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A Revolution in Parish Giving

by Gerry Lynch last modified 13 Nov, 2017 10:10 AM

Parish Giving Scheme passes milestones and cuts admin

“The Parish Giving Scheme has been nothing short of a positive revolution for us”. That’s the verdict of Michael Porter, PCC Treasurer at St James’, Southbroom, in Devizes.

The Parish Giving Scheme is a new system enabling people to give to their church by Direct Debit for the first time, and allowing the church to receive the Gift Aid automatically, reducing the administrative burden.

Five months after it launched in the diocese, two significant milestones have been achieved. Over fifty parishes are now registered with the scheme, and over 250 church people now support their parishes financially through the scheme.

John Kilbee, Mission and Stewardship Adviser for Wiltshire, said, “Donations can come out of the donors bank account on a monthly, quarterly, or annual pattern.

“The admin burden on parishes is greatly reduced. Only two payments are made to the parish each month: total gifts and total Gift Aid, which is recovered every month from HMRC.

 “This is a slick and efficient scheme administration for both donors and parishes. It allows donors to inflation proof their gifts, which is a massive development, and to remain anonymous if they wish.”

The experience of Fonthill Gifford shows that every church, large or small, can make good use of the Parish Giving Scheme.

Bill Chatterton Dickson, PCC Treasurer there, said, “We signed the parish up in June. The registration process with the main office in Gloucester went very smoothly by e-mail. Our first report arrived in July, and since then the reports and cash have come in monthly.

“Most of our donors have signed-up to Direct Debit and almost all have agreed that their gifts should be index-linked.

“As for the bookkeeping, there are many fewer individual entries in the bank statements which are therefore much shorter, and fewer entries need to be made in the account book.  Cash flow is improved by monthly receipt of Gift Aid and in future years the claim for recovery of tax will be much shorter.

“All in all, the changeover has gone smoothly and the benefits are in line with what were promised.”

St James’, Southbroom, is a bigger congregation, and was one of the pilot parishes for the Parish Giving Scheme. It now has 77 donations as part of the scheme, representing over 110 people.

Michael Porter continues, “Cash flow has improved since gift aid is now received in the same month, not up to 4 months later when claiming quarterly.

“The reduction in admin has been a real benefit. We have saved over 850 accounting entries a year so far, a reduction of one -third. This makes a massive difference to accounts recording and bank reconciliations. Gift aid claims have been reduced by three quarters

“An unexpected side-effect is that when changing to PGS, people have reviewed their giving anyway. With new pledges picked up as well, this has led to a huge 7% increase in pledged giving.

“Over half of the amounts pledged are inflation linked and so this means that we are moving away from “static giving

“The Diocese is bearing the cost. So, it is in our Share and all parishes are paying for the system anyway! We might as well use it.

“Remember you are dealing with people So they may need assistance with the forms, some will lose them, fill them in incorrectly and forget to cancel their standing orders. This is all part of the process and is easily resolved.

“You may lose a month’s income from people who in the past gave on a different day in the month. However, in our case this was very small and was more than made up in other ways!”

Beryl Shuttleworth is Treasurer for the Benefice of Dorchester and West Stafford, which includes four churches. Over 60 people have signed up for the Parish Giving Scheme so far.

“All are at different stage of the process”, she said, “At St Peter's, we have had a successful launch, linked to a stewardship campaign. There was considerable enthusiasm at the meetings, and I have been very impressed with the whole scheme and would certainly encourage others to join.”

Michael Porter from Soutbroom has the final word, ““If you are not using the Parish Giving Scheme, you should seriously consider what you are missing out on.”

Register your parish now!

If you need registration forms call Carolyn Cropp in Church House (01722 411955). If you need any clarification of anything else about PGS or stewardship in general contact your Mission and Stewardship Advisor:

Ramsbury Area (Wiltshire): John Kilbee, john.kilbee@salisbury.anglican.org, or 01249 760776.

Sherborne Area (Dorset): Ian Bromilow, ian.bromilow@salisbury.anglican.org, or 01258 880044.

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