Redland Parish Church
Redland Parish Church in the Diocese of Bristol is situated in a sought-after residential area, just north of Bristol city centre. Though a tiny parish, for historical reasons, it draws its membership from a much wider area. PCC treasurer, David Clark, shares his experience of implementing the Parish Giving Scheme:
Why did your church sign up to the Parish Giving Scheme?
At the time, I was not only Treasurer to the PCC, but was also a member of Diocesan Synod and Bishop’s Council. I therefore had the opportunity of considering PGS in a much wider context. It seemed to me that it would be of great benefit to the parish.
How did you personally get involved?
As Treasurer, having decided PGS was a ‘good thing’, I presented it to the PCC for their approval. I got an enthusiastic response and decided to implement the scheme.
What did you hope to achieve?
We had a variety of motivations:
- To reduce administration. Prior to PGS, a majority of donors gave by standing order, a minority by envelope. We wanted to reduce the burden or recording gifts separately and the effort involved in reclaiming Gift Aid.
- To benefit from the annual inflationary increase in giving.
- To encourage remaining donors giving by envelope or collection to commit to giving regularly via electronic means.
What has been the impact of introducing the scheme at your church?
We saw a significant increase in giving when the Parish Giving Scheme was introduced, as many people reviewed and increased the amount they gave.
The Gift Aid Secretary’s task was hugely simplified – 83 lines of payments in the monthly reconciliation were reduced to just one! We still have some folk that give by other means, but c.70% of regular givers now do so via PGS.
What were the key things you got right?
Our original launch of PGS was made easier by using the excellent resource packs provided by the Diocese. I strongly recommend including a personalised letter in each pack, as it’s important to tailor your communication to reflect the circumstances of the recipient and of the parish.
We felt we got a better take up and higher rates of giving by launching PGS as part of our stewardship (or giving) review. We also did a New Year giving review – using a form that donors can complete and post to PGS, if they wish to alter their monthly gift.
What were the benefits of the scheme?
- A large monthly credit to our income account by 10th of month
- All Gift Aid on that month’s gifts received by about 14th of the month
- Full statements to download or print out supplied monthly
- Gift Aid claims to HMRC much simpler – and not so critical in terms of time
What changes might improve the scheme?
Some simplification of the PGS gift form might be beneficial. The main improvement I feel is for it to be made possible for donors to sign up to PGS online.
What would you say to a church considering introducing the scheme?
Go for it! Don’t underestimate the effort involved, but the time spent is worth it.
Finally, PGS has been a boom in these times of lockdown, due to CoVid-19. A few of our final envelope givers have switched to giving via PGS, while there are no services taking place. And most of the annual inflationary increases happened to take effect about the same time, which was a real help to us financially.