Ideas to Boost Funding for Your Programs – PART I

Every year congregations ask for ideas to boost their program funding. How can we change things up so that our annual budget drive inspires people?

One approach is to get information in front of them every month of the year about WHY you are here and WHAT you do. Pick a different item to highlight each month in a “Did UU Know?” testimonial during one of the Sunday services.

photo of volunteers in soup kitchen

Source: Flickr user Ben Faulding

Here are a few examples, with some sub-categories to get you thinking about an area you could feature:

  • LIFESPAN FAITH FORMATION
    • 47 Our Whole Lives sessions
    • 58 adult ed seminars, workshops and discussion groups
    • 35 hours of campus-age ministry
    • 80 hours of Coming of Age participation and volunteer hours
  • COMMUNITY CARE FOR MEMBERS & FRIENDS
    • 74 people in our care
    • 113 visits & 324 cards & 48 meals
    • 5 lay pastoral associates
    • 176 ministerial hours
    • 12 shared ministry groups/covenant groups
  • SERVICE/OUTREACH
    • 600 pounds of food delivered
    • 71 pride parade participants
    • 36 shelter volunteers
    • 122 refugee/immigration rights support hours
    • 3 interfaith service projects
    • 55 hours for environmental advocacy
  • WORSHIP & MUSIC
    • 628 average monthly attendance on Sundays
    • 130 per month at mid-week gathering/meditation/vespers
    • 309 service podcasts downloaded
    • 122 pieces of music ministry
    • 9 community coffee houses

The lists and corresponding numbers will be different for every congregation — there’s no box in which you must fit.

Simply relate what you do to take care of each other and the wider world – it’s easy!

Highlight a different item each month. You’ll reach more people if you tell them on Sundays and you tell them year round. Be sure to include some details in your testimonials about how someone was touched or even transformed by your work. An example from my own congregation is a testimonial from a transgender youth who told us how much it meant to them that we supported their journey and also provided the funds for a camp that had a very positive impact on their life.

If you don’t have any of this information at your fingertips, make a point to collect some to use moving forward. And if you prefer not to focus on numbers, just tell them about the program area and give some heartfelt details on the impact. Many of us are involved in one or more programs but we don’t necessarily know about all the effort and effect of others. Stewardship is about much more than money, it’s all the things you do that make your congregation function and thrive and matter.

When it comes time for your annual budget drive, use some of these examples in your campaign brochure, newsletters, email blasts, testimonials, social media and on your website. Generous and inspired giving will follow if people understand ALL that you accomplish together.

Stay tuned for PART II next week …

Kay Crider is a stewardship consultant with the Stewardship for Us team, supporting the UUA. Kay can be reached at kay@stewardshipforus.com, via UUA Congregational Life, (http://www.uua.org/finance/fundraising) or via the Pacific Western Region staff.

 

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