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Church finances struggling-how do you make money?

(11 Posts)
WestYorkshireGirl Tue 01-Oct-13 22:28:45

Not posted in this topic before, but thought I would give it a go!
I am Vice Chair of the PCC and a member of a small CofE parish. We have a mix of services - some with choir and some with a low key music group with traditional liturgy. Attendance consists of families and older members - usually about 40 people each week. We are finding our giving in the collection plate is down 20% from last year (for obvious reasons) and the costs of the building and other essential repairs eg to the organ are draining our reserves. We have an active fundraising person who does cake sales and the like, but basically we need to make more income. Does anyone have any tips or strategies to share about what goes on in your church?

ColdFusion Tue 01-Oct-13 22:39:54


Also, seek advice from experts within your diocese. That's what you are paying your parish share for.

You need to have a stewardship/partnership programme. If your vicar is not convicted to preaching on this once a year, you need to get someone from the diocese to come in a do that service.

You really need to have your finance person to be an expert on tax efficiency and charity law.

mikkii Tue 01-Oct-13 22:44:31

Also, try to encourage regular attendees to use gift aid.

ColdFusion Tue 01-Oct-13 23:01:15

Thinking more about this....

You need to tell your congregation the amount they need to be giving on average - basically, your annual outgoing divided by the number of "giving units". I think a lot of people would be shocked. You still get people who think of giving loose change, where in fact, the average churchgoer needs to give well over £100 per month. In my church £300 per family per month is the average we need to keep going.

You need to get as many people to attend your APCM as possible so that they can hear about your finances, but also on your plans for ministry (which need to be funded). Then you need them to commit to tax efficient regular giving via a standing order. You do not want to have a plate that you pass around, when people give according to how good the sermon was that week.

Your finance person and wardens need to work out how much to set aside for quinquennial repairs, so that the organ isn't a surprise.

joanofarchitrave Tue 01-Oct-13 23:04:58

If they ask me, I'm going to suggest to the vicar at the Gift Day that the parish considers making the church redundant. I simply don't think our congregation (approx 30 a week, so you're doing well) is viable.

They probably won't ask me. I left the PCC a while ago because it took time and mental energy I needed for my family, and can't go back to church as I know I will instantly be jumped on to rejoin the PCC, as there aren't enough people. I just hated spending hours a month talking about finance and guttering, and approx 10 mins a year if we were lucky, talking about practical giving to the community.

joanofarchitrave Tue 01-Oct-13 23:06:10

Sorry. We have an annual Gift Day/craft fair, and do the normal sorts of things like coffee mornings. We also do organ recitals, a lot, which I think make a bit. I think cream teas are a winner if you have enough people who can lend stuff, but I've never been able to bring myself to organise one as I think it would be a nightmare.

ColdFusion Tue 01-Oct-13 23:11:46

Coffee mornings and craft sales are only worthwhile for fundraising if they bring in money from outside the church.

They are great for fellowship and mission, though, but may be diverting donations from tax efficient plain ordinary giving, if they are only attracting church family.

As said upthread you need to be looking at a stewardship campaign for regular giving and your diocese will help you with this as there are several good schemes around. Being honest about the costs of running a church helps. Divide the costs between the number of families and say this is the bottom line.

Forty people is barely sustainable in financial terms. The smaller churches in my parish have halls they hire out and this takes some of the pressure off the congregational giving. One of the smaller churches has just bought a decent coffee machine and is running café sessions and making a modest profit but they rely on volunteer labour to make this work long term may be questionable.

For big repairs there are grants you can apply for but many have matched funding so you need your congregation to put their hands in their pockets.

If you have a pretty church that the local population like for Christmas and Easter, Weddings and Baptisms don't be shy of asking those congregations for money for the upkeep of the church in retiring collections. You can get gift aid for loose change collections up to £5k according to our treasurer.

It is tough to keep the show on the road but with no state support that is what we are stuck with.

Rosieres Wed 02-Oct-13 17:09:50

Our church (in a town, about 120-140 Average Sunday Attendance) raises most of its funds through regular giving by Standing Order and gift aid (i.e. reclaiming tax) from donations. We also have a church hall that we hire out which brings in about 10% of our income. But the bottom line is that if the members care about the church, they are the ones to keep it going. I am surprised by the £300 pcm per family quoted in an earlier post, I would reckon it is around £40 to £50 per adult per month in our congregation. This is an average - there are some who are not able (or willing) to give much at all, others give much more than the average. But encourage people to set up standing orders - the money will still come in even if they miss a few services, and it helps both the parishioner and the church to plan their giving/income.

Forty is a viable number for a church, provided the members are committed enough, and your building isn't needing massive renovation. I have run services in rural churches which keep going with a dozen each Sunday. It's a struggle for them, but they would dream of 40 on a Sunday.

If your church building is in a village or small town it may be that a "Friends of the Church" group could be set up for those community members who value the presence of the building but don't want to attend services regularly. This is easier to do in villages than in towns/cities because people can have a strong sense of place and local history.

And don't forget that the church is the people, not the building. If over time it becomes apparent that you can't sustain the cost of keeping the church building open then the church can still continue meeting, perhaps in a local school or village hall, at a fraction of the cost. The building is supposed to be there to support you as a church community, not the other way round.

Patilla Wed 02-Oct-13 22:53:01

Get people to tithe?

MaryBS Thu 03-Oct-13 08:07:33

I think our biggest fundraiser, and it isn't for everyone, is the beer festival! We too are struggling. We've tried to appeal to everyone to up their giving and a few have, but its not enough. People are beginning to switch off to the requests for money.

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