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Funding our covenant. Building On Our Strengths. Reimagining Congregational Giving. 1. COVENANT. Together, we are the Association of Unitarian Universalist congregations We are connected by covenant Our covenant lives in our relationships with one another and the world…

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Funding our covenant
Funding our covenant





Reimagining Congregational Giving



Together, we are the Association of Unitarian Universalist congregations

We are connected by covenant

Our covenant lives in our relationships with one another and the world…

- and that should include our congregational giving to support our world-wide mission


  • Animate the UU voice in the world

  • Intensify justice witness

  • Enrich relationships among congregations

  • Inspire congregational health and vitality

  • Cultivate lay and professional religious leadership

  • Amplify our worship, singing, & celebrations




We live our covenant with one another through financial gifts to our Districts, Region, and Association



Generously INVESTING FOR Tomorrow


  • Unified G.I.F.T.s to our Districts and Association

  • Based on percentage of annual expenditures

  • UUA shares in yearly successes and challenges

  • Equalizes district dues

  • Region/District receives amount proportionate to congregational giving

  • Saves the time and costs of duplicate systems


Why was the Southern Region Selected for This Pilot Program?

  • We are generous congregations:

  • Southwestern and Southeast Districts rank #2 and #3 in gross giving to the APF

  • We all give at least 85% of APF Fair Share - some districts meet less than 60% of their obligations

  • The Southern Region has done comparatively well during the economic downturn


  • Annual Program Fund “Fair Share”

  • $60 per member

  • Congregations 550+ may pay 4.3% of annual expenditures




*For those not in our region, taking part in GIFT, an average amount of $82/member (range of $77-$87)



  • GIFT

  • Unified ask of 7% of congregational annual expenditures [(NOT per member] (current range is 3% to 20%)

  • Gifts collected and redistributed quarterly by UUA

  • Proportionate redistribution to region



How Did the UUA Arrive at 7%?

WE TOOK District Dues Collected in 2011-12


Net UUA payments to Districts (APF, etc.)


Total APF Payments Collected


Total Budget Amounts reported Feb. 1, 2012


7% of the Expenditures reported in 2012 would provide Total District and APF funds collected that year

The goal is to more equally spread the financial commitments while maintaining the same total level of support


The UUA’s Definition of Certified Expenditures

UUA Treasurer and Stewardship & Development Staff directory/data services-FAQ-Total Operating Expenses

  • Your congregation’s certified expenditures equal the total operating expenses incurred by your congregation during your most recently completed fiscal year, less the congregation’s contributions to the district and the UUA’s Annual Program Fund.

  • For a more detailed description, see below. Operating expenses may include:

  • Personnel expenses (salaries, amounts paid to contract employees, wages, housing allowances for ordained ministers)

  • Benefits (medical, dental, disability, life insurance, pension, employer retirement savings contributions, employer portion of Social Security and Medicare)

  • Rent

  • Mortgage interest expense

  • Utilities (electric, gas, telephone, internet, water/sewer, waste fees, heating)

  • Other costs of operating and maintaining the property (ongoing non-capital expenses such as lawn maintenance, annual contributions to a major maintenance or restoration fund, repair of normal wear and tear)

  • Program expenses (religious education supplies and materials, social action programming)

  • Fundraising and administrative expenses

  • Questions? Recommendations? [email protected]


How Will Funds be Collected?

Districts will work with Congregations having a Fiscal Year other than 1 JUL – 30 JUN to coordinate the reporting that determines the funds to be contributed

Congregations will send ONE SET OF PAYMENTS to Our UUA in Boston on the schedule of their choosing

Quarterly, UUA will disburse funds to the Region based on a formula under development

Region will distribute funds to Districts based on our own formula

The UUA is planning contingencies to cover shortfalls during the transition. The UUA is accepting the risk in this transition.


How Will We Approach Congregations?

  • You and Congregational Leaders will schedule Face-to-Face Conversations & Cluster Gatherings

  • Boards & Other Leaders will serve as Visiting Stewards

  • With Coordination, Regional and UUA Officials May Participate




  • We will learn from the Southern Region pilot

  • GIFT can strengthen our covenant

  • Other regional experiments may follow

  • National roll-out planned FY 2015 OR 16


What’s Next?

Feb – Mar Watch Video from Peter Morales; Help Plan or Host a Cluster Event

Mar – Apr Attend/Host a GIFT Event; Welcome a Visiting Steward

May – June Return Your Commitment Form

July The Adventure Begins With Your Help


See the Talking Points and

What Does the UUA Do for Us papers

for a more through discussion

What about being Fair Share congregations?

Tiers of Recognition vs. In or Out.

What if we can’t get to 7% now?

Together we will explore your Intentions and make a Plan.

This appears to represent a higher level of contribution than the current system. Is it?

No. The change will vary by congregation; this represents an increase in contributions for about 40% of our congregations; 60% of us will see a decrease or remain about the same. Funding at 7% of expenditures across all congregations will fund the UUA and districts at approximately the same level as they are funded now; it just spreads the cost more equitably.


What do you mean by Certified Expenditures?

As always, the Honor System prevails., in both directions.

Congregations are just coming out of recession. Our first obligation is to our own programs and staff. Why should we support increased commitments expected from some to District and the UUA now?

The UUA is a covenantal organization, based on mutual support. The UUA counts on us to provide the resources that enable the association to support us, but also to represent us globally and to do those things we cannot do effectively as individual congregations. We do not have the luxury of taking care of our home congregation first, and then supporting the UUA at some future date, or vice versa.  


Thank You for the investment of your time, your intention, and your service.