A Succesful “Giving in Grace” Programme

Many parishes struggle with their funding.  This is the story of a parish in the deanery which has struggled with balancing its budget for a number of years.  

A longstanding planned giving scheme was no longer effective as a number of the founding members were no longer contributing.  The gap was bridged with various fund raising events.  Although these are very enjoyable they place more and more pressure on those who organise them and can distract time and energy away from other important activities.  There has always been an awareness that if there was a sudden need for funds eg urgent repairs to the roof that the local community would respond well – but again this kind of fund raising can become a great distraction from the mission and ministry of the local church.

The PCC decided to refresh the giving scheme and with the support of the Archdeacon for Generous Giving followed the “Giving in Grace” Programme www.givingingrace.org   Here is the result:

Dear all

I am pleased to report a positive response to the Giving in Grace campaign. It is likely that we will continue to receive some responses over the next week or so, but I thought you would want to know the headlines so far. The nature of the envelope scheme means that we had to make some educated guesses about how much people were giving before they responded and the numbers that follow also assume that everyone who hasn’t responded maintains their giving at the current level. As some people start giving in a planned way, it may be that plate giving reduces a little. Obviously we will only know the true outcome in the months to come. 

All that being said:
We are predicting that planned giving will increase by £281 per month, which is £351 after Gift Aid is claimed. This is about half of the target that we had set ourselves, but nevertheless it represents an increase over planned and spontaneous giving in 2015 of about 25%, which I think is a strong result.

Of the total given above, £122 per month is from seven households who have previously not given in a planned way - the majority of whom are not weekly church goers. Most of these were reached through the packs we have sent out to all houses in the villages; one through the emailed Friends’ newsletter.

Amongst the 23 households that already gave in planned way, one has committed to maintaining their existing giving. Two have moved from the envelope scheme to a standing order. Eight households have increased their commitment to an extra totalling £159 per month. Over the whole church (including those who have not responded) average giving by those who already gave in a planned way has increased from £5.12 per week to £6.61 - which moves us a little closer to the Diocesan average of £8.94. 

We have also received five one off donations totalling £514. Several of these people have said that they will try to give as often as they can in the future. I have their details so we can jog their memories! A couple of people who give through the plate have also said they will try to give more. We didn’t actually ask for one off donations so this is a strong result - we might want to think about whether we can draw more people into doing that.

Thank you to all of you for praying for this initiative and helping in many different practical ways. It has been a significant undertaking, but I hope you agree it was worthwhile.

All the best