As part of a focus to make online giving as easy as possible for every parish, this new functionality will sit alongside and compliment online giving through benefice’s websites, and remove the technical barriers for many churches who have not been able to set up online giving themselves.
The Diocese of Norwich website receives many thousands of visitors each month, and this new giving button will also feature on the Exploring Norfolk Churches website in the weeks ahead. In the top-right of the website the new purple ‘Donate’ button has been created. Visitors can enter the amount they want to give, and select either a church, parish or benefice from the options.
As clearly explained to visitors on the giving page, donations are received by the Diocesan Board of Finance and these are allocated towards each benefice’s Parish Share contribution. Gordon Darley, Director of Marketing & Communications (now former), explains:
“The project was born out of the desire to particularly support the smaller churches and all those for whom there is currently no way for people to give online.
“We naturally started the thinking around how money could be directly given to each church, but given every PCC is its own legal entity this would be a significant administrative burden to regularly direct donations across 450+ bank accounts and gets complex when looking at Gift Aided donations. Donations will therefore be made to the Diocesan Board of Finance, and in turn these are automatically allocated towards each benefice’s Parish Share contribution.
“With the diocese facing a significant drop in Parish Share income quite naturally due to COVID-19 and church buildings being required to close during the lockdown, funds are needed to ensure clergy can continue to be paid and a core level of support can be given.
“The donation functionality links with our Parish Share Online system – which lets church leaders and administrators view their ‘live’ Parish Share payments at any time – so all donations made through our website are shown within Parish Share Online once the money has been received by the diocese.
“Both one-off or regular donations can be given and Gift Aid can be claimed, and we clearly and transparently tell visitors where the money goes and any transaction fees taken by the payment processor.”
In addition to giving to a church, parish or benefice, the new platform brings the ability for visitors to donate to diocesan projects, appeals and charities such as the PlayVan which runs mobile play groups across the diocese and the annual Bishop’s Lent Appeal.
All personal data is kept in accordance with data protection regulations and all financial data is securely encrypted and processed directly by the payment processor.
Looking ahead to future development, Gordon continues:
“We will be integrating the giving functionality into our Find a Church area, so as people search for and find churches on our website they can click to give directly from that page. This will be replicated on our Exploring Norfolk Churches website, a site designed to promote the stunning architecture and heritage our church buildings offer to all.
“We will be contacting parishes in the coming months to give them the direct web address for their churches, parish(es) and benefice, so that those churches who wish to can directly link to this new giving area in a way that means the parish will automatically be selected. Visitors can then give without having to scroll through all 650 churches!”
If you have any questions about how donations to your specific church(es) or parish(es) are distributed within your Parish Share allocation, you can contact James South on email@example.com
Visit the new donations page at donstg.wpengine.com/donate