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Support: Parish Finances

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An email was sent to all parishes on 30 July 2020, which included a video message from Richard Antcliffe, Director of Finance and Operations.
The text version can be read here

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 enhancing their liquidity position. Please feel able to speak with your Area Finance Adviser for guidance.
  • 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 rent is not sustainable, agree for rent (or a proportion of rent) to be deferred with repayment to be made in instalments to commence in say September 2020 for a period by agreement between the parties, with a review if government support changes.
  • For commercial leases, any agreement between parishes and their tenants should be marked “Subject to Contract” and subsequently documented by a solicitor in a side letter to the lease to ensure that well-intended actions now do not waive a future right to forfeiture if appropriate, with reasonable legal fees either being borne by the tenant or forward-funded by the parish and added to the debt to be repaid.
  • If you need further advice about how to respond to a tenants request, in the first instance please e-mail Virginia Featherston, virginia.featherston@nulllondon.anglican.org.

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.


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.
    • Even though the church building is closed, there will be ongoing challenges such as extra security measures to keep the building safe.
    • If you are still running to keep your foodbanks and homeless projects, extra financial support is needed to keep these going.
  • Ask your church family – and the wider community if you’re already in touch with them – if they can support the parish and its work with a donation or regular gift during the pandemic. This way people can help at this moment of extreme need but feel able to revert to their previous giving pattern if they need to.
  • Offer payment breaks to those struggling to make their regular contribution. This gives permission to those that need it to pause their gifts at this present time in the knowledge that when they are in a better position, they can resume their donations at the same, or maybe even more generous level.
  • Those that are now working from home, may find themselves slightly better off because they are not travelling and paying out for coffees, lunch etc. Suggest that the cost of their morning coffee is donated to the church instead through a new on-line giving site: https://ko-fi.com/.Originally started to help creatives, this no-fee site gives the opportunity to explain how you will use donations received for your project. A fundraising target can be set, and supporters are encouraged to leave messages of support.
  • 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.
    • 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 fundraising link on all correspondence, leaflets, and digital channels.

Some on-line providers are now offering information, advice and guidance for those wishing to set up virtual events. You can find out more about this from this recent blog by JustGiving.

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
  • Facebook
  • 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 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 may have:

  • additional time on their hands.
  • spare funds because they are not travelling at present

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
  • continue to serve those in need through a foodbank (or other allowed) provision
  • would 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:

  • expand/consolidate the local community links
  • 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 the early months of the coronavirus crisis, many grant funders came together to create bigger than usual emergency funding streams. Although many of the initial emergency funds have now closed, some trusts and foundations are opening new resilience and recovery funds.

Charity Excellence Framework has a free searchable database of emergency funders on their website here.

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

The Yapp Charitable Trust

Grants towards running costs and salaries to small registered charities in England and Wales to help sustain their existing work. This is not a COVID-19 emergency fund, but grants are available to support organisational running costs for charities with a turnover under £40,000.

Islington Giving

For churches running projects in Islington. This is a London Giving pilot so it’s worth checking the main website to see what’s available in each area.


If you are unfamiliar with fundraising, and applying for funding, we have some recorded masterclasses on our website here

Where can I find a list of current funders?

The Charity Excellence Framework has afree searchable database to assist organisations seeking emergency grants. You can sign up and search for free on their website here.

Although many of the emergency funds have now closed, many trusts and foundations are opening new resilience and recovery funds. Please check back regularly on this website for updated information about sources of funding for churches in the Diocese of London.

You may also wish to look at

What should I do if I’m in the middle of a major fundraising appeal or capital campaign?

This will depend on which stage you’re at.

  • If you’ve just started or just about to start your campaign: it is probably best to wait before you start applying for funds. Many grant funders will be supporting projects around the COVID-19 response.


  • If you’re in the middle of your appeal: pause and take stock of where you are. The current pandemic and these uncertain times mean that many charities are pausing non-urgent work. As noted above, many grant funders have revised their aims and objectives and are now directly supporting the COVID-19 emergency response funds. Use this time instead to review progress so far, amending your fundraising strategy and plan if necessary, so that you are ready to move forward when the time is right.


  • If your project is coming to an end or has stalled: look at what you have achieved so far. Consider whether to continue with your appeal or campaign in the light of this. If you do decide to continue:
    • Complete further research into funders to be approached in the coming months.
    • Review and refine the case for support so it is fit for purpose, in line with the current situation.
    • Look at your strategy and review, if necessary, to enable you to reach your fundraising target in light of recent social changes.

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:

The National Lottery Community Fund is distributing £200m of the £750m of Government support for charities. The Coronavirus Community Support Fund is open for applications. For more information about the fund and how to apply visit the National Lottery Community Fund website here.

What help is available from the diocesan fundraising team?


Visit the Fundraising Support pages of this website for general information about fundraising


For a list of articles about fundraising, (including fundraising posts by other teams) visit: https://www.london.anglican.org/articles/category/fundraising/


As series of fundraising masterclasses were launched to support anyone (clergy or lay), who would like to learn more about Capital fundraising. Sessions have paused for the summer but will return in September.

If you missed the previous webinars, these are available to view on our Fundraising Training Resources page here.

Church Grants database

Church Grants is a searchable database of funders that have made donations for work to organs, bells and international development projects as well as for repairs, restoration, heritage and social outreach projects.

Available at no cost to all parishes in the Diocese of London, carry out a free search by entering the unique 4-digit parish reference number (the one used to identify the parish for the finance team) – 1234 – and then click the church/parish name from the drop-down menu. You can use this search engine as many times as you want to identify prospective grant funders for your projects.

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