This weekend, the Up Close issue for November featured three congregations with unique stewardship plans. Here are two more we’d like to share. If your congregation has a new way of handling stewardship, please let us know in the comments.
“Our Financial Health” at Marietta
FUUSM (First UU Society of Marietta, OH) has begun a regular process of educating our congregation about financial stewardship called “Our Financial Health.” This initiative began Oct 19 with a short presentation before the offertory during the worship service. Our minister, Rev. Kathryn Hawbaker, gave a brief introduction, noted our annual service auction and made the point that, although fundraisers are important, 77% of the income of our annual operating budget comes from pledges.
We shall continue this series of brief presentations at Sunday service. Subsequent presentations will describe the other features of our annual operating budget, then a description of our trust funds and how we use earnings from these funds to support improvements & renovations of our historic building. In later presentations we will get into how the trust funds work, a new trust fund to support non-capital projects (“Funding our Values”) and special funds (outside of the operating budget and trust funds), such as our Community Meal Fund, Green Sanctuary Fund.
This initiative was started by leaders who believe that it is not helpful to talk about finances only one time a year at the annual fund drive. The book “Cultivating Generosity,” by Rem Stokes, has informed much of the thinking on this subject.
Stewardship Team Works Year-Round
- Shifting to a year round committee – to create a culture of giving
- Working with the Leadership Development Team (LDT) and Volunteer Coordinator – to increase the volunteer base
- Working with Finance to determine the annual budget needs – to increase communication about financial stewardship between committees and to the fellowship
- Working toward a definition of a successful campaign (dollars and participation)
- We increased participation – 75% responded to the “how do you want to be contacted?” survey
- We used a multi-prong communication approach – email, face-to-face, telephone; still worked out as an every member canvass
- Faster & easier canvass – most people preferred email; 79% of pledge goal reached in 30 days (versus 80% in 70 days during last year’s drive) – very few visiting steward requests allowed for quicker pledge responses
- We encouraged fellowship leaders (X-team, volunteer coordinator and committee chairs) to help communicate concrete examples of what a pledge actually supports and allows the fellowship to provide.
- We created and presented a celebration of giving service to thank the fellowship for their generosity