Stewardship For Us consultants bring broad experience and wisdom about all aspects and methods of conducting Budget Drives to raise operating funds. Having worked with hundreds of Unitarian Universalist (UU), and other liberal religious congregations, we know which processes work well and how best to implement them. Our guidance is tailored to each congregation’s unique circumstances, considering goals and objectives, congregation size and demographics, leadership culture, governance structure, stewardship experience, technology platform, staff resources, and other factors.
At their core, successful stewardship and budget drives are about connections:
- Helping people connect their generosity to positive impact in the congregation and in the world
- Enabling people to connect with one another in deep and personal ways to strengthen their commitment and sense of stewardship
- Giving leaders and congregants tools and permission to talk about money and resources and their power to transform our congregations, the wider UU movement, and the world
- Recognizing that our diverse membership responds to diverse communications means in different ways: in person, electronic, and print.
- Engage many more people, fostering stewardship energy, enthusiasm, and confidence
- Apply best practices and tools, including year-round and continuous pledging and information technology solutions for communications, online giving, and data management
- Capitalize on lessons learned instead of reinventing the wheel
- Develop leadership skills and congregation capacity for the long term
- Link stewardship directly to mission, vision, and the passions of congregants
What we Offer:
Our support begins long before your campaign begins, ideally at least six months in advance, recognizing that a successful Budget Drive is a significant campaign with all the logistical challenges that word implies, including data management, synchronizing messages on electronic, live, and print media, and people coordination. We help recruit and organize the team, defining jobs in a way that attracts a diverse and talented group of people, some who would not normally be drawn to stewardship.
We guide you in identifying and recruiting “visiting stewards,” volunteers who agree to meet with their fellow congregants to ask for their financial commitment (pledge). We provide formal training, holistically integrated into our overall budget drive support, that gives the visiting stewards the tools and confidence to have rich and engaging conversations. Our training emphasizes that the stewardship conversation – whether one-on-one or in small or large groups – is about sharing our stories and our passions for the congregation, much more than it is about money. This includes assistance in delivering powerful testimonials. Generosity flows from engagement and passion.
We provide job descriptions, templates and samples of materials, and help develop detailed schedules identifying key milestones, products, and activities. We base our advice and plans on analysis of recent campaigns, building on what works well and shoring up weaknesses.
We help you produce the highest quality print and multi-media materials and coordinated communications plans and timelines for reaching congregants through all available mechanisms. At the conclusion of the campaign, we assess the process and provide lessons learned for the future.
Help your members and friends to deeper conversation and greater giving.
Thank you so much for all your help — you definitely went above and beyond our expectations.
Stewardship Chair, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, NC
It has been a good drive. Lots of great things have come from this drive and there continues to be lots of outreach…. We are ABOVE even our stretch goal for donors of $3000 and up…. Our stewardship committee newcomers (3!) are awesome and riled up It is fun to see and I think they’ll be ready to take over the committee next year!
Almost all the pledges we received were at least the same or moderate to significant increases. Also, many started their increase now instead of waiting until July.
Thanks, Bill, for all your help. BTW, we are planning to use some words from your sermon in our newsletter since it was so inspiring to those that heard it!
Stewardship Co-Chair, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Anchorage
I have heard so many people say that your training was the best they’ve ever had. Others who were nervous were delighted with the opportunity to go make visits.
Barb Robinson, UU Congregation of the Quad Cities
Let me add my enthusiastic thanks for your very wise assistance to us. You helped us sort through some ideas and get the big picture, as well as getting some thorny details figured out. You also confirmed our basic approach to stewardship that increases our confidence and, indeed, energy going into the next campaign. We contrasted our meeting last night with the meeting two years ago and celebrated our progress.
Sue Wilson, Past President Universalist Church of West Hartford
After several successive campaigns that struggled to recruit volunteers, generate excitement and increase pledges; we were in need of an injection of enthusiasm. Mark increased our confidence in our ability to run a cottage-meeting pledge drive. I appreciated Mark’s approach in making sure the team understand not only what to do, but why we should follow the steps he advised.
Liz Bredeson, Stewardship Lead Volunteer, First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, IA
The overwhelming response has been positive to not only your small group and one-on-one meetings, but various members of the congregation have given unsolicited responses in praise of your presentation following Sunday’s service – that you are knowledgeable – and “expert”, that you come across as warm, caring and empathetic, and that your insights are/were valuable or “right on.”
Administrator, UU Church of Asheville
Bill, thank you for all your advice and guidance. It made our tasks much easier.
Capital Campaign Co-Chair, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Anchorage
Bill, the ministry is going very well. With the enthusiasm you generated during your visit and the work of many local folks, we have experienced one of the best years I have seen in a long time. Following your recommendations, we have moved to a twelve-month stewardship committee and we have added the minister and president as advisors to the endowment committee. Plans are underway to promote endowment and begin a legacy program. We are planning multiple years for stewardship.
Board Chair, Unitarian Universalist Church of Chattanooga, TN
Thanks so much for your good words and for your very good work with our congregation. I feel your visit was an enormous blessing and that no matter what the final totals of the budget drive may be, the stewardship culture of this congregation is already shifting. And we owe you an enormous of debt of gratitude for that!
Tim Temmerson, UU Church of Akron, OH
Overall, Mark is the best consultant with whom I have worked with in our congregation over the years. He is very insightful, direct and helpful. It is very easy to work with Mark and he is very efficient with his time. And, he interfaces well with congregational members and friends.
Creighton Cray, Stewardship Leader, Community UU Church of White Plains, NY
Bill, what a pleasure it was to finally get to meet you face to face and hear you in person. Thanks for all your good work. You do indeed light chalices of the heart and spirit!
Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta