Delight for the giver and the receiver
For me there is a small window each year in the quiet between Christmas and the end of January when I look forward to the coming events, in good years a wedding or a new baby in the family, a holiday, maybe the start of a resolution to run, sail, exercise, read more.
You all know the sort of thing, sometimes even a review of spending or saving but I am ashamed to say that my regular donations to the church do not benefit from this reverie. That ticks along, it seems that having first been established it needs no thinking about. But is this so?
In my previous parish we had the usual range of giving opportunities: cash in the plate, standing orders and envelope schemes. We were grateful for all forms of donation yet when St Albans diocese joined the Parish Giving Scheme our PCC were quick to join.
Robert Culyer’s front page article in the Spring issue spoke thoroughly to the practical advantages and operational details but giving is more than this. As individuals our giving has to be in some way sacrificial but too it should be easy to do, private and effective. All of our current ways of giving address some of these aspects to varying degree.
The envelope scheme is private. For many the envelope is part of the tradition of church going, put in the pocket of our Sunday best. It is painful to change. The inconveniences for the receiving church, though, are many, including finding someone other than the treasurer to open the envelopes, for the numbers and the names to be perfectly confidentially managed, for gift aid to be claimed and records to be maintained for seven years.
Cash in the plate is more simple but less private and prone to variability. It needs counting and banking – in our rural and not so rural Norfolk parishes this itself is increasingly difficult as more bank branches close.
The standing order is private, and to my opening point once set in place sadly may be only infrequently reviewed.
Without repeating all of Robert’s points in the previous PCC News article, the highlights are that the advantages of direct debits are supplemented by automatic record keeping and tax information. I received a letter of thanks which reminded me of my donation (good for my tax form too) and gently told me what it needed to become if adjusted for inflation, making sure that my reverie did include my church life.
Yes, our parish saw an increase in numbers of planned givers, an increase in giving, some annual uplift, less stressed treasurers, better cash flow from the monthly gift aid and reduced administration.
Giving should be a delight for both giver and receiver and this scheme thoughtfully tries to make that possible.
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