Section E: Support for PCCs and Churchwardens
Support for Treasurers
This page includes advice and resources to help Treasurers in their role.
The Coronavirus pandemic have resulted in considerable financial concerns for both individuals and parishes.
Some people are facing very serious financial difficulties and need expert help quickly. For ideas about where people can go for support please scroll to the bottom of this page.
Equally, many people’s financial circumstances are actually relatively unchanged. There is uncertainty about the future but for many their outgoings are currently reduced and there is a real desire to continue to feel connected and do all that they can to help. We need to ensure that people understand the importance of their giving to the church at this time.
Ensuring that the church is able to offer ministry and support and that clergy can be paid is essential. The buildings may be closed but the church is not. Clergy are still working and there is no government support available. Template letters for writing to donors can be found on this page. These need to be personalised to ensure they tell your church’s story.
Where people usually give to the church in cash, it is important to seek ways of enabling them to give by other means:
- Parish Giving Scheme – Register your church now; new donors can now register to sign up on the phone
- Web site donation button
- Text giving
The closure of buildings has impacted cash collections, premises hire fees, fundraising events etc and has significantly reduced the income of most churches. To manage this effectively it is important to consider both income and expenditure.
Some expenditure will decline with lack of activity. Try and identify what doesn’t need to be spent at this time.
Some expenditure that you would normally view as ‘fixed’ or essential may be able to be postponed until income has recovered. In particular, consider the following:
- Furlough employees to recover 80% of the cost of their pay under the government scheme. For more details and advice contact the HR team.
- If church insurance falls due, contact the insurer to see if you can pay in instalments.
- If you are genuinely struggling to pay utility bills, contact providers to see if they can offer easier payment terms.
Parish Share is usually one of, if not the largest item of expenditure in the PCC budget. We are reliant on the regular payment of Parish Share to fund the regular payment of diocesan clergy. As a diocese we will experience serious cash flow difficulties if parishes universally delay payment of Parish Share.
We are however aware that making regular payments in full may become very difficult. If it is your normal practice to pay monthly and you need to reduce your payments at this time, please let the finance team know and think carefully about what you are able to keep paying. If you have unrestricted reserves, it is appropriate to use these to continue to pay with a view to working to restore them once income recovers. If you normally pay Parish Share at the end of the year, please consider making monthly payments. If you are able, this will help us to manage cash flow more efficiently.
A minority of churches may be in a sufficiently strong financial position to be able to pay most or all of their Parish Share up front. We are immensely grateful to those parishes who have already done this and hope that others may consider doing so.
Most churches are experiencing a significant drop in their regular income. Some of this will be restored once social distancing comes to an end but much of it will be lost. This requires care with cash flow, your ability to pay your bills as they fall due and budgeting for expenditure in the future.If you need help or guidance with your finances, please do contact the finance team or Alison Maddocks.
Steps to be taken now include:
- Ensure regular cash givers are still able to give through other means (see above).
- Enable people to make one-off gifts to your church through the website (see above).
- If you have regular hirers of premises, see if they are in a position to pay you a proportion of their regular fee now to be discounted from fees later in the year.
- Ensure people understand the importance of supporting the church at this time. Other charities and causes are very active in encouraging support to see them through the crisis, we mustn’t be left behind. If we don’t ask, people will assume that the need of others is greater.
Financial advice for people facing difficulties
People struggling with sudden financial uncertainty need proper financial advice. The following organisations may be able to help:
- Citizens Advice can offer advice on what help is available
- Christians Against Poverty offer debt support, although they are currently unable to take new clients – check website
- Step Change Debt Charity is currently offering telephone support
- Other services and information about help for people affected by Corona virus can be found at: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk
Take care of just ‘googling’ for debt advice as not all providers are the same.Some appear very official and are actually profit making.