Coronavirus (COVID-19) financial guidance for churches

For general guidance, please visit the Church of England coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance, which is being constantly updated.

For ideas and guidance on encouraging online giving, please visit our Encouraging Giving Online page.

For guidance on holding parish meetings and APCMs, please use our coronavirus and parish meetings guidance.

We are aware this is a very difficult time and will prompt a number of questions and concerns. The following guidance on financial concerns will be updated regularly.

With our prayers and best wishes for you, your families, colleagues and friends at this unusual time.

Government Support Measures

We have had several enquires about the measures the government has announced to help organisations in the light of the developing COVID-19 situation. The package of measures is likely to evolve over time but you can find a useful summary of measures announced to date here.

This provides information on:

Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme

HMRC have issued the following statement about GASDS:

In respect of GASDS, guidance on the eligibility for donations for inclusion in this scheme is clear in stating that claims can only be made on cash donations of £30 or less; and contactless card donations of £30 or less collected on or after 6 April 2019. The decision over what constitutes an eligible donation is one for the church/charity to make for themselves, rather than for HMRC, but the conditions for something to be considered a ‘small donation’ are clearly set out in legislation. Where it is the case, for example, of separate donations being given in a single envelope, then if the church/charity official is happy these are clearly separate ‘small donations’ (and clearly stated as such) then they will be eligible for GASDS, as is the case where separate envelopes are used”.

Churches could also help to make it easier to distinguish such gifts by providing separate collecting plates/donation receptacles reserved for saved-up donations when the lockdown restrictions are eased.


My church income relies on cash donations from visitors and at services, or from hall bookings. What can I do?

With the suspension of public worship and social distancing measures, churches that rely on hall bookings or cash donations from visitors and at collections for income may find that they face especially significant income shortfall in the months ahead. Churches will be dependent on the generosity of others as they themselves are able to be generous to the wider community at this time.

There are a range of alternatives to cash that you can explore that don’t require face to face contact. These mechanisms can enable one-off donations from people , or act as alternative ways to give for those who regularly donate by cash. As churches are now closed, consider emailing or writing to your community to let them know how to give. You might want to add a link to an online giving platform during a live streamed service or your social media pages.

*Links on Parish Buying can be accessed easily. If you are not already registered, it is free and quick to do here.

Mobile Phone Giving:
· Text giving
· QR codes* – A QR code is a unique code made up of small black and white squares that can be read by the camera or a QR code reader on a smartphone. It can be printed onto anything that you print on paper, such as a pew card, an order of service, parish magazine, poster, banner or card.

Receiving online donations via your website and link to email and your social media channels. Some providers offer a ‘donate now button’ you can link to in live streamed services.

Taking Contactless Card Payments *:
During this period of closure please consider investing in a contactless card reader* as so many people don’t carry cash it gives you more chance of receiving a donation once your building reopens.

We rely on regular giving given in cash through an envelope system, what should we do?

Now is a good time to encourage those who make their regular gifts by cash in envelopes to consider giving by standing order or direct debit as appropriate, even if on a temporary basis. You can also ask those who give by envelope to back date their envelopes for gift aid purposes. Please see our guidance on the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme for more information.

If your diocese is part of the Parish Giving Scheme, regular gifts can be made by direct debit. Find out more here:

A template form for setting up a standing order or a single gift donation can be found here as an editable pdf or here as a word document.

Please enter your church details and save the pdf to your computer, then upload it to your website. Donors will then need to print it off and fill it in by hand and either post it to or scan it and send it to you as an email attachment, in which case please include your email address. To give donors the option to type in their details you can add the Word document version to your website, complete the same steps, as the pdf, typing in your church address details and email address first before saving it your website.

How can we encourage people to make a donation?

You may want to adapt this wording to encourage people to make donations:
This church relies on donations to provide care and support to everyone in this community. Now more than ever, please consider giving generously to support our mission and ministry. Thank you for your support.