The Stewardship For Us (S4Us) Team, is based on a simple principle and a long history. The principle is that stewardship is important to all of us. We have a theological imperative to pursue generosity-motivated stewardship. We also care about our communities and institutions and should strive to be effective stewards, unafraid to talk about resources and money, and able to support our values in tangible, empowering ways. The history is that we are building on over 30 years of stewardship consulting support, a unique legacy of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) movement that continues to evolve as it supports UUs and others everywhere. We are a group of UU consultants independent from the Unitarian Universalist Association, yet we have a preferred vendor memorandum of agreement with the UUA. We remain in close touch with Congregational Life and other UUA staff and resources wherever we work. Our goal is to be part of a comprehensive network of UU support.
What we do: We provide expert advice and assistance in building strong, sustainable stewardship programs that are grounded in the mission, vision, and community of UU congregations and affiliated UU organizations. We offer expertise in the areas of budget drives, special stewardship campaigns, capital campaigns, assessment of financial capacity for capital projects, strategic planning, financial planning, legacy gifts and endowments, leadership coaching, and stewardship workshops for leaders, congregations, and clusters. Custom designed programs for specific challenges and opportunities are also offered.
Our approach is based on four core concepts:
- Partnership. You bring to this relationship an intimate knowledge of your congregation, collectively and as individuals. We bring years of experience and lessons learned in hundreds of congregations, ranging from a couple of dozen members to almost one thousand members. Blending what we all bring to the relationship and apply to your challenges is what yields success.
- Practical Solutions. In most cases, congregations call on S4Us because they have a problem or have hit a plateau and wish to advance. In some cases, an opportunity has arisen that the congregation wishes to make the most of, without waste or delay. Our responsibility is to work with you to craft best practices solutions that fit your situation. As consultants, we also provide “the forcing function,” asking challenging questions, reminding us of the goals and standards we set, and keeping an eye on our agreed upon timelines. Solutions are seldom simple and cannot be applied the same everywhere; beware the consultant who arrives with a ready-made solution. Let’s invest the time and effort to get it right.
- Capacity Building. It’s great to solve the immediate challenge, but what about next year? Part of our solution set is to ensure you build capacity and have the tools and information to institutionalize the lessons we learned together. We go beyond technical solutions to ensure that best practices are adopted and become part of the congregation’s “institutional DNA.”
- Liberation. S4Us consultants keep a focus on liberation for all of their constituents and on building the beloved community. That is, we promote efforts to be more diverse, equitable, and inclusive, racially and in other ways, with stewardship. A clear grounding point for us is the Widening the Circle of Concern process, report, and recommendations (UUA, 2020). We are reshaping our communications and offerings to ensure equity through our work. As individual consultants we continue to educate ourselves in the true history of our country, do our work to address our own biases, and bring a liberation lens to everything we do.