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Leader Resource

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InterConnections: Articles for UU Leaders

LeaderLab

  • By Megan Foley
    Every congregation I go to has a list of things they have to do or want to do that they just can’t do because they don’t have the resources – money, volunteers, energy, space, whatever it is. Maybe it’s time to change your framing so that you can create abundance.
  • By Megan Foley
    When thinking about needed or wanted change, congregations can sometimes feel stymied. And, let’s face it, human systems like religious communities don’t tend to like to change. In a way, we need to trick the system in order to allow in energy and creativity.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    Bylaws changes require approval by the congregation in a meeting of the whole. Like any significant change, changes to bylaws should be communicated as clearly as possible with lots of opportunity for questions and comments.
  • By Jan Gartner
    Each individual you compensate is either an employee or an independent contractor. This is a critical legal distinction, with implications for benefits, taxes, and more.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    Planning to Show a Film? You are legally and ethically required to follow public performance laws.
  • By UUA Information Technology Service Staff Group: Web Team
    Your UUA staff loves to use photos from our congregations on the UUA website! Here's how:
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    Congregations and other Unitarian Universalist (UU) organizations should adopt a permissions policy for photos and video. Here is a sample.
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    Giving to the annual operating fund is the “monthly expenses” pocket, giving to the capital campaign is the “home renovations” pocket. What other pockets of giving do we see in congregations?
  • By Jan Gartner, Jonipher Kūpono Kwong, UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances, UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    When a staff member changes congregations, these values and suggestions can help uphold sound processes and healthy relationships.
  • By Pacific Western Region of the UUA
    Almost all of our visitors come hoping that they will find their spiritual home. They have not just wandered off the street and into our sanctuaries, they have done their homework: They know what Unitarian Universalism claims to be, and are now seeing if a particular congregation is the right place for them.
  • Consulting, Publications and Connects for Congregational Finance staff and leaders.
  • By Kim Sweeney
    Embezzlement from congregations is not unusual, and it almost always occurs when one individual has been granted such a high degree of trust with no safeguards.
  • Rarely can congregations pay for a full-blown audit of the church books by a CPA. An alternative is a management review of the congregation’s cash management procedures, which can be done by any other accountant or experienced church bookkeeper.
  • By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances
    UU Congregations are churches, and exempt under U.S. Tax Law. There may be advantages to seeking 501(c)(3) such as sales tax exemption.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    Financial reports help the finance committee and the board assess the financial health of the congregation so they can make adjustments or decisions as needed.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    A congregations’ income ebbs and flows, so it is a good idea to have some cash reserves that can help keep the bills paid in the summer when attendance and pledge payments fall off.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    Your operating budget helps your congregation live its mission in the world. How you allocate your resources reflects your values and goals.
  • A portion of the money in the church’s checking accounts may represent money that is held for specific restricted purposes, including various religious education accounts, social action accounts, the minister’s discretionary fund, etc.
  • By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances
    Once the salary and benefits are set by the appropriate church leadership based on recommended practices, it’s important to make sure the payroll is handled accurately and confidentially.
  • By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances
    There are nuanced tax rules regarding income derived from renting your building and/or parking lot, depending on its relation to your core purpose.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    When it comes to tracking financial gifts from members in the form of pledge payments and other donations, it's important to remember that the gifts of money are a form of relationship, not just another financial transaction.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    If dropping a check or cash into the basket is the only way your congregation invites financial gifts, many in your pews can’t participate in the offering even if they feel called to do so.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    Because relationship, compassion and trust are all qualities that congregations are trying to cultivate, church members and staff can fall prey to bad actors and con artists.
  • By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances
    Many congregations supply a credit card to more easily segregate work-related expenses. Staff members would only use the card for professional or church expenses.
  • By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances
    Employees and volunteers should be reimbursed for approved church related expenses upon submission of receipts and accurate expense reports that conform to the annual budget and IRS requirements.
  • By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances
    US tax law provides that staff may consider certain items as usual business expenses that are reimbursed beyond the compensation paid to individuals as a necessary expense that is not reported for income tax purposes.
  • By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances
    When making sure that your bills are being paid efficiently, accurately and on time, your congregation also needs safeguards to make sure no one has the opportunity to use your system to embezzle funds.
  • By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances
    In setting up church financial management software, it’s important to provide safeguards to prevent tampering with the electronic records
  • By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances
    All financial best practices depend on reducing the risk of embezzlement or theft by increasing transparency and detection by creating systems and roles that segregate key duties.
  • By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances
    Any petty cash kept in the building should be in a locked file cabinet or safe and should be disbursed only upon submission of a written request.
  • By UUA Ministries and Faith Development: Office of Church Staff Finances
    The Sunday offering is fairly vulnerable to theft or embezzlement unless good checks and balances are in place.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    Having a healthy culture around money will help a congregation have less anxiety and more open communication around money.
  • Endowments need special handling to ensure transparency, accountability and impact.
  • By Stefan Jonasson
    Why don't we have more people getting involved? It turns out that this is typical for congregregations that have plateaued in size.
  • By Kathy McGowan
    Living in a committed, covenantal community is a great way to avoid destructive conflict.
  • By Connie Goodbread
    Does your congregation suffer from constant, divisive conflict? Is your congregation looking to develop its first covenant to help members with healthier behavior? Here is a quick guide:
  • By Kathy McGowan
    Avoiding triangulation will not eliminate conflict in a congregation but it will help keep it in the constructive and creative zone.
  • By Qiyamah Rahman
    Learning to practicie helpful and healthy behaviors allows us to act on our stated beliefs and values.
  • By Sarah Movius Schurr
    Systems theory is extremely helpful in understanding how people work in groups and why change is sometimes so difficult.
  • By UUA Information Technology Service Staff Group
    Hackers are getting more sophisticated every day. The best defense is to encourage your employees, volunteers and congregation members to pause and look for warning signs before responding to any unsolicited email.
  • By Paula Cole Jones
    When we engage in reconciliation--which is different than an apology or forgiveness--we invite change that will transform a relationship.
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
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  • By Sarah Movius Schurr
    What can the congregation do in a crisis to avoid a crash during conflict? The solution mostly falls to the work of the driver of the car or the congregational leaders.
  • By Laura Park
    Unity offers deep questions and commitments for governance within a progressive religious, covenantal context: Whose Are We? What Do We Value? What Are Our Commitments?
  • By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group
    Covenant is the silk that joins Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations, communities, and individuals together in a web of interconnection. The practice of promising to walk together is the precious core of our creedless faith.