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New Stewardship Guide Now Available from UUA

Wayne Clark, the Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA's) director of Congregational Fundraising Services, has written a 171-page guide, Beyond Fundraising, the Complete Guide to Congregational Stewardship. It is the primary UUA resource recommended to congregations on this topic and will be available from the UUA Bookstore, 800-215-9076. The book will be available by the end of March and will sell for $18. It replaces Fundraising With a Vision, published in 1997. That book will remain available in the bookstore until supplies are gone.

Beyond Fundraising invites congregations to move from "the restrictive myth of scarcity" to "a reality of abundance." The book proposes that congregations talk about money as a means to an end. Says Clark, "Money is most meaningful when we can move from a mindset of needing it to pay the bills to a conversation about the importance of money to fulfill the ministry of the congregation."

The book encourages congregations to bring fundraising under the umbrella of stewardship, and create a "stewardship development program." In addition to raising money for the annual budget, the program includes stewardship education, joyful giving, ministry and good works, and planned giving. Says Clark, "Money is presented as just one piece of a whole, and because of that it becomes a less emotionally charged issue. Money becomes just one stewardship tool to help accomplish the ministry of a faith community, rather than a topic to avoid and a barrier to fulfilling congregational ministry."

Talking about stewardship rather than fundraising requires a new vocabulary and Beyond Fundraising lays one out. Clark believes that the old vocabulary carries a negative connotation and creates barriers that are hard to overcome. Many terms congregations have used in connection with fund drives will change as they adopt a stewardship approach, he says. Examples:

  • Annual budget drive—replaces the term "annual canvass"
  • Orientation workshop—rather than "canvasser training"
  • Stewardship conversation—rather than "home visit"
  • Visiting stewards—rather than "canvassers"
  • Financial commitment—rather than "pledge"
  • Financial commitment form—rather than "pledge card"

"Without a significant change of focus from fundraising to stewardship, and without a new vocabulary to use, there is no reason to think that we will become more successful in growing our congregations," says Clark. " Fundraising emphasizes the need of the recipient, while stewardship addresses our spiritual need to give. Leaders understand that stewardship is an act of worship."

About Wayne Clark

Wayne Clark holds a doctorate in human and organizational systems and has been an organization development consultant for more than 25 years. He has consulted with more than 300 faith communities, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions. Clark lives in Portland, ME.

About the Author

  • Donald E. Skinner was the founding editor of the InterConnections newsletter for congregational leaders and a senior editor of UU World from 1998 until his retirement in 2014. He is a member of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa, Kansas.

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