In today’s age of electronic giving, the PAR program helps congregations receive the offering through automatic debit.
Using the PAR program for offerings allows congregational members and adherents to give intentionally, proportionally and faithfully to the church, even when they are not able to be there in person. This helps provide the church with a dependable flow of contributions, makes budgeting easier and reduces paper work.
Costs for congregations are kept low by having The United Church of Canada administer the program. A congregation can sign up if they have only one donor who would like to give in this way. The cost is $0.50/donor each month with a monthly maximum of $45/month for a congregation.
- Download a Guide to launching your congregation’s PAR program
- Brochure for Congregations to give church members in order to promote the PAR program
- PAR Authorization Form for Individuals to Give Directly to PWS&D or Presbyterians Sharing
- PAR Authorization Form for Congregations to give to Individuals
- PAR Confirmation Letter for Congregations
- Download offering cards for those wishing to participate that can be placed in the offering plates
- Changes to PAR Program Form
- PAR Cancellation Form
Frequently Asked Questions
PAR, or Pre-Authorized Remittance, is a direct debit program that allows people to support their church through an automatic monthly withdrawal from their bank account.
The congregation needs a PAR contact. The contact person is the liaison between contributors and the PAR Unit at the United Church of Canada. They collect PAR Authorization Forms, indicating the amount and distribution of the monthly payment as well as a signed, voided cheque from people in their congregation who want to give.
The PAR contact then must send a covering letter identifying the name of the congregation, name of the PAR “contact” person, the month they want to start the program and a voided cheque(s) from the congregation for the account(s) to which you want the PAR money credited.
3250 Bloor Street West, Suite 300, Etobicoke, Ontario M8X 2Y4
Toll free: 1-800-268-3781
Phone: 416-231-5931 x3050
Email: par [at] united-church [dot] ca
If the information mentioned above is received from your congregation by the 10th of the month, your congregation will be on PAR for that month. The PAR Program Administrator will contact the congregation to confirm the start date.
The offering is automatically deducted from a donor’s account on the 20th of the month (or closest business day following). So, someone who wants to give decides what they want to give each year and divides that amount by twelve. Or, they decide what they want to give weekly and multiply that by 4.33, as there are 4.33 weeks in a month. There is no minimum or maximum amount which can be given.
The donor then fills out the PAR Authorization Form and gives it to the congregation’s PAR contact to get started and that amount will be transferred to the church’s account each month. You can download the offering cards to put in the offering plate each week as a symbol of your gift.
Yes, changes can be made by giving the person who administers the congregation’s program at least 20 days notice. The donor must fill out the PAR Cancellation Form.
The congregational administrator must fill out the Changes to Your PAR Program Form and give the United Church of Canada with 15 days notice.
The sheets can be mailed by Canada Post, faxed, or emailed. If changing or deleting by email, please include all the above information. Changes or deletions by telephone are not encouraged, but if necessary at the last minute, must be followed up in writing. It is recommended that all information sent to the PAR Unit be copied and filed at the church for your records.
A contributor need only fill in one application form and submit one voided cheque. If a contributor changes an account only a voided cheque is required. A new application card is not required.
PAR is debited from contributors accounts and credited to the congregations on the 20th of each month, or on the following business day. The PAR Unit, however, must send the information to the bank before this date. We therefore request that all additions, changes and deletions be received by the Unit before the 10th of the month to allow time to process them. There is a small grace period for urgent requests only.
Yes, the plan allows for up to three specific designations, as with the existing offering envelope program.
Yes. If you have, for example, a separate Presbyterians Sharing account or Building Fund account, then those monies can be directly deposited into the appropriate accounts. PAR can accommodate up to three different congregational bank accounts (e.g., Local, Presbyterians Sharing and “Other”).
Returned items occur when a contributor has insufficient funds in their account, when a contributor closes or changes their account, stops a payment, or dies.
The PAR system runs on two different programs: one to debit contributors’ accounts, one to credit the congregations. Even if a payment is not taken from a specific contributors account, the congregation is still credited with the amount. We do not learn from the bank until afterwards that this discrepancy has occurred.
In this case, the PAR Unit informs the congregational contact of the returned item. The contact person will have time before the next PAR deductions to investigate the problem.
The Unit marks the contributor as “NSF” for the following month (appearing under “NSF Cheques Returned (last month)” on the statement). This means that the Unit will deduct the amount previously credited to the congregation. If desired or applicable, the contributor can then make the monthly donation directly to the congregation.
We also mark the contributor as “OFF,” meaning we do not try to deduct from the contributors account unless otherwise notified by the contact person. The contributor appears under the category “Removed Members (Awaiting Instruction)” on the statement. Members who appear here are not debited nor included in the total of contributor’s charged the service fee.
Each Sunday, individuals on PAR can place a place an offering card in the plate, signifying their gift to God. They can be purchased from the Resource Centre ($2/25) or print the template for offering cards to make your own. We recommend using cardstock or very heavy paper. Once you have the PAR cards, they can be reused by having a place where PAR donors can pick them up when they run out.
Yes, donors may still use offering envelopes for special appeals. If you are doing a special appeal you may want to be sure to have envelopes in the pew for PAR givers to use where they can put their name and address and, if they know it, offering number.
There is an administrative cost to the congregation of $0.50/donor/month to a maximum of $45 per month per congregation. Congregations that are using the PAR Plan report that the benefit of increased givings far outweighs this minimal fee.
There is no minimum number of givers required for your congregation to start the PAR program, but the more people on the program, the more beneficial to the church.
Income tax receipts will be issued from the congregation in the normal manner.
For individuals to participate in this plan they need a credit union or bank account and must ensure that there are sufficient funds in the account to cover the monthly deduction.
Try introducing the idea to the appropriate church committee and/or Church Board depending on your structure. Let it be known that you’d like to promote this optional program to the congregation. Arrange for a minute or two during three or four Sunday services in a row. Explain the concept. Tell people you’ll be available after church to hand out PAR information (the best resource here is the Are You on PAR Brochure).
Use the church newsletter, bulletin announcements, etc. to supplement your message. This method was used in one congregation and PAR giving went from three or four families to over 40 within two months. The more the program is promoted, the more likely it is to be successful and the more the congregation will feel the benefits.
Once you have people on PAR you still need to promote it regularly to attract new donors and to remind people that they can increase their PAR contributions if they would like.
- Contributions can be regularly made even if the donor is away on business or vacation.
- Givers do not have to write a cheque or carry cash each week when they come to church.
- The church will receive contributions consistently, helping pay the bills even in months when many are away.
- It saves time and work for those who count and register the offerings each Sunday.
- Never again will donors have the frustration of getting halfway to church and then remembering that they forgot their offering!
For more information about the PAR Program, please email Karen Plater or call 1-800-619-7301 or 416-441-1111 ext. 272.