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A wide array of government assistance is available to churches, especially in helping ensure continued full employment of all church employees. Canon Phyllis Jones, Chief Financial Officer of the Diocese, presented on a variety of options at town hall meetings. Download her slides here, and view the full town hall here.
Small businesses, churches, and eligible nonprofit organizations, veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses (including churches) by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.
- Treasury Department PPP Web site (includes information and application form)
- PPP Maximum Loan Amount Calculator Template
- Sample PPP application (coming soon)
Guidance from Chancellor Paul Ambos regarding the PPP application:
We are often accustomed to having to seek approval from our Standing Committee before entering into loan agreements, but this is only applicable when the loan is secured by property. Since Paycheck Protection Program loans are not collateralized by property, no diocesan approval is required for applying.
One question that has been circulating amongst diocesan Chancellors is how to fill out the blank for “Owner” on the application form. Christopher Hayes of California suggests that incorporated congregations use “not applicable — nonprofit religious corporation that does not issue stock”. If you are unincorporated, use “nonprofit religious organization.” We suggest you use this in your applications.”
eGiving During Virtual Ministry!
- Vanco Resources. Vanco provides a variety of resources including guides, case studies and webinars designed specifically for faith-based eGiving.
- eGiving During Virtual Ministry Webinar. This webinar provides a demonstration of Vanco’s eGiving products. The link takes you to a GoToWebinar registration page for the webinar.
- Diocese of New Jersey Webinar provided by Vanco. The link will take you to a recording of the webinar Vanco provided specifically for our diocese. Download the slide deck here.
Frequently asked questions regarding church finances during this period.
- Statement from Diocesan Financial Advisor
- What government assistance is available to churches?
- Is the Finance Office open?
- If we need to make withdrawals from our DIT Account to cover expenses, will we able to?
- What options do we have for electronic/online giving?
- Are we obliged to pay our staff while we’re not having onsite services and our buildings are closed?
- We’re a small church and our cash flow has been significantly crippled by the suspension of worship services. We don’t have enough cash on hand to pay our priest or cover our bills. What should we do?
A Statement from Diocesan Financial Advisor Adam Conish, CFA
Washington policy analyst Daniel Clifton and Glenmede’s Thom Melcher discuss policy solutions for the pandemic and implications for the 2020 election and financial markets.
Although the economic outlook remains uncertain, baseline forecasts show the U.S. economy is likely to avoid a deep recession. . . .
At this time, we are seeing a public health crisis caused by a pandemic — not a financial crisis threatening the economy’s foundations. As a result, we expect the effects should be transitory with an economic and market recovery starting in the third or fourth quarter. History shows that in times like these it remains prudent to stay the course and ride out the volatility, so when markets do recover investors begin to recover what was lost.
—Adam Conish, CFA | Managing Director Endowments and Foundations | Glenmede
Yes, with the understanding that as much of this work as can be done electronically is being done offsite. Phyllis, Tanya, and Manny will continue processing financial transactions and providing reports as usual.
Yes, that process remains unchanged. Please contact Tanya Rainey (firstname.lastname@example.org) as usual via email to process withdrawal requests, being sure to include documentation showing vestry/mission committee authorization for the withdrawal, also as usual.
Electronic/online giving has long been recommended as an effective way to sustain smoother cash flow and make it easier for your pledgers and regular givers to maintain steady giving even when they can’t attend church. Now is an opportune time to establish and promote your capacity to accept electronic and/or online donations for the long-term, not just as a short-term measure. And while there are always fees associated with online giving, consider also the money you leave on the table when you don’t accept eGiving in today’s culture. Here are some recommendations:
- Congregation members can go online or by phone to their banks to set up recurring payments to your church by check or by direct transfer if you give them your bank account information.
- PayPal is a simple payment processing company. Accounts are simple to set up and use, and will allow you to accept e-checks as well as credit card payments. Credit/debit card payment processing fees for charitable organizations are currently 2.2% + $0.30 per transaction.
- Vanco Payment Solutions is an excellent and highly recommended resource for comprehensive eGiving solutions – especially for churches. They are the vendor we use for diocesan purposes and can handle all types of electronic transactions from website donation campaigns to mobile app donations to text donations and more. Their “Start” plan has a monthly fee of $10, and credit/debit card payment processing fees are currently 2.75% + $0.45 per transaction. View the March 25, 2020 Webinar Vanco presented to the Diocese of New Jersey.
There are any number of other eGiving solution apps out there – Fundly, Qgiv, FirstGiving, DonateNow, etc. Most have very similar features but widely varying price structures. The two solutions listed above are among the most competitive and secure. There are also many digital wallets out there to facilitate electronic payments – Venmo, Zelle, AmazonPay, GooglePay, ApplePay, etc. Great care should be taken with security should you decide to set up an account with any of these apps, which typically charge around 3% to process credit card transactions.
Certainly anyone working under a Letter of Agreement or an employment contract should continue to be paid in accordance with the terms of their agreement. Moreover, the behind-the-scenes aspects of what your staff does may very well become increasingly important. They may be coping with schedule changes, increased communications, creative adaptations to worship, formation and outreach, and dealing with more rigorous building cleaning requirements. Pastoral care and spiritual support of your congregation during this period of time may also be more demanding. They are a critical investment in the long-term continuity of your ministry.
We’re a small church and our cash flow has been significantly crippled by the suspension of worship services. We don’t have enough cash on hand to pay our priest or cover our bills. What should we do?
Contact Canon Phyllis Jones at email@example.com immediately to discuss options for relief and/or temporary support.
We will certainly understand if your monthly Marks of Mission Giving payment needs to be delayed due to the short-term financial impact of the suspension of public worship and public gatherings in your buildings. As we get nearer to year-end, if you determine that the overall impact has been severe enough to impair your ability to fulfill your pledge, please contact Canon Phyllis Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your situation.