelopes to consider giving by standing order, direct debit or donating on-line as appropriate.

A template form for setting up a standing order can be found here.

Information about using the Parish Giving Scheme for Direct Debits is here.

Click here to see more about on-line donations

  • Set up a fundraising page

There are a variety of providers to help you do this including:

 

All have different terms and conditions and charging terms so you will need to check that you use the right one for you.

 

Make the most of the hints and tips they provide to make your page as inspirational as possible.

 

  • Add regular updates.

 

  • Share as widely as possible.

 

  • Include a link to your page on all correspondence, leaflets, door drops and digital channels.

 

  • Raise your digital presence

 

More than ever before your digital presence is your presence

 

If you’re not already digitally active, get this sorted as quickly as you can. More and more people of all ages are looking for information and keeping in touch in this way.

Use a combination of channels to reach as wide an audience as possible:

  • Church website
  • Face Book
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

Look for volunteers to set up and manage the different channels. Young people are really good at this – and with so many people now being furloughed and confined to home, some will really appreciate an opportunity to use their skills and assist in this way.

Look here for info on setting up a Church website.

If you’re already using digital channels – KEEP UPDATING THE INFORMATION!

Use online messages from church leadership to explain how they are using weekly donations and the impact this is having – especially important if you’re running projects such as foodbanks.

Look for volunteers to manage the different channels and post regular updates.

Remember to include a link to your fundraising page so those reading to enable people to click and donate straight away.

 

  • Look for funders

 

Be proactive. There are different ways of ‘giving’.

In this fast-changing environment, people are being encouraged to take on a new challenge. One way to do this is to bring together a virtual team to research prospective grant makers who might donate now or for future projects.

Churchgrants – a searchable database of grant funders that supports church building projects and Christian mission (social outreach) is a free resource for parishes in the Diocese of London. To access the database, use this link London.churchgrants.co.uk, enter your unique 4 digit parish reference number (the one used to identify your parish for the finance team) – 1234 – and then click your church/parish name from the drop-down menu.

 

This database can be used as many times as you want. It will flag up some of the big funders, but you can also restrict the search to find funders that will only support projects in your area. A great resource to help parishes start to identify those that may potentially support their project.

 

  • Be positive!

Help your local neighbourhood think about the future (post Covid–19). Some people will make a donation to say thank you simply because you’ve shown you care!

Lots of people who are now confined to their homes will have additional time on their hands. Engage with them. Prepare a door drop (to go out at a later date if you feel that’s best) to let them know that as their local parish church you:

  • are there to assist in any way you can.
  • would you like to know what they want from their local church in the future.

 

Consider hosting a ‘when this is all over’ event at the end of the year to:

  • show people around the building
  • find out more about your wider community and ask them what they want

Are any funders providing emergency support to parishes?

In these unprecedented times, many grant funders are joining together to create bigger than

usual emergency funding streams.

LinkedIn have provided a good list of UK wide emergency funding sources

You can also click on the links below to find out more about the specific funds mentioned here:

  • National Emergencies Trust (NET)

The National Emergencies Trust has already raised £11m. It will be distributed via local community foundations. Keep an eye on information about this from the London Community Foundation.

Further information about the fund will be provided in a special edition of our newsletter – sign up here to subscribe to this and stay informed.

Grants towards running costs and salaries to small registered charities in England and Wales to help sustain their existing work

 

Is there any help available for churches from the government?

The government has announced a range of measures to help organisations in the light of the developing COVID-19 situation. The package is likely to evolve over time but you can find a useful summary of measures announced to date here.

This provides information on:

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