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Supercharging a Unitarian Universalist Social Action Committeeppt - 6-22-11


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Supercharging a Unitarian Universalist Social Action Committee (Presented at 2011 UU General Assembly)

Supercharging a Unitarian Universalist Social Action Committee (Presented at 2011 UU General Assembly)

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  • 1. Unleashing the Power of Unitarian Universalism through our Social Action Committees Speakers : Gary D. Nissenbaum , Chair, Social Action Committee The Unitarian Church in Summit Lauralyn Smith , Senior Associate, Membership Development Unitarian Universalist Service Committee © copyright G.D. Baum, LLC
  • 2. The Crisis For Unitarian Universalism
    • Given our modest numbers, how can we have the most impact on our world?
  • 3.
    • Through Social Action
  • 4. Social Action Starts With Our Congregations
    • The engine of creative innovation and growth in Unitarian Universalism starts with our congregations.
    • It is up to our congregations to transform and enhance the Social Action component of this religious movement.
  • 5.
    • Therefore, we must supercharge the impact and effectiveness of our congregational Social Action Committees.
  • 6. Four Ways to Supercharge Our UU Social Action Committees.
      • Operate more effectively
      • Obtain more robust congregational financing
      • Transform local outreach
      • Transform international outreach
  • 7. -1- Operating More Effectively
  • 8.
    • Our Social Action Committees must function in a way that invites broad congregational participation.
    • In order to do so, they must conduct themselves in a forward-leaning and professional manner.
  • 9.
      • Thirteen ways to make our Social Action Committees run more efficiently
  • 10. A Professional Approach to Running a Social Action Committee Meeting
        • Meetings should start and end on time
        • Keep written minutes of every meeting; circulate the minutes after the meeting concludes; and correct and approve the minutes at the next meeting.
        • The meetings should be held in a space that is conducive to focused, confidential and interactive discussion (not a public space).
  • 11. Social Action Committee Meetings Must be Focused and Effective
        • Meetings should have a clear agenda to prevent drift.
        • Meetings must not devolve into a support group or social club.
        • Avoid the safe zone of dwelling on how bad things are.
        • Focus on initiatives to address the larger, more difficult topic of just what we will do about how bad things are.
  • 12. Social Action Initiatives
    • Initiatives must be high quality, clear and achievable.
    • Each year, the Committee should repeat and refine initiatives that have worked before and explore new ones.
    • We must encourage Social Action Committee members to lead. They must take ownership of the initiatives that move them and commit to see them through.
  • 13. Promote creative and inspired leadership.
    • Each initiative should be led by a member of the Committee who will report on it and be held accountable for its success.
    • All the members who wish to be empowered, should be.
    • We must lead leaders.
  • 14. Taking Emergency Action Between Meetings.
        • Meetings Should Never Officially Adjourn.
        • Emergency action should be available by conference call and email.
  • 15. -2- Obtaining robust Financing for our Social Action Committees
  • 16. The Base Budget
      • There must be a sufficient base budget to address emergencies and for basic Committee functions
      • To do that, have a dialogue with the Ministerial and Board leadership to understand what is achievable.
      • The Social Action budget should be the result of that dialogue
  • 17. The Plate Collection
    • Perpetual offering plate collections
    • may create plate burn out.
    • We must develop a more focused
    • way of utilizing the plates.
  • 18. Limited Plate Collections
    • One approach that has worked for the Unitarian Church in Summit is to schedule the offering pate collection in groupings of four successive Sundays.
    • This is done three times per year.
    • The aim is to develop a set time period to create a sense of urgency that promotes generosity.
  • 19. First Sunday – Introducing the Initiative
    • Explain the initiative in detail, set out the financial goal.
  • 20. Second Sunday – Explaining the Initiative
    • Invite an outside representative to give a presentation on the initiative
  • 21. Third Sunday – A Sense of Urgency
    • Start by disclosing what has been collected and by what percentage we are under or over 50% of our goal.
        • If under the goal, invite the congregation to become active participants in addressing the shortfall.
        • If over the goal, invite the congregation to become active participants in resetting a new, higher goal.
  • 22. Fourth Sunday – a Sense of Increased Urgency
    • Start by reporting to the congregation on whether we have met or exceeded 75% of our goal.
    • Make a full court press to complete the solicitation with a redoubled sense of urgency.
  • 23. Fifth Sunday
    • Report to the congregation on its success in meeting or exceeding the goal.
    • Complete the arc in a way that lays the groundwork for the next set of plate collections (which will take place several months later).
  • 24. Directed Donations
      • The drawback of directed
      • donations
      • Effective use of directed
      • donations
  • 25. Other Forms of Fundraising
      • Creative fundraising to widen the
      • circle of donors, such as:
        • Halloween Ball
        • Friday Night Dinners
        • Auctions
  • 26. Emergency Donor List
    • Setting up an emergency donor list for
    • assisting individuals. These are initiatives that are an inappropriate use of Social Action funds
      • Non-deductibility
      • Confidentiality
      • Generosity burn out
  • 27.
      • -3-
      • Supercharging Local Outreach
  • 28. Effective Local Outreach
      • Limited
      • Practical
      • Nimble
      • Focused on Emergent and Non Emergent Needs
      • With clear and achievable goals
      • With a lay leader(s) who will take ownership
  • 29.
    • For example, we adopted an entire Town.
  • 30. Irvington Résumé Writing Initiative
  • 31. An Example of Effective Local Outreach : The Irvington Schools Initiative
  • 32. Irvington School Supplies Initiative
  • 33. Additional Irvington Initiatives
    • Donations to the School: musical instruments, audio visual equipment, computers, printers and books.
    • Vocational presentations for Irvington high school students “Career Ambassador” program.
    • Parenting workshop.
    • Tai Chi stress reduction class for the teachers.
    • Food baskets for the December holidays.
    • Winter coat drive for the kids.
    • Computer seminars for senior citizens.
    • Lactation class for expectant mothers.
  • 34. Examples of other Local Outreach Initiatives
      • Affordable Housing
      • HomeFirst (Housing the Homeless)
      • Hunger Initiative
      • Immigration Initiative
  • 35.
      • -4-
      • Supercharging International Outreach
  • 36. Creating a partnership between the Social Action Committee and UUSC
      • UUSC can be trusted to vet the initiatives.
      • UUSC initiatives align with UU principles.
      • UUSC has a variety of shovel-ready projects with its partners ready for funding.
      • UUSC understands the unique fundraising issues of UU congregations.
  • 37. The Social Action Committee Should ask UUSC for a list of Shovel Ready projects
        • Pick a project that is tangible and will effectuate international social action.
        • The funding should be just under the amount expected to be collected in the particular set of offering plates. (or perhaps, take a leap of faith and try to collect more than we think we can.)
  • 38. 2009 Darfur Women’s Centers
    • In 2009, UUSC was seeking to construct 10 women’s centers in the camps for internally displaced persons in Darfur.
    • The women of the camps could:
      • Gather to form a community
      • Obtain medical care for their children
      • Coordinate their forays outside of the camps to gather firewood with the U.N. Peacekeeper patrols
      • Start microenterprise businesses to feed their families
  • 39. 2009 Darfur Women’s Centers (cont’d)
    • It was estimated to cost $8,000 to both construct each center and staff it for one year.
    • UUSC and its partner in Darfur had only built two
    • The Unitarian Church in Summit Raised the $8000 to Build a Third.
  • 40.  
  • 41. 2010 Uganda Oxen Project
    • In Uganda, a working ox can be shared by families to till their soil for food, crops and rented to other villagers for a modest income.
    • This was especially important since so many families need to replace oxen killed or lost in the civil wars that have ravaged Uganda.
  • 42. 2010 Uganda Oxen Project (Cont’d)
    • Over four Sundays, The Unitarian Church in Summit collected over $7,000 from the offering plate.
    • UUSC calculated that our donations would buy enough oxen to sustain 119 people.
  • 43.  
  • 44. 2011 Haiti Camp Oasis Project
    • Camp Oasis is a pilot project in which unaccompanied girls in Haiti will be provided with secure living quarters, medical care and education.
    • It also will provide a nurturing environment, instead of unsafe camps of institutional orphanages, to help them recover from the trauma of the earthquake and its aftermath.
  • 45. 2011 Haiti Camp Oasis Project (Cont’d)
    • By the fourth Sunday, The Unitarian Church in Summit had collected over $11,800.
    • There was a additional 3:1 match from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock.
    • Therefore, the total provided for the initiative would be well over the $40,000 threshold to fund the inaugural Camp Oasis pilot project.
  • 46.  
  • 47.  
  • 48. We are selling a book on how to supercharge a Social Action Committee. Proceeds support UUSC’s initiatives for human rights & social justice.