Introducing the Stewardship for Us team and the Next Generation of Unitarian Universalist Stewardship.
Preserving our heritage and building our future.
Bill Clontz, Stewardship Consultant
More than a few readers will recognize the title of this article as coming from one of the best-known hymns in the Unitarian Universalist musical tradition. It perfectly describes the process Unitarian Universalist stewardship has been completing over the past five months.
The Stewardship for Us team has been working with the UUA Congregational Life Directorate and the Congregational Stewardship Network to analyze how we can best support stewardship across the UUA.
Our objective has been pretty straightforward, if daunting – retool everything we do to strengthen Unitarian Universalism through stewardship. Our guidelines were to honor the 20+ years of stewardship support this program represents, preserve the best of what works, find out what is needed that is not being provided, and establish new solutions for our congregations, regions, and the UUA.
We examined our existing offerings in detail and compared best practices and tips among the stewardship consultants. We examined what other practitioners in the field of stewardship are doing well, including other denominations, nonprofits, and commercial firms.
We interviewed and met with UUA leaders at all levels, from the UUA’s senior leadership to parish ministers and lay leaders, to confirm what they felt their congregations, regions, and organizations needed for better stewardship. They provided us with thoughtful, imaginative, and focused dialogue.
The end result is stewardship support for the 21st Century, and a body of work that will always be subject to ongoing reexamination and improvement. Much of what results from this process will look familiar; much is new and specifically designed to provide the right assistance, in the right form, to the right communities and organizations. An overview of where we are:
- The same team of expert consultants, all life-long Unitarian Universalists that have served this community for years, continues to do so.
- To save precious resources, primary management of the program has moved to the consultant team itself, now designated as preferred vendors to the UUA, with coordination continuing as previously with the UUA Director of Congregational Life and with the Congregational Stewardship Network.
- Congregations and others are free to reach out to the Stewardship for Us team directly, or through the UUA Congregational Stewardship Network.
- We continue to offer the programs that have proven their value (Next Steps Visits; annual budget drives; capital campaigns, mission; vision and strategic planning support; planned giving; and workshops for congregations and others).
- New focus is available in tailored support for large and for small congregations. A schedule of webinars is being launched to support a wide range of needs throughout the year. Workshops are being offered for clusters and learning circles, at Regional gatherings, and at General Assembly.
- Stewardship support is a team effort in the widest sense. The Stewardship for Us team is working closely with Congregational Life, the Congregational Stewardship Network, and with Regional leadership to provide the best possible, fully coordinated support.
This first edition of the stewardship blog introduces the team. Subsequent editions, which will be updated no less than monthly, will serve as a community resource focusing on core issues of stewardship, generosity, and support, best practices among congregations, and building a community of stewardship that serves the Unitarian Universalist vision.
The blog will be accessible from the Stewardship for Us web site, on the main UUA website, and on four of five regional websites. Your comments, suggestions for topics, and dialogue are always welcome. Those who wish to do so may sign up on the Stewardship for Us website for automatic notification of new postings.
This is an interesting time for Unitarian Universalism, one full of challenges and promise. How well we integrate stewardship with our sense of purpose and community is more important than ever. We look forward to growing, sharing, and learning from each other as we go forward.
We hope you will reach out, see what is available to strengthen our stewardship environment, and join in the dialogue. Links are provided below. Let’s talk.
The Stewardship for Us Team: www.stewardshipforus.com
The Congregational Stewardship Network: http://www.uua.org/finance/fundraising/index.shtml
Stewardship for Us supports the UUA, Regions, and congregations. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, via the UUA’s Congregational Stewardship Network (CSN), (http://www.uua.org/finance/fundraising/index.shtml ), or through your Region staff.
This blog has a new posting at least monthly, and often more frequently. You may receive automatic notice of new postings by signing up to do so on www.stewardshipforus.org. Comments and discussion are always welcome.