Frequently asked questions
What's new in 2024?
You may have heard about a change in ownership of the Parish Giving Scheme from January 2024, as part of an exciting expansion across all parishes in the Church of England.
Here’s some information that you may find helpful to understand what’s happening. click here
1. When will my parish learn that I am giving?
Your parish will be notified of your gift via a statement issued to them by the 10th of the month for which you began giving.
2. Why can’t I change my gift amount or preferences online?
This is likely to be a temporary situation whilst aspects of your giving are being processed by the PGS team. It may be because:
- You have opted in to the Inflationary Increase scheme and are in or near your anniversary month; even if you have not yet passed your first anniversary date.
- If your first gift has not yet been collected you will not be able to amend your gift amount online.
- PGS may be in the process of making a Gift Aid claim on your behalf. Once this has completed you will be able to change your Gift Aid preference.
But if you wish to make changes and are unable to do so via the website please contact the PGS team on 0333 002 1260 or email us and we will be happy to help.
3. How does the telephone service work?
The call is expected to last approximately 15 minutes. You will need to have your bank account details to hand, as well as the name of the church/parish you wish to give to. You will also be asked to confirm your parish’s PGS code (this is usually 9 digits in length) – available from your church’s Planned Giving representative.
Did you know: there are over 2,000 churches in England with St. Mary’s as a dedication and over 16,000 church buildings within the C of E? Knowing your parish’s PGS code significantly reduces the time taken to register gifts and helps us to ensure that your gift goes to the right church.
Once the call is finished, we will send out written confirmation of the Direct Debit instruction via email (or by post, if you prefer). When you receive the confirmation, please check it thoroughly to ensure that all the details are correct.
The confirmation letter will also include:
- Your PGS reference number (located below the address), which should be quoted in any future communications with the Parish Giving Scheme
- Your bank reference code (‘PGS Thank You’ followed by a unique code), which will appear on your bank statement next to the gift amount.
4. Gifts from couples
We welcome gifts from couples by phone or using the paper gift form but, unfortunately, it’s not possible to make a joint gift online.
For the purpose of claiming Gift Aid on joint gifts, we require a Gift Aid declaration from just one individual who pays sufficient tax to cover the amount claimed. This is the case whichever method you choose to set up your regular giving with PGS.
When you phone us, we will ask for one of the joint givers to complete the Gift Aid declaration and we’ll need to speak with that person directly. The gift itself will be set up in joint names, which means that all correspondence is addressed to you both and, unless you choose to remain anonymous, your parish will see on their statement that you are making a joint gift.
Similarly, on the paper form we require one signature on the Gift Aid declaration. Please include the title (eg: Mr or Mrs) in the Gift Aid signature box so we know which individual the declaration belongs to. The rest of the form can be completed in both names, if you’d like it known that the gift is on behalf of you both.
However, joint giving is not available through our online platform because HMRC guidance advises that there should be a verified link between the Gift Aid claimant and the paying bank account, which unfortunately the website process is not able to confirm.
To clarify, whether completing your gift online, by phone or on paper, it is possible for an individual to make a gift from their joint bank account.
If in doubt, please phone the team and we’ll be happy to set up your joint gift for you.
5. How do I ‘opt in’ to the inflationary increase?
A unique feature of the scheme is the option for the giver to commit in principle to increase their gift annually in line with inflation. As you go through the completion of a gift form online, telephone or on paper, simply tick the required box to ‘opt in’ to an annual inflationary increase on the gift. For existing gifts, you can select to now 'opt-in' to an annual inflationary increase within your online account or by contacting us. Once you have requested to inflate your giving annually, you will receive a letter or email one month preceding the anniversary of your very first gift informing you of the soon to be inflated gift (with the option to vary it).
6. How do I go about changing my gift in the future?
We know that circumstances change and your ability to give may increase or decrease over time. If you wish to make a change you can update the amount within the 'manage gifts' page of your online account area or feel free to notify the Parish Giving Scheme quoting:
• Your PGS reference number (found below your address on PGS correspondence)
• How much your existing gift is for
• What you would like it changed to
• When you would like this change to be brought into effect
Should you wish to have a confidential conversation about your options in changing your gift, please don’t hesitate to contact your parish giving representative or the Parish Giving Scheme.
7. What measure of inflation is used?
When the anniversary of your gift through PGS is approaching, we will calculate the increase based on the most recently published monthly CPI. This increase is only applied to givrs who have 'opted in'.
8. Can I remain anonymous to my parish?
Yes. All information is treated as confidential. However if you decide to remain anonymous, only the amount of the gift will be shared with your Parish Representative (e.g. the Treasurer or Gift Aid Secretary). We wish to encourage givers to remain known to your parish so that they may thank you and avoid mistakenly approaching you in the future to consider a regular gift to your church.
9. What happens at the Offertory?
When givers join PGS, they can use PGS tokens to place on the plate or in the collection bag at the Offertory. The PGS tokens enable us to participate in the Offertory.
10. Can I choose the day my gift is collected?
Unfortunately not. To enable PGS to run cost effectively and efficiently, one date had to be chosen for all gifts. The 1st of the month is an appropriate point in the month based on 1 Corinthians 16:2 (NIV): ‘On the first day of each week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.’
11. Why can’t my parish offer Direct Debit?
Direct Debiting is a highly regulated system, and is only offered by Banks to large businesses/organisations who are considered to have the necessary internal control systems required to process significantly high numbers of Direct Debits.
12. What is the Direct Debit Guarantee?
Givers are protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee, which makes it a very safe system. More information is available at www.directdebit.co.uk or www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk (search for ‘Direct Debit’).
13. What if I say yes to an inflationary increase, but my circumstances change?
We fully understand that circumstances change; please rest assured that you will be written to 30 days in advance of any increase with the revised amount. If you are unable to meet it, simply let us know.
14. Will your Parish be charged for this scheme?
There is no direct charge to the Parish for using the Parish Giving Scheme or processing the regular gift. The annual running costs of the scheme are met by the Diocese.
15. I currently give by standing order; how do I stop this?
Unfortunately PGS are unable to cancel a standing order for you, only you may do this. If you bank online it is very simple to do through your online account, otherwise you will need to contact your bank and check their procedure.