In December 2022 the Parish Giving Scheme (PGS) introduced the option for donors to give a one-off gift to a parish and have so far raised over £1.6 million, with the average gift being nearly £200! Now it has been in place for a year, we thought we would look back and review what that’s meant for churches in the Diocese of Worcester, and the potential opportunities for our parishes in 2024.
PGS was launched in our diocese in 2019 and since then over half of our parishes have signed up. We have over 1200 donors giving each month, raising nearly £1.5 million in donations and Gift Aid in 2023, all of which went to our churches. PGS offers parishes and donors a secure and easy way to give to their church regularly, through a monthly, quarterly or annual direct debit.
We have also seen nearly £12,000 in generous one-off gifts from 61 people to our churches over the last year. Promoting this option to your guests and visitors helps reduce the reliance on bringing cash for the collection.
The one-off gift option can be promoted in several ways and over Advent and Christmas we saw several churches engage visitors and take collections through PGS. From QR codes on posters and service booklets, to mentions on websites and social media, there are lots of ways to share PGS with those wanting to donate to the church and its mission.
Life events are another good opportunity to introduce one-off gifts, and we had a wonderful story shared with us from St Peter’s, Broome, where a one-off gift after a funeral was a welcome surprise. Christine Starling, the church treasurer, got in touch to tell us more:
"Our Parish Giving Scheme has been going for a little while now, in the beautiful, quiet church of St Peter in Broome, and although we only have a few signed up to the scheme, it was heartening to see, one day, that someone had gifted £150 to the church as a one-off payment through PGS.
We felt the name was familiar; and so it was - during the past month our church had conducted the funeral for someone and a few weeks’ later his ashes were buried alongside those of his mother in the churchyard. Unfortunately, his elderly father lives in Australia and was unable to travel, but the undertaker provided a video of the service for them to send to his father.
A few weeks later his father responded by gratefully acknowledging the church in a donation through the Parish Giving Scheme.
We are most grateful; every little contribution counts and can add up to a huge impact, but more importantly, through having a way in which his father could give, it hopefully helped him to feel that he was involved and so helped him in his grief."
One-off donations can remain anonymous to the church (with personal details given to PGS so Gift Aid can be claimed) and many givers like this aspect. Last year, one church received an anonymous gift of £5,000, which might not have been given if anonymity had not been an option.
If you would like to learn more about one-off gifts or the Parish Giving Scheme, please get in touch with Chris or Robyn from the Stewardship team who will be more than happy to help. There are several resources available from the diocese to help promote and talk about PGS and generosity and a training session on “How to use PGS better” is coming up on Wednesday 28 February.