COVID-19 Relief Grants are currently available to congregations to assist with emergency expenses arising from the cornonavirus outbreak.
Offerings received by mail
Consider how to secure the mail when there’s no one there regularly to receive it. Provide for more than one person (or a fidelity bonded person) to open, count, deposit – while maintaining social distance.
Precautions and Procedures – who knows (and where do you find) the
- Emergency contact numbers and protocols
- Lock down steps to ensure safety
- Financial and computer security systems
- Alternate IT support
- Banking connections
- Offsite emergency strategy – where will you shift your operations
- Emergency utility shut-offs
- Transfer of authority if leadership is at risk of quarantine restrictions
- Updated rosters of congregations and presbytery staff
- Essential insurance and payroll documents
How Do We Not Go Broke?
Resources Collected by the Commission on Thriving Congregations
So far, COVID 19 hasn’t been doing great things for the economy. It’s also not doing great things for the bank accounts of our churches. At least, that’s what we’re hearing. So how do you maintain giving at a time like this?
Again, there are different ways to approach this depending on how comfortable people are with technology. First, here are some ideas for people who are comfortable with hopping on the internet:
- The Presbyterian Foundation Online Giving Program
It’s exactly what it sounds like. The Presbyterian Foundation provides an online tool for people to give to your church by credit card, debit card, or electronic funds transfer. Unlike other services, their fee for transactions is very low (2%), and there’s no start-up cost. Check it out here or contact Olanda Carr, our region’s Ministry Relations Officer (704-379-7909 or 888-711-1318).
This is another online giving option that’s pretty simple to set up, and it’s pretty accessible for people to use. There’s no start-up cost here either, and the transaction fee is 2.2% + $0.30 if you’re a charitable organization.
Here are some options for people who aren’t so comfortable using the internet:
- Automatic Debit Payments
Members can call their bank to set up an automatic monthly payment to church. They will be mailed as a check.
- The Good Ol’ Post Office (Again)
Ask them to send their pledge (by check!!) through the mail. Just make sure you give them a good address if your treasurer isn’t going to be at church. ALSO – make sure you know that your mailbox is a safe place for checks to hang out before you invite people to do this. If it’s not, have them mail them somewhere else!
It’s always helpful to remind people that giving really does matter – it could be a matter of a staff-person’s position. But it’s also helpful to remember that we might be able to reduce costs in other ways at this time (e.g. lower utility bills). Finally, we may also need to remind ourselves that the turbulence in the economy might be truly hurting our members; a wider conversation throughout presbytery on creative funding models may be essential.
And for pastors and Sessions in particular, know that Thriving and the wider presbytery leadership are all working on financial issues like:
- What if our church isn’t going to be able to support itself through this?
- What do we do if we can’t pay our staff? How do we handle that?
- Are there grants or funds that we can tap into to survive?
We are a community – not just as congregations, but as a Presbytery – we are going to find creative ways for us all to make it through this.