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.

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.

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.

No APF Increase for FY11

The UUA’s Annual Program Fund Fair Share request from congregations will not change in the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2010. The amount requested will remain at $56 per member. Likewise, the “percent of budget” option for large congregations will also remain at the 2009-2010 level of 4.2 percent.

Laurel Amabile, director of the Annual Program Fund, said the UUA is taking that step in response to concerns voiced by many congregational leaders who continue to feel the impact of the economic downturn. She noted that congregations annually provide almost half of the UUA’s unrestricted income.

How to deal with bad pledging behavior

Q. We are having a problem with members of the congregation who are in leadership positions and either do not pledge or decide to engage in punitive pledging. What’s the best way to respond to this?

A. Dr. Wayne Clark, the UUA’s director of Congregational Stewardship Services, says: “From time to time we hear about congregational lay leaders who either do not make a financial commitment of record, or make a relatively small donation. In these cases, we recommend that the congregational bylaws be modified to indicate that members of the governing body are expected to make an annual financial commitment to the operating budget. That way congregants will know ahead of time the financial expectations if they agree to be a member of the governing body.  We also encourage congregations to make available the suggested fair share giving guide so that the governing body members can use it as a reference point.”

In your particular situation, it’s probably best to focus on a bylaws change rather than trying to get the current governing body members to increase their current level of giving.