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Green Sanctuary Project Evaluation Tip Sheet
Climate & Environmental Justice, Green Sanctuary Program, Social Justice

Who should use this?

  • Congregations preparing to seek certification as a Green Sanctuary (GS)
  • Reviewers evaluating a candidate congregation’s overall Green Sanctuary application (documented completion of Action Plan).

Things to Keep in Mind for Evaluation of Projects

Each congregation begins in a different place with respect to what needs to be done, what resources are available, how supportive the congregation is, and dynamics in the surrounding community.

Clearly describe (and measure when possible) where the congregation is at the starting point of the Green Sanctuary work, what was done, and whatever you can say about impact.

The review team will look for indications of progress that you have made. Both immediate and longer-term effects you are aware of should be reported. Even if the project you attempted does not succeed, do not assume it cannot be counted in your report. If you are able to explain what you learned in the process, and how you either intend or are now currently doing things differently, the work actually strengthens your application.

It will be helpful to record and report concrete data where possible, for instance:

  • pounds of resources saved
  • units of pollutants prevented from entering the environment
  • volume of recycled materials
  • numbers of services, classes, events, participants
  • changes such as integration of environmentally related material in ongoing worship and celebration
  • laws passed or blocked
  • partnerships built
  • covenant or policies adopted by committees, congregation or leadership
  • creation of a new community committee or program

In addition, changes in behavior or attitude in the congregation or larger community are just as important as units and policies reported as concrete data. However, behavior and attitude are difficult to record as concrete data. Though it is not required, some congregations have found it very helpful to do a congregational survey of attitudes and behaviors before you begin your work, and after the finish of particular projects. The review team appreciates comments you are able to make about these kinds of changes, including stories which can be a very powerful way to report behavior and attitude changes.

Integration throughout Congregation

The strongest applications will show that green sanctuary work is "owned" by a variety of committees, congregational groups, and leaders.

Recognizing how critical cross-boundary partnerships are at this time, the review team wants to see your efforts, what you have learned from "false starts", and the relationships you are working with in conjunction to the Green Sanctuary projects.

Environmental Justice Tips

Key questions to evaluate the impact of the Environmental Justice (EJ) elements in the Action Plan:

Diversity & Partnership

  1. Has the GS team grown in its diversity or its multicultural competencies? If so, how? If not, why not?
  2. Has the congregation grown in its diversity or its multicultural capacities? If so, how?
  3. Has the congregation deepened any relationships with outside groups? Which ones? How can they tell?
  4. Has the congregation developed any new relationship with outside groups? Which one(s)?  What is the nature of the relationship?
  5. Has the congregation developed the leadership skills of any of its youth or young adults as a result of this process?


  1. What has the GS team and/or congregation learned about the nature of oppression and hardship that they did not know before? How did this happen?
  2. What does the GS team and/or congregation know about power that they didn’t know before?
  3. Has the congregation’s capacity to work in coalition improved? If so, how and why? How can they tell?
  4. Has the e.j. project affected the emotional and spiritual lives of anyone in the congregation or the congregation as a whole? If so, how and why?  How can they tell? Are there any other impacts that the e.j. action project has had on the life of the congregation, if any? How can they tell?
  5. Has the EJ project affected the emotional and spiritual lives of anyone or any group in the community? If so, how and why?
  6. Has the EJ action project affected economic conditions, environmental health or other major aspects of well-being in the community or any specific group in the community?  If so, how and why? How can they tell? Is this likely to be long lasting?
  7. How is the GS team feeling at the end of this effort? Has there been significant turnover in leadership, burnout, or discouragement?  If so, how have they dealt with that?  
  8. What is the GS team proudest of with respect to how they implemented the EJ components?  What are they proudest of with respect to impacts?  What lessons would they like to share with other Unitarian Universalist congregations?

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