Next Steps Weekend

Next Steps Weekend: Stewardship Planning


The Next Steps Weekend (NSW) is the first step in effectively utilizing a consultant to support your goals and aspirations as a congregation. It is among our shortest term, lowest cost offerings, yet it provides an invaluable foundation for future collaboration and provides your leadership exceptional insight into the options before you as a congregation. It is the beginning of our work together.

A congregation is a community, a network of systems. The NSW provides the opportunity to examine and measure that community and those systems across a wide spectrum, not just stewardship, to ascertain the overall health and capacities of the congregation.


Provides an examination of the congregation’s strengths, challenges, risks and opportunities. Congregations report that NSWs result in immediate impact as well as long-lasting value in terms of strengthened stewardship and generosity. The following benefits  are typical:

  • Shares lessons learned and best practices from other congregations.
  • Measures value and compatibility of a consultant before a larger program relationship.
  • Clarifies how, where, and when a stewardship consultant can be helpful.
  • Determines if you are ready for a major step, such as a capital campaign.
  • Lays the foundation for follow-on work for successful programs, such as budget drives, strategic planning, endowments, and other areas determined during the NSW.

What We Offer:

The NSW process begins many weeks before the visit. Following initial conversations and/or email exchanges, the congregation provides extensive information for the consultant’s review and analysis before the visit. The consultant recommends an agenda and participants for the NSW, and provides information to share with the congregation to publicize the weekend and foster engagement and participation.

During the NSW, the consultant facilitates a series of small group meetings with essentially the entire church leadership representing a wide range of committees, and often speaks to a large group of congregants at least once during the visit.

At the conclusion of the visit, the consultant provides a verbal overview of findings and initial recommendations. This is followed shortly with an extensive written report, with specific recommendations and observations toward your goals and aspirations.

Next Steps Weekend Reviews

One of the best years I have seen

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

Insights are right on

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

Exceeded our goal

Barry Finkelstein gave our recent capital campaign a needed boost of expertise and coaching. From the initial “Next Steps Weekend” that determined our readiness to take on a major capital project to my final call over a year later that we had, in the end, exceeded our fund-raising goal, he was with us every step of the way. Now we are working with our architects on final building designs and will soon break ground, thanks to Barry’s guidance.

Bob McArthur, Chair, Building Project Steering Committee and Board of Trustees member,

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens, Athens, GA.

A really good fit for us

Barry’s work with us “…provided a clearer picture of our strengths, weaknesses and how to address both as we move forward toward a capital campaign. I heard many people say they thought Barry was a really good fit for us. I happen to agree.

Jane Mayer, Board President, UU fellowship of Athens GA

Nothing but good comments

Bill, we are slowly digesting your report.  I think that we had you come at a very opportune time. I have heard nothing but good comments about the Next Steps Weekend. What – no one wants to complain????  Amazing!

Stewardship Chair, Accotink Unitarian Universalist Church

Looking forward to financial feasibility study

Stewardship consulting review

Steve Clem

“Kay was excellent [and] provided a great deal of information. We’re looking forward to the next phase – the Financial Feasibility Study. ”

– Steve Clem, Cascade Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Annual Campaign Transformed by Next Steps Weekend

As president of my congregation, I want to express how helpful Liz Coit has been to re-energizing our annual pledge campaign during our Next Steps Weekend process held in November 2018. She presented herself in an affirming and authentic manner which prompted instant respect from even the most discerning of our members. She carefully tailored the weekend activities to address our stated goals and listened intentionally to our underlying issues, helping to bring them to our awareness gently and clearly. Our annual pledge campaign has been transformed from a necessary burden into a positive means of facilitating a culture of stewardship and generosity.

Karen Palmer, UU Society of Oneonta

Excellent summary report

We are all looking forward to your onsite presence. I was blown away when you paid us your Next Steps Visit last year. I came to attend one meeting early on Saturday and ended up staying for most of the day. I pick up your excellent summary report whenever the need arises — it is the most thorough, impartial and informative guideline that we have. Especially now that we are shaking so many trees simultaneously, many of those old leaves want to continue hanging on to their old familiar branches.

Finance Trustee, North Shore Unitarian Church, Deerfield, IL

One word… Outstanding

I would sum up the weekend with one word … outstanding! Thanks to you and the UUA for making such an excellent resource available to us here in Stow.

Roy Miller, Stewardship Chair, First Parish Church of Stow and Acton

Guidance about how best to proceed

“The service was a very good value for the cost and helped us a great deal. [Kay provided] direct advice about the state of our financial picture and guidance about how best to proceed.”

– Amanda Cater, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bozeman