SHREWSBURY DIOCESE PLANNED GIVING
AND GIFT AID SERVICE
Rt Rev Mark Davies
Director of Planned Giving and Gift Aid Service: Mr Mike Russell,
Curial Offices, 2 Park Road South, Prenton, Birkenhead, CH43 4UX.
Tel: 0151 652 9855
Fax: 0870 094 1142
Assistant: Joanne Skerrett
The role of the Planned Giving and Gift Aid Service is to provide a service to the parishes of the Diocese to assist them in obtaining the income necessary for them to carry out their work.
Our task, as the Church of Shrewsbury Diocese, is to bring God’s healing love to the world in which we live, to be the Word of God to all around us. But this vision has to be more than words – we must translate our shared vision into action!
To do this we require resources:
a) people willing to share in the work of the Church,
b) property i.e. church buildings, parish halls & meeting rooms,
c) money, to meet the costs of the work.
The normal running costs and the day-to-day work taking place in our parishes by dedicated parishioners incur considerable costs. The maintenance of existing buildings and the provision of new facilities have to be financed.
Stewardship is the word that can be used described this; it asks of us all “are we good Stewards of our Time, our Talents and our “Treasure?” All three aspects of Stewardship are essential and inter-dependant.
The Planned Giving and Gift Aid Service is primarily involved in the stewardship of Treasure as the two main sources of our income are the Offertory gifts made at weekly Mass and the tax refunds that we can claim through Gift Aid.
Recent years have seen all costs rising but a falling in numbers and fewer young families attending Mass. This inevitably places a greater responsibility on those still practising their Faith to be generous in supporting their parishes.
The work of our parishes and the Diocese depends on having the necessary resources of people and finance. What is needed is not just people willing to give of their time and efforts in carrying out the work of the Church. It is also essential that we have the necessary income to finance the good work that is being carried out.
Thus it is essential that regular and realistic giving is maintained and to this end the concept of “Planned Giving” (or “Christian Stewardship”) is actively promoted by the Planned Giving and Gift Aid Service through the medium of 1 or 2 weekend “Planned Giving Renewals” in Parishes. Parishes are encouraged to have such a renewal at least every 3 to 4 years to keep pace with the floating population, the effects of inflation and the growing costs of running a parish. In a “Renewal” all parishioners are urged to see their Offertory Giving as more than just providing the necessary income to meet the bills. The message of a “Renewal” is that the gifts presented at the Offertory of the Mass are an offering of oneself and an active way of participating in the communal effort to fulfil the Mission of the Church more effectively.
The concern for and commitment to the Church of the people of Shrewsbury Diocese is evident – despite economic uncertainty and continuing falls in Mass Attendance, Total Offertories and Average Weekly Giving Per Person have increased in recent years, although these both reduced in 2013/14.
|FINANCIAL YEAR||TOTAL OFFERTORIES||MASS ATTENDANCE||AVERAGE WEEKLY GIVING PER PERSON|
|2007/2008||£4,682,000 +1.8%||35,350 -1.8%||£2.55 +3.7%|
|2008/2009||£4,700,000 +0.4%||34,320 -2.9%||£2.63 +3.1%|
|2009/2010||£4,734,000 +0.7%||34,310 -0.0%||£2.65 +0.8%|
|2010/2011||£4,717,000 -0.3%||33,430 -2.6%||£2.71 +2.3%|
|2011/2012||£4,722,000 +0.1%||32,980 -1.3%||£2.75 +1.5%|
|2012/2013||£4,763,000 +1.3%||31,413 -4.8%||£2.93 +6.5%|
|2013/2014||£4,676,000 -2.3%||31,171 -0.8%||£2.88 -1.7%|
1. PARISH GIFT AID SCHEMES
Gift Aid enables parishes to reclaim tax on donations that are ALREADY being made at the Offertory and in many other ways – i.e. donations for special purposes and retiring collections.
Donors simply make a declaration that they wish their donations to qualify for a tax refund under the Gift Aid Scheme. This declaration may be made on a Gift Aid Declaration Form (available in parishes or from the Diocesan office) or it can be made over the telephone, fax or by email to the Diocesan Office.
The donor only has to give their name and address and to confirm that they are paying sufficient income tax and that they wish to be part of the Gift Aid Scheme.
Gift Aid involves no commitment to give any particular amount and no long-term commitment. The donor may cancel their membership of the scheme at any time.
There are only two conditions with which donors must comply; firstly that they must be paying at least as much income tax as is reclaimed on their total charitable donations in the tax year and secondly that all donations on which a tax refund is to be claimed will be given either by Offertory Envelopes, by Cheque or by Banker’s Standing Order. It does not matter which rate of income tax the donor pays.
Tax may be reclaimed on any donation(s) given in the above ways. These may consist of Offertory Donations at Mass, Christmas and Easter Offerings, special Retiring Collections that are taken from time-to-time, Mass Offerings, or any “one-off’ donation(s) made in response to an appeal for a specific purpose (i.e. for a new heating system, church re-decoration, etc).
Most parishes have a lay person who acts as Gift Aid Organiser who can explain further and advise you on how to join the Gift Aid Scheme. The Director is available to carry out weekend Gift Aid appeals in Parishes, and Parishes are encouraged to have an appeal every 3 to 4 years to keep pace with the floating population and the tax status of Parishioners.
Your Parish needs the extra funds that the Gift Aid scheme provides.
2. GIFT AID DONATIONS TO THE DIOCESE AND SPECIAL FUNDS
As well as benefiting parishes, Gift Aid can be used to enhance the value of donations to the Diocese through the General Diocesan Fund and other Diocesan Funds and Organisations – for example the Retired Priests’ Fund, the Clergy Education & Training Fund (which funds those training for the Priesthood), and the Justice & Peace Commission.
The appropriate Gift Aid Declaration Form can be obtained from the Director (see contact details above), or general Gift Aid Declarations can be downloaded from the Planned Giving & Gift Aid pageof the Diocesan website. Cheques should be made payable to “Diocese of Shrewsbury” and a note should accompany the donation specifying which fund is to benefit.
In the last few years a process has begun of introducing Planned Giving and Gift Aid as part of the overall concept of Stewardship. What do we mean by Stewardship?
Stewardship is a “one-word” description of the Christian way of life. It is not something that we do; it is a way of living out our discipleship. It has to come from a very mature faith, an attitude of mind and of living that is driven by the acknowledgement that all things in life, indeed life itself, do not belong to me, but that they belong to God. Nothing is mine, everything is God’s. All my gifts, skills and talents belong to him: I am merely here for a while to care for them, to use them wisely, to nurture and develop them, and then to return them. I come with nothing, and I shall leave with nothing. But in between times I am called to do many things.
By our baptism we are called to be Disciples of Christ. Stewardship is an expression of discipleship with a power to change how we understand and live out our lives. Disciples who practice stewardship recognise God as the origin of life, the giver of freedom, the source of all they have and will be.
However small you may feel your gift is, it will be multiplied as it is shared. Jesus calls us to share our time, talents and treasure as he compares them to a light created to illuminate all in the house not to be hidden under a bushel. (Matthew 5 14-16),
Please contact me if you would like more information on Planned Giving, Gift Aid, diocesan or parish finances or developing stewardship in your parish.
Mike Russell, Director