If we are to run our household efficiently and have enough money to cover our essential outgoings it is really important that we know how much we have coming in each month, and how much we have to spend. If we know that we will be paid at the end of the month we will know whether we can buy the pair of shoes we’ve been looking at, or take the kids to the cinema, or have the car serviced.
Churches are similar. Every month your parish has its regular housekeeping costs. It also needs to put some money away for essential building maintenance and repairs, and may be hoping to raise enough to finance an exciting new mission initiative.
If your church has to rely on whatever is put in the collection plate each week it won’t have any idea how much income is coming in, and won’t be able to do any sensible budgeting. This is where planned giving comes in. If you promise to give a certain amount each week or each month to the church, it will make the job of the treasurer much easier, and your parish will be able to plan for the future.
The two ways you can choose to give regularly to the church are setting up a standing order with your bank or using the envelope scheme:
An envelope scheme is a means for people to plan their weekly giving to church. Pledging a set amount each week to the church will give your parish a regular income, and help the church budget to meet its financial commitments. Giving in this way also means that if you pay tax your contributions can be gift aided, so the church receives an extra 25p for every £1 donated.
Each person in the scheme is given a set of dated, numbered envelopes. Your contribution goes in the envelope, and is put in the collection plate when it comes round. If you miss a week, simply bring the filled envelopes for the weeks you have missed, and put them into the collection together.
The treasurer or planned giving officer will have a list of everyone in the scheme, with their envelope number and the amount they have pledged to give each week. They will be the only person who knows how much is given by each individual, and will use this list to claim Gift Aid for everyone who has signed a declaration.
It is important to decide how much you plan to give the church each week, and to stick to that amount. Just putting whatever change you would otherwise have put loose in the plate isn’t planned giving.
Even simpler than the envelope is a standing order. If you choose to give in this way your giving is sorted and you won’t have to think about finding money each week. This really is the easiest way to give to the church. Your treasurer will be able to supply a standing order form, and will arrange for it to be sent to the bank.
We can supply personalised leaflets explaining the benefits of Planned Giving at a cost of 10p per leaflet. A sample of the leaflet is shown here.