New fundraising, governance books available

The UUA Bookstore has two new books on fundraising and two on governing board practices.

  • Asking, by Jerold Panas, is billed as “a 59-minute guide to everything board members, volunteers, and staff must know to secure the gift.” Chapter headings include “Donors Give to the Magic of an Idea” and “It’s Amazing What You Don’t Raise When You Don’t Ask.”

All four books are $24.95 each.

Association Sunday 2011 focuses on excellence in ministry

From a September InterConnections feature story, now online at

Excellence in Ministry is the theme for the fifth Association Sunday, which gets under way October 2. Funds collected this year will be used to support Unitarian Universalis ministries in a variety of ways, including providing scholarships and continuing education grants for UU religious professionals and conducting a comprehensive assessment of UU ministries.

Association Sunday is an annual fundraising campaign of the Unitarian Universalist Association to promote growth and to reaffirm our connections as an Association of congregations. Congregations are invited to set aside a Sunday to focus on their connections to one another and to the Unitarian Universalist Association. They are also asked to take a collection to support special UUA projects.

Funds raised by Association Sunday in previous years were used, in part, to fund scholarships for UU ministerial students. Gretchen Haley received a $17,000 scholarship in 2010 through Association Sunday.

Go to the full article.

FORTH stewardship program ready

A new stewardship program, FORTH (Forward Through the Ages) is available from the Unitarian Universalist Association, following completion this year of a three-year demonstration project.

FORTH, from the UUA’s Congregational Stewardship staff group, is a multiyear program designed to address stewardship as a vital part of ministry and as something larger than simply fundraising.

The program has five components: stewardship education, joyful giving, ministry and good works, the annual budget drive, and planned giving. Seven congregations, at Milford, N.H.; Washington, D.C.; Asheville, N.C.; Boca Raton, Fla.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Chandler, Ariz., and Vancouver, Wash. were participants in the FORTH demonstration project.

Signs of living and dying congregations

The blog of the UUA’s Congregational Stewardship staff group is currently highlighting “Signs of living (and dying) churches.” A sample:

Living churches always have a parking problem; dying churches don’t. Living churches are constantly changing their methods; dying churches don’t have to. Living churches have lots of noisy kids; dying churches are quiet. Living churches grow so fast you forget people’s names; in dying churches you’ve known everyone’s names for years.

Also up on the stewardship blog: an article titled “All we ever do is talk about raising money!” about how to manage small fundraisers that can proliferate in the life of a congregation, one on “Stewardship as Spiritual Discipline,” and another on “The 12 myths of fundraising.”

Fourth annual Association Sunday events to begin

The fourth annual Association Sunday fund drive and celebration of Unitarian Universalism begins this fall. Many congregations will hold Association Sunday worship services on October 3, but congregations are free to pick other dates as well, said Katrina Bergmann, director of donor relations and individual giving for the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Stewardship and Development staff group.

Bergmann said more than 520 congregations have signed up to hold events this year, a number consistent with previous years. Funds raised this year will support the UUA’s new Leap of Faith Initiative, a plan that gets underway in November to encourage numerical growth by developing mentoring relationships among congregations. The money will also support events in 2011 in honor of the UUA’s 50th anniversary. The Association Sunday theme is “Celebrating 50 Years and the Future of Our Faith.”

Association Sunday resources, including tips for organizing a service, and promotional materials, are available at the Association Sunday website. Questions may be sent to In an effort to conserve resources, information on Association Sunday will not be mailed to congregations this year.

In encouraging congregations to participate, the Rev. Stephan Papa, special assistant to the president for growth funding, said in a letter, “Our fiftieth anniversary is an opportunity to express our gratitude for the religion we have been given and to deepen our faith in its transforming power. The consolidation of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America is a success. We have developed the gifts of both traditions and brought them into a balance of head and heart, social action and spirituality, individual freedom and community responsibility. We are coming together this year to honor the past and to grow our faith into the future.”

UUA Bookstore offers fundraising book suggestions

A list of books useful to congregational leaders engaged with giving and stewardship is available from the UUA Bookstore (PDF). The books include the UUA’s primary stewardship guide, Beyond Fundraising: The Complete Guide to Congregational Stewardship, by Dr. Wayne B. Clark, the UUA’s director of Congregational Stewardship Services.

Other books include two by church consultant Michael Durall, Beyond the Collection Plate: Overcoming Obstacles to Faithful Giving and Creating Congregations of Generous People.

The bookstore also has The Abundance of Our Faith, a collection of award-winning sermons about stewardship, edited by the Rev. Terry Sweetser and the Rev. Susan Milnor. Also on the list is Offerings: Remarks on Passing the Plate, by the Rev. Robert Thayer, collected anecdotes and reflections for use before the offering plate is passed.

Regional Association Sundays strengthen church connections

From June’s InterConnections feature story, now online at

Association Sunday was begun three years ago to provide an opportunity for individual congregations to think about, celebrate, and support their connections with the larger world of Unitarian Universalism and the Unitarian Universalist Association.

More than 500 congregations take part each year, holding a Sunday worship service focused on associational ties. But what do you do if you’re a small congregation and your denominational ties simply aren’t as apparent or as numerous as they might be in larger congregations? Or if you simply want to get to know your UU neighbors better?

For some congregations the answer to those questions is to gather with each other to create a combined Association Sunday event that is bigger than any of them could manage alone.

Go to the full article.

How to publicize gift-giving information

The UUA Office of Legacy Gifts has created educational inserts about wills, life income gifts, and basic estate planning, which congregations can hand out on Sunday morning, post on bulletin boards, or reprint in newsletters. The inserts are to encourage members and friends to consider planned giving that will benefit their congregation and the UUA.

The inserts are available on the UUA’s Stewardship and Development staff group web pages.

Association Sunday set for October 3

The fourth annual Association Sunday event this fall will mark the start of activities surrounding the 50th anniversary of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Congregations are invited to hold an Association Sunday service on October 3, or another date. Proceeds of the special collections that are a part of each Association Sunday will go to support growth initiatives that are being developed this spring.

Congregations that sign up will be entered into a drawing to receive a visit from UUA President the Rev. Peter Morales on the date of their Association Sunday service.

More information will be available in the months to come at the Association Sunday website. More than 500 congregations participated in the third Association Sunday in 2009. Previous Association Sunday collections have gone to support lay theological education, excellence in ministry, marketing, diversity in ministry, and growth grants to districts and congregations.

Association Sunday is intended to be an annual day when congregations can focus on denominational connections. Check out Association Sunday’s Facebook page where you can share your thoughts and learn what others are doing.

Stewardship blog includes fundraising resources

As we enter the season for many congregational stewardship drives, check out the blog of the UUA’s Congregational Stewardship Services staff group. Recent blog entries include Growing Effective Lay Leaders, Accepting Loans from Congregants, Opening Our Hearts to Stewardship, and Environmentally and Socially Responsible Electronics Recycling.

About Growing Effective Lay Leaders, Dr. Wayne Clark, the UUA’s director of Congregational Stewardship Services, writes:

The chances of successfully implementing a stewardship development program are improved when there is one committed lay leader with a big picture understanding of stewardship development. The successful lay leader has an understanding that raising money for the annual operating budget is but one of at least five stewardship components; stewardship education, joyful giving, ministry and good works, the annual budget drive, and planned giving.

Clark describes his work with lay leaders in the UUA’s Southwestern Conference who have become “Champions of Change” in their congregations.