The Stewardship For Us (s4us) Team, is based on a simple principle and a long history. The principle is that stewardship is important to all of us. We care about our communities and our institutions, and therefore we should be effective stewards, unafraid to talk about resources and money, and able to support our values in tangible, empowering ways. The history is our building on over 20 years of stewardship consulting support, a unique legacy of the Unitarian Universalist movement that continues to evolve as it supports UUs and others everywhere. Our team works closely with and through the UUA’s Congregational Stewardship Network and the Director of Congregational Life.
Who Are We?
Meet the team
We provide expert advice and assistance in building strong, sustainable stewardship programs that are grounded in the mission, vision, and community of your congregation. We offer expertise in the areas of budget drives, special stewardship campaigns, capital campaigns, assessment of financial capacity for capital projects, strategic planning, legacy gifts and endowments, leadership coaching, and stewardship workshops for leaders, congregations, and clusters. Custom designed programs for specific challenges and opportunities are also offered.
Our approach is based on three core concepts:
- Partnership. You bring to this relationship an intimate knowledge of your congregation, collectively and as individuals. We bring years of experience and lessons learned in hundreds of congregations, ranging from a couple of dozen members to almost one thousand members. Blending what we all bring to the relationship and apply to your challenges is what yields success.
- Practical Solutions. In most cases, congregations call on s4us because they have a problem or have hit a plateau and wish to advance. In some cases, an opportunity has arisen that the congregation wishes to make the most of, without waste or delay. Our responsibility is to work with you to craft best practices solutions that fit your situation. As consultants, we also provide “the forcing function,” asking challenging questions, reminding us of the goals and standards we set, and keeping an eye on our agreed upon timelines. Solutions are seldom simple and cannot be applied the same everywhere; beware the consultant who arrives with a ready-made solution. Let’s invest the time and effort to get it right.
- Capacity Building. It’s great to solve the immediate challenge, but what about next year? Part of our solution set is to ensure you build capacity and have the tools and information to institutionalize the lessons we learned together. We go beyond technical solutions to ensure that best practices are adopted and become part of the congregation’s “institutional DNA.”
Congregations are the core of Unitarian Universalism, and we are dedicated to making them stronger and healthier. But congregations do not stand-alone. Your congregation can be, probably already is, an important part of your larger community. Equally important, each congregation is linked in dozens of important ways to other faith communities and local nonprofits, to other congregations in clusters or informal groupings, to regional coordinating bodies such as districts and regions, and to the national/international headquarters.
Good stewardship recognizes and supports all those ties; with such connections, your congregation is part of a powerful grid spreading light and information. Without them, we are all isolated small groups in a very large territory. We are stronger, more influential, and more effective together.
Every congregation is unique. We put in the time and energy to understand your culture, your history, and your hopes and priorities. And yet, challenges are often common issues experienced by others; you are rarely the first congregation to deal with a particular challenge. We can help you assess how others have dealt with similar challenges successfully, or not; together we can build a solution that works for your congregation. Good solutions have common elements from one congregation to the next, but the beauty is in the details, in how solutions are applied and integrated.
The Stewardship For Us Team engages in regular program and client reviews, to ensure quality control, to update our services, and challenge each other to improve and grow.
The Stewardship For Us Team works collaboratively and as independent consultants. Clients may contact the team at any time for assistance or to answer questions and the team will assign one of our consultants to work with you. Should you have a preference for a particular consultant at the outset, you are welcome to contact that consultant directly.
Each of our consultants bring substantial and varied experience to this work, and each are active, life-long Unitarian Universalists. We invite you to learn more about them from the biographies section of this web site.
If everything in your congregation is going well, if you are satisfied with the solutions you now have, you likely do not need consultant support.
If, on the other hand, problems seem resistant to solutions, you have reached a plateau, or you simply believe its possible to be a better and stronger congregation, we are ready to work with you – to assess where you are and where you wish to be, to assess your organization and processes, or to clarify and energize your mission and vision.
Reach out and let us know you would like to talk about what might be possible together.
What About Groups Other Than Congregations?
We draw from a wide range of organizations for experience and best practices: congregations, charities, nonprofits, government, and the private sector. All have lessons to offer when properly adapted.
The Stewardship For Us Team can apply these tools and lessons to your organization, whether it a district or regional body, a national organizing center, a nonprofit, or a charitable organization.
Stewardship for Us is a network of independent consultants. Nothing contained on this website and no action taken by any of the consultants shall be construed as constituting a partnership, an association, a joint venture or other entity between the consultants. No consultant has any right to obligate or bind another consultant in any manner. No consultant shall be considered an agent of another consultant. Each consultant has sole control of its business and operations, and each consultant shall be solely responsible for all costs, expenses and liability arising out of such consultant’s conduct. No consultant shall be in any way responsible for the debts, liabilities or obligations of another consultant.