Enabling and Encouraging Generous Giving
On these pages you will find practical resources and guidance to support stewardship and giving:
- Generous God, Generous Disciples
- Enabling giving:
- Encouraging giving
- Encouraging giving Webinars
- Stewardship Resources from other dioceses
- Further advice and guidance
Generous God Generous Disciples is a collection of resources to support stewardship and giving in parishes.
This section provides advice and resources to help make giving easier for those who give
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:
The Parish Giving Scheme now enables parishioners to set up Direct Debits by telephone
The video below explains more.
Generous God, Generous Disciples Webinar on the Parish Giving Scheme
Watch the Parish Giving Scheme Webinar with Richard Jones, from the Diocese of Hereford who explains how the Parish Giving Scheme can help parishes enable giving.
Setting Up and Promoting Online Giving
During the Coronavirus Pandemic, many churches 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:
- Just Giving for Churches
- Church Suite
- Details of other providers and information can be found on the Parish Resources website
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.
Contactless giving 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:
- 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
- A stand alone terminal that can be left unattended. These tend to be more expensive. These need wifi /4G/ ethernet connection
- 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 has negotiated deals with some suppliers. Access these deals 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.
Service and worship materials - The Generosity Week
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
Bishop Guli Generosity Week contributions
The Bishop of Chelmsford, Bishop Guli has contributed a podcast and sermon to Generosity Week, both of which can be accessed below:
Developing a message about giving
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 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 the challenges facing us all over the last few years mean we haven't recieved the gifts we usual 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.
Communicating your message
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 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 allow 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.
Website and video
Your website can play a key role in encouraging giving:
- It should make it very easy and obvious how people can give. Include a big button linking through to your online giving page
- 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.
If you would like to donwload or embed the videos on your website please follow this link.
Online Worship and Social Media
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.
Further Advice and Guidance
Between January and March 2021, the Diocese of Chelmsford ran a series of webinars on Stewardship and Giving. To view recordings of the webinars click the link below.
Stewardship Resources from other dioceses and the Church of England
In the video below, Mission Ministry Advisor the Revd Canon Philip Ritchie highlights 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.
The resources from the webinar can be found in the accordian links below.
Giving in Grace
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
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
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.