We are raising money for building works; so should we be
investing in a system that enables people to make online donations
by credit card? There are a number of visitors and passers-by who
might donate, if it were easier to do so.
MOST church websites are stacked full of essential information
about worship, occasional services, pastoral work, activities,
history, and a great deal more. The essential element about
spontaneous online giving is that it is instantly in front of the
potential donor, and takes only a click or two. I can think of a
few urban or city-centre churches that might operate this way, but
I would suggest that it is better to have a donation-specific
website than a remote page on the existing one.
A new initiative came across my desk recently - the National
Funding Scheme, which appears to have been set up by the Paul
Hamlyn Foundation and the Rothschild Foundation. It already has a
website (www.nationalfundingscheme.org/). It will
primarily be about mobile giving, and will be launched this
Institutions will be able to register, giving information about
their fund-raising, and this will be available on smartphones and
the like. People will then be able to make casual contributions on
the spur of the moment, and make the donation subject to Gift Aid.
Each church would register on the list, and could put the donation
contact on its publicity, inside and outside the church.
This is an encouraging move forward. For some years, the
digital-donor systems have seemed applicable only to big and very
busy churches, and even then they have limitations. This may be a
great move for us.
Also in the news recently was the publication of the
Building Conservation Directory 2013. Worshippers in
historic churches that undertake repair and conservation, or even
new works, may find this a fascinating book to dip into. It
contains lists of specialists, such as those who work in stained
glass, wall paintings, wood, and other areas. There is advice on
some issues, and, for those who are not into trawling through
websites, it will help you to know about the field of work into
which you may be venturing for the first time.
Architects probably have a great deal of this information to
hand, but an educated client church always produces a better
working relationship. Get the Directory if you are interested in
the details. The Building Conservation website,
www.buildingconservation.com, also gives information on specialist
A quote from the HRB newsletter may be helpful: "A new Android
app ("Keyholder") has been developed which displays information for
visitors to Church of England churches. The majority of churches,
about 13,000, are included. Its main aim is to show which churches
are open to the public during the day, and which ones are locked,
have keyholders, or are open at certain restricted times.
"In addition, the app allows you to add your own information,
and the app can be synchronised with a central server, allowing you
to share information, ratings, and comments with others. The app is
designed for those like to visit English parish churches for their
heritage and so forth, and is not intended to provide information
on service times or contact details for church officials.
"There are two versions available on the Play Store: a free
version, which is very restricted, and has no access to the server,
and the full application, available for purchase at £4.99." I have
yet to find it on my phone, but it sounds great.