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Last updated 2nd April 2020

COVID19 Advice for treasurers

We are aware that many parish clergy, churchwardens, treasurers and PCC members (as charity trustees) will be concerned about the effect of prolonged church closures on parish finances.  This page is intended to provide links to guidance as it is issued and below that will provide suggestions and resources.

Diocesan COVID team advice for treasurers  (24/03/2020)

As a church, we rely on the willing donations of many to provide the finances that both maintain our buildings and provide care and support to all those in the local community.

Although some use standing orders or other methods of online giving, many donors use cash, either in the plate or in weekly planned giving envelopes.  As good stewards, although at present we are unable to meet together in our church buildings, we are still the church and together we share the privilege and responsibility of ensuring that the ministry can go on and we can continue to be a symbol of God’s presence in our local communities.

Even though the doors of the buildings are presently closed, there are many ways of giving to support our local church.  There is some advice below and for more information email stephanie.rankin@blackburn.anglican.org.

Income - for church members

  • For those who use online banking, the easiest way is to set up a standing order.  Your church treasurer will be able to provide you with the bank sort code and account number or this may be on a giving page on your church website. 
  • Email your church treasurer and ask for a standing order form.  You may find that they have added this to your website.  You can print this out and post it to your bank (the address will be on your cheque book).
  • As an individual you could set up an account with a giving agent like Stewardship or Charites Aid Foundation
  • If you are unable to use one of these methods, please continue to prepare your Giving Envelopes and bring them all when the church buildings reopen

Income - for Treasurers and Gift Aid Secretaries (Updated 2 April 2020)

  • Consider adding a standing order form to your website for people to download and complete.  There is a template you can use here which just needs you to replace the text in red with the details for your church.  A Gift Aid form is also attached which people can choose to complete and return to you.
  • Consider enrolling your church into an online giving platform (IKnowChurch, ChurchSuite, ChurchInsight etc) which enables people to donate by card from your website or A Church Near You site or through a link that you can email or add to FaceBook without needing to open their own giving account.  You can share this link with others through your website, email or Facebook page.  This will require someone who is admin on your Church Management System to set this up, but you will need to provide them with some details.  Check out the present free subscriptions on ChurchInsight (free until 31 October) and iKnowChurch (free until 30 September).  Card payment charges will still be payable but it will be a % of money you may not have otherwise received. 
  • If you have thought about software for your Gift Aid or church accounts, or presently use Data Developments Donations Coordinator, consider using moving to Data Developments MyGivingOnline.  This is presently free for 90 days or until services start again and will enable giving via your website (and through links to your website).  

Expenditure 

Look to reduce costs wherever practicable, including: 

  •  Heating/lighting – turn-off heating or reduce thermostat where practicable in church and other buildings. Turn off-heating completely when the warmer weather arrives. 
  •  Electrical appliances – please see the separate note on preparing your church buildings for extended closure – there may be some electrical items that you can switch off completely at the socket. 
  • If you employ staff (eg parish administrator, organist, cleaner) please contact Andrew Cooke for advice before reducing or stopping paying salaries and/or laying off of staff.  Where they are employed they may be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and he will be able to advise you.   

Cash Flow 

PCCs should aim to maintain a positive current account balance and not run in to an overdraft. 

  • Review where cash funds are held and transfer from any ‘savings’ account(s) to current account as required. NB consider the notice period required to access any “savings” accounts.    
  • Discuss with investment providers whether there can be access to fixed-term investments early. You may be concerned about the status of your PCC investments. Please visit the CCLA website https://www.ccla.co.uk/about-us/an-update-on-recentmarket-volatility 

Suggested priority order for reducing payments: 

  • Utility bills – talk to providers early and offer to pay smaller amounts  
  • Insurance – approach provider to request spreading payments 
  • Have a conversation with your clergy about whether it is financially possible for them to defer payment of expenses 
  • Defer all but essential maintenance to church buildings eg only work to keep buildings water-tight/safe/secure. 
  • Don’t order any new materials for church services and other activities eg communion wine, wafers 
  • Please remember that even in these difficult times our diocese is dependent on the income received from parish share payments to pay clergy stipends. Please could you be in touch with the DBF Deputy Diocesan Secretary (Finance) Ruth.Mcgaughey @blackburn.anglican.org, if you think you may not be able to keep up your regular payments. 
  • NB If you currently contribute parish share by sending a cheque to Clayton House (which is now closed), please would you strongly consider setting up a standing order via your bank? 

Goverment guidance for the charity sector (24/03/2020)

Guidance to help with running your charity during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak which has been prepared by the Charity Commissioners and can be accessed here

Insurance (24/03/2020)

It is wise to consult your insurer about what level of insurance is appropriate for a building that is likely to remained closed for some time. You may also wish to discuss with your insurers about continuing insurance of specific items of value

National church guidance (24/03/20)

The parish resources webpage is being regularly updated by the National Church of England team: https://www.parishresources.org.uk/coronavirus/

Parish Vision Fund - COVID19 response initiatives (01/04/2020)

If you have an initiative that will support your parish's response to COVID19 and would like to be considered for Parish Vision Fund funding (up to £2,000) to support its implementation, please contact your relevant Archdeacon in the first instance.