Staycation: Part 1

Staycation is a word in our vocabulary like hangry or mansplain; we use it in everyday conversations. When asked what we are doing during our summer vacation, we may replay with, “I’m doing a staycation this year, how about you?”. Parish Giving thought we would celebrate those who are participating in the staycation this summer and give you some ideas! Keep reading for more details!

Continue reading “Staycation: Part 1”

Fourth of July FREEdom

July is just on the horizon; it’s almost here! That means it is almost America’s birthday! Living so close to America’s birthplace, we thought we’d share some FREE things to do to celebrate our nation’s 243rd birthday in Philadelphia! These are some of the ideas that we came up with!

Continue reading “Fourth of July FREEdom”

Gardens

April showers bring May flowers. It’s that time of the year where our gardens are getting planted and flowers are beginning to bloom. The air is becoming more fragrant and our yards are bright and colorful. What a beautiful time of the year! Church gardens are no exception, and Parish Giving is here to help!

Parish Garden

I love looking at pictures of gardens from different church bulletins. The perfectly manicured lawns and the different flowers always flow so nicely together. I especially love when they are able to capture butterflies or bird’s nests. On the same note, their gardens are difficult to keep up with; lots of tending to and money go into them. Why not try one of our online forms for a fundraiser?

We offer different kinds of online forms for raising money, or for flower/plant donations. You can even raise money with our forms for memorial plaques or small statues for loved ones. It’s a small idea that can grow very nicely!

School children

It’s important to teach school children about gardens at a young age. They can learn to appreciate plants, flowers and the creatures that live in it. One of our parishes, Holy Family in Hicksville, NY, demonstrated how to take care of an abandoned robin’s egg. They help create a bird’s nest for it in hopes that the egg will hatch. Teaching them responsibility to help grow and nurture what is growing about them, whether plant or bird helps them grow as adults in the church. They become more caring and loving themselves.

Communities

Some towns and cities have community gardens. Your parish garden should be part of it. Having others tending to it allows it to grow and have different plants throughout the season. This also helps more families and people new to the area adapt to their new home. Why not host a community garden day to help your garden grow in more ways than one?

As you can see gardens are more than just about plants and flowers; it’s about the community and teaching. If you are interested in hosting a community garden day, contact us and we’ll advertise it on our numerous social media platforms – we can even come up with a form for donations too! Parish Giving is here for all of your garden and community needs!

Feel free to send us pictures of your parish garden! We love seeing the flowers blossoming and seeing the different varieties of colors used!

Teacher Appreciation Week

The first full week of May brings Teacher Appreciation Week. Since it’s towards the end of the school year, it is a great time to reminisce and think about all the things that your teacher or teachers have done for their students. It does not matter if they are their grade school teacher, religious education teacher or an extra-curricular teacher. They all bring something to the classroom.

Parochial School Teacher

 Catholic school teachers are amazing! Not only do they work long hours, come up with lesson plans, grade papers, and other things that all teachers do, but they also help prepare students to become adults in the Catholic Church. They help to prepare them for their First Communion and Confirmation, and teach them lessons about the Catholic religion. In many schools they play multiple parts and wear many hats. That is why we appreciate all Catholic school teachers!

Religious Education Teachers

What would we do without RE teachers? With numerous Catholic schools combining or closing, sometimes all we have is Religious Education for our students. We would be lost without our RE teachers then. They help students understand the readings, teach them prayers and help them receive their sacraments each year. Often RE teachers are volunteers from the parish who may not have any teaching experience; they just enjoy teaching young people about being Catholic and the church. We’d be lost without these teachers!

Extra-Curricular Teachers

Whether it is art, music, gym or an after school sport, extra-curricular teachers take additional time out of their day to help students grow into young adults. They teach them additional lessons like team work, camaraderie, goals and so much more. These are the teachers who help shape their students and encourage them to keep striving for more and to never give up. Thank you to all the extra-curricular teachers out there!

Do you have a Catholic school or Religious Education program? Parish Giving has Tuition Simplified and online registration forms to make signing up and paying even easier! Contact us to find out more information – info@parishgiving.org or 866-307-7140.

Really Cool Reasons to use PG

As you probably remember, we have a 10 Really Cool Reasons to use Parish Giving blog already. We thought why not update it to make it more relevant for our readers! Over the past year we’ve grown (but just the right amount!) and expanded in our marketplace! Take a look and see what’s new!

10. You call, we answer! If you give us a call, you will be greeted by a friendly voice! Whether it is about an event for social media to paying tuition online, we are here to help you! If you have to leave a message, you can be sure that one of us will give you a call back as soon as we can!

9. Use us for our social media! If your parish uses Parish Giving for online giving, we will advertise any church event for you! Just give us the details, and we will create a post online and advertise it at least once a week! Extra online traffic means more people knowing about the event! We are currently on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Check us out today!

8. Our forms! What better way to sign up for church events than with online forms? Everything is in one place, and no need to wait in line with a check. Now you can just enter all of your details in the form, put in your bank details or credit/debit card, and you are done. You will receive an email confirmation so you know everything is complete. If you do not receive an email, just call and we’ll happily assist!

As a side note, if you work for the parish office, the online forms help keep you organized too! No more large piles of paper! Instead we have easy to locate spreadsheets!

7. You have options. Who said you have to have your account automatically debited each week? We allow one time transactions as well so you can have control on how much you want to give and how often.

6. Auto debited each week. At the same time, you can have the same amount taken out each week. You do not even have to think about it, we take care of it for you. Since many of your other bills (think mortgage/rent, car payment, etc.) are automatically taken out, why not just have one less to worry about giving to?

5. We are either in your area, or coming to your area! You may think that because we are located in New Jersey that we only service local areas like Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware. Well that’s not true! We have customers as far west as California, as far north as New Hampshire, as far south as Florida and everywhere in between!

4. We love Catholic Schools! One of our online forms is to pay school tuition online. Our selling point for parents – we have zero late fees! We understand that sometimes things come up, and that it is a sacrifice for each family to pay their child’s tuition each month. We have children in Catholic schools so we understand what parents are going through.

3. We’re a GREAT team! Because we are the perfect size, we have many hats. All are customer service oriented, while others specialize in marketing, creative and tech. If you have a question, one of us has the answer!

2. Customized forms. We are able to create an online form for whatever you need one for. Have a CYO team starting? We can create one. Want to host a beef and beer? We have forms for that. Have a centennial celebration? We got you covered! Just let us know and we can customize any form for whatever you need.

1. Giving to your parish is cool! Plain and simple.

Spring into Savings!

Happy First Day of Spring! Our geese friends Jay and P. are outside honking, we’re taking our allergy medicine each morning because the trees are starting to blossom, and the grey winter sky is starting to turn into a happy blue! Finally, spring is here! That means it is time to spring into savings with Parish Giving! Large Parish, small parish, it doesn’t matter!  You can pick and choose online solutions that work for you.  Continue reading to find out how!

Our Online Forms

Our online forms save your time and energy! How often have you looked through stacks and stacks of paper, or spreadsheet after spreadsheet looking for someone’s payment or demographic information? Although it has worked for a while, why not try our online forms? If you do not like them, then you can go back to your older version. I can almost guarantee that you won’t though!

Religious Education Registration and Payment Solutions

Our Religious Education online registration and payment solutions will allow you to spend more time on your mission of education!  There are two options to pick from:  an online form or a module.  The form is easy!  You decide what registration information you want on the form and we create it.  Your families click on the form link to register and pay.  The module is simplified!  You provide your student information and we upload it into the module where you can assign tuition and classes.  Your families will receive an email to register and pay.

School Tuition Registration and Payment

If you are like me, you have most of your monthly bills automatically taken from your account. I have it set up on my calendar how much comes out on which day so I can account for it beforehand. With certain bills, I like to be able to pay them when I have money. This includes school tuition.

As we all know paying for a parochial school education is a sacrifice a family makes for their children. Sometimes we miscalculate and are off by a couple of dollars from our monthly payment. That usually means a hefty fine if you are late by a day or two waiting for your paycheck. Parish Giving simply does not believe in those extra fees for families. If you need that extra day or two to pay your tuition, we will not charge you an additional fee. It just makes sense.

Another service we provide is not charging for insufficient funds. This is unique to Parish Giving! We know that sometimes you can be off by a dollar or twenty when managing your checkbook, so we do not see the point in punishing you for human error. Instead we charge a flat fee for each family (not per person!) and reach out to families if a payment does not go through. We stay on top of it for both the school and family!

Our Weekly E-Giving

Sometimes we forget our church envelope at home. It happens. That means you have to then mail in your envelope to the church. A stamp now costs $0.55! Why not try Parish Giving’s electronic giving instead? Save the cost of a stamp, and save yourself some time by setting it up to be automatically debited each week.

As you can see Parish Giving is all about Spring and Savings! Give Parish Giving a try and see how much time and money you can save!

Saint Patrick’s Day

The day is approaching in which everyone is Irish! To some Saint Patrick’s Day is about parties and enjoying life to the fullest. To others it is a day to celebrate Saint Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland and numerous other countries. This week’s blog is dedicated to Saint Patrick and how he is perceived in different places around the world.

Ireland

Of course we have to start with the country Saint Patrick is most associated with. When I was in undergrad I went with my school on a trip to Ireland, England, Wales and France. Our tour director had us take an unplanned trip to Rock of Cashel while there.

Rock of Cashel is by a cave where Saint Patrick banned Satan from entering. In the 12th Century a Cathedral was built there. As you can see from my picture, we visited when they were preserving the structure. We were still able to see the importance of this cathedral to the Irish.

Rock of Cashel in 2012

Northern Ireland

This is the burial place of Saint Patrick. He is buried at Down Cathedral which is located in the town of Downpatrick. He was most likely buried there because he is regarded as the first bishop of the Diocese of Armagh.

Down Cathedral is also part of the Church of Ireland. To be seen as a Saint of both the Catholic Church and Church of Ireland is a pretty special honor.

United States

Everyone may not be Irish here, but people love to celebrate one of our favorite Saint’s. Cities have grand parades and turn everything from rivers to their drinks green. We also enjoy a good Shamrock Shake!

I’ve experienced New York City’s parade accidentally once – and yes that can happen. It runs up 5th Avenue, and if you are there the wrong Saturday you too can be stuck in it. If Saint Patrick’s Day is on a Sunday like this year, the parade will be on Saturday the 16th. They even have mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral that morning, but you have to purchase a ticket first!

Chicago is known to dye the Chicago River green in celebration! This draws on average 400,000 spectators each year. Then again, their annual parade helps draw in the tourists as well!

Many small towns across the globe have different festivities this weekend. Since Saint Patrick’s day is a Sunday this year, that means there will be less traffic going to work Monday morning (hopefully!). Just keep in mind that Saint Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland. You can donate an offering to your parish in honor of Saint Patrick, and you can do so by using Parish Giving! Give us a call or email if you have any questions!      

Preparing for Lent

Waking up this morning and I could smell spring trying to emerge. The birds are out chirping, but the weatherman is still predicting another snow storm. March is on the verge of arriving, but we are still stuck in February. This does mean that Lent is around the corner and we should begin to prepare for it. The only thing is how do we prepare for Lent? Well, I have come up with a couple of ways in which we should begin to prepare for the Easter season.

What does my heart and soul need?

This is a question I ask myself daily. All of our hearts and souls need to be nourished differently. For some, it may be daily meditation, and for others, it may be quietly listening. Either way, it should be able to help us focus on the Lenten message. This year’s message is about heart and soul. Pope Francis reminds us that the other person is a gift, sin blinds us, and the Word is a gift. Keep this in mind when you are listening to your heart and soul.

What about my life makes me happy?

We all have things in our lives that make us unhappy. Why don’t we for once focus on what makes us happy? For instance, we should be happy to have our health, a roof over our head and food on the table. There are plenty of people who would love to have one of the items mentioned. Find something about your life that makes you happy and focus on it. Not only will it make your day better, but the positivity can be contagious.

Stop and listen.

This brings all of the Lenten preparation together. Think about what Pope Francis told us about in his message: Lent is a new beginning… and you should be using it to deepen your faith and friendship with Jesus. He is our gift, helps us refrain from sin, and we should live His word.

The best way to Stop and Listen is to attend mass during Lent with a renewed thirst for Jesus. You are being led on how to love and listen which is what the season is all about. Remember, the most important thing is to attend mass, and you are able to give your offering online with Parish Giving. You just worry about listening and worry less about checks, envelopes, and cash. We can take care of that for you.      

How to Rid Yourself of the Winter Blues

Finally, February is here! The shortest month in days, but the longest in winter; February brings the harshest snowstorms and frigid temps leaving us with cabin fever. The most difficult part is coping with the freezing temps and keeping everyone entertained. Here are some ways you can rid yourself of the winter blues.

Get Out There

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” (Elle Woods, Legally Blonde). One of my favorite movie quotes of all times rings true this time of the year. Yes, many people share the New Year’s Resolution of losing weight and going to the gym, but what you may not realize is that regular exercise DOES make you feel better!

If you are not able to join a gym, consider taking a walk during your lunch hour, or if it’s too cold, take a lap around the building or go up and down flights of stairs. Any type of moving helps with the winter blues, so get out there and take a lap!

Prep your Spring Cleaning

We are all fans of the Marie Kondo show on Netflix here at Parish Giving. She is teaching us how to clean our closets, and clean up our lives. If it doesn’t bring us any joy, we are tossing it. Once your closet is cleaned out, you can dust and donate.

This also applies to items around your house. If you have an old vase collecting dust, or some picture frames without pictures in them, why not put them in a box and donate them to your local Goodwill? Not only are you de-cluttering your life, but you are also helping out those who are not as fortunate.

Eat Healthily

I know, I know… it’s difficult to find good, fresh produce during the middle of winter. Eating healthier will make you feel better. Aim to have either one fruit or one vegetable with each meal. Berries with your breakfast, salad for lunch, and steamed spinach for supper is just an easy way to squeeze in produce. Once spring and summer hit, you’ll be craving seasonal treats like peaches and tomatoes!

Let there be light!

Vitamin D is a necessity. It helps us feel good and feeling good means looking good. With the short winter hours, you may want to invest in a lightbox. You are then able to set the lightbox to act as a sunrise, so you feel as though the sun is rising as you are waking up (as in spring, summer, and fall…).

If this is something that is not in your budget, then try to go outside for a couple of minutes each day. Breathe in the fresh air, and try to do it when the sun is out. Even short bursts of Vitamin D are better than no Vitamin D.

Parish Giving

Yes, Parish Giving is able to help with your winter blues! If you are lucky enough to travel somewhere warm over President’s Day weekend, then remember to use our online giving services to remember your parish. Also, this is not just for when you are on vacation. In case your area is pummeled by snow this month, and your streets are too icy, you can give online and watch mass streaming online. Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing?!

Just remember, spring is just a few short weeks away and so is Daylight Savings Time! We’ll be waking up with the sunshine soon enough! Keep warm and stay safe for the remainder of winter!