Parish Giving Scheme
The recent update to arrangements for dealing with the Coronavirus means that Church House is no longer able to send you extra supplies of the paper PGS Gift Form that is necessary for new givers to complete and post to the PGS office. Additionally, PGS is experiencing interruptions to its postal deliveries for obvious reasons. Latest information is that all gift forms sent in by post will be held securely with Royal Mail but won’t be processed until the restrictions are lifted.
PGS will continue to send donations from existing givers and HMRC has confirmed that it remains ‘Business as Usual’ for them in terms of the processing of Gift Aid. Therefore, with that schedule unaffected, PGS expect to be in a position to return the donations and Gift Aid in the usual time frame.
There is more information on PGS on our PGS webpage.
Please do not attempt to scan and email newly-completed gift forms into the PGS. This is an insecure method of transmission and legally they cannot accept a Direct Debit instruction this way.
We have confirmed already with PGS that they are working hard to try to provide online alternatives including secure online pdf sign-up, but we understand that obtaining authority from the banks means that PGS cannot achieve these options quickly. Telephone sign-up is now live. All churches in PGS should have received an email explaining how the new system works. Donors have to call 0333 002 1271 with some specific information, including the church’s PGS registration number* The process should only take about 15 minutes. *Note: The PGS Registration Number is the one piece of information that the donor will not have. Please ensure they have this information, to guarantee the gift goes to the correct parish. We are grateful to all in the Diocese of Chichester who volunteered to trial the sign-up and for the very positive feedback it received.
Once the newer processes are implemented by PGS we will receive notification that they can be used. Please do not try to find out from PGS any further details until they tell us that the new systems are in place. Also, please do not try to telephone them unless really necessary, for example a correction to a mistake that can be achieved speedily.
Other Methods of Regular Giving
In the meantime, to minimise the interruption to income flows, some churches may wonder how they can encourage and enable more parishioners to provide regular giving, possibly replacing the cash giving of the open plate collections.
There is now a list of various options in guidance which can be downloaded by clicking this underlined link from Parish Resources. Those listed provide for online regular or irregular donating; sometimes also providing a “Donate Now” button for a website, as well as QR codes. Often Gift Aid can be reclaimed, relieving our Treasurers of the administration needed for non-digital solutions.
There is also guidance on text giving from Parish Resources.
Not mentioned but equally possible are what’s known as QR Codes from Parish Buying. These are unique codes which can be read by a smartphone and allow users to quickly access a donations page. These codes would need to be prominently displayed in emails or on your website if you have one.
Receiving Direct Donations
With cash and cheques being virus-spreaders, if your church still hasn’t attempted to use digital giving perhaps now is the time to re-think that strategy.
Parish Buying have collaborated with Give A Little to develop an online giving platform for churches to receive direct donations.The transaction fee is 1.95%. By signing up to use the online giving platform through Parish Buying, churches will receive 8 months free access to the Premium membership which enables gift aid. This applies to all Parish Buying Give A Little (GAL) online accounts and is paid for by a subsidy from the Archbishops' Council. GAL accounts not signed-up through Parish Buying will have to pay a separate charge. GAL/Sum Up users can create a ‘give now’ button. This will be possible with other providers too but Give A Little are one of the cheapest on the market and many churches are already registered with Sum Up.
You can view a very simple and instructive video here: https://vimeo.com/showcase/7154605.
Sharing in the Household of Faith
Hopefully, churches with surplus resources may even be able to offer to cover those who are not so well-placed, so that no-one in the whole body of Christ suffers hardship. To do this please email or read the bank and sort code details on our website and simply send a donation. Following-up with an email would ensure that we can acknowledge the gift.
As always, if your Parish Advisor John Kemp (Tel: 01273 425 797 / 07833 850048) can be of further help in explaining any of the above options, please do not hesitate to contact him. All landline calls will divert to mobile. His working days are Monday to Thursday.