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Using Appreciative Inquiry Tools & Alternative Formats for Stewardship Rev. Christina Neilson Cheryl Kasper Special Thanks to Joan Van Becelaere.

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Presentation on theme: "Using Appreciative Inquiry Tools & Alternative Formats for Stewardship Rev. Christina Neilson Cheryl Kasper Special Thanks to Joan Van Becelaere."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using Appreciative Inquiry Tools & Alternative Formats for Stewardship Rev. Christina Neilson Cheryl Kasper Special Thanks to Joan Van Becelaere

2  Chalice Lighting  SouthWest Unitarian Universalist’s Story  Appreciative Language  Using Appreciative Inquiry as Part of the Stewardship Process – a Different Way to ask questions.  SouthWest UU and Kent Speed Pledging  Practice – a chance to get to know each other!

3  What questions do you want to have answered by the end of this workshop?

4 “Please share with me your checkbook, your credit cards and your tax forms, then I’ll understand your faith and your view of stewardship. But money is rarely discussed in the church and related to faith.” Peter Steinke

5 Giving as a Spiritual Practice  Changing your attitude about money from as a “necessary evil” to an opportunity to express your faith.  Address the pastoral issues that cause fear and anxiety about money.  Ask-Thank- Tell (Workshop in January)  Changing your attitude about money from as a “necessary evil” to an opportunity to express your faith.  Address the pastoral issues that cause fear and anxiety about money.  Ask-Thank- Tell (Workshop in January)

6 Clergy’s Vision  Clergy need to change their attitudes too  Get their own financial issues in order  Get used to big numbers  Know what to do with large donations  Be educated about what is involved in annual stewardship campaigns, Capital Campaigns and Planned Giving for endowments.  Clergy need to change their attitudes too  Get their own financial issues in order  Get used to big numbers  Know what to do with large donations  Be educated about what is involved in annual stewardship campaigns, Capital Campaigns and Planned Giving for endowments.

7 SouthWest UU’s Story  We were a church in a box for 23 years  We have 69 members, a quarter time musician and a full time minister  Two years ago we experienced the peak of the economic meltdown. (Lost 18 members to moving away, very low moral.)  We were a church in a box for 23 years  We have 69 members, a quarter time musician and a full time minister  Two years ago we experienced the peak of the economic meltdown. (Lost 18 members to moving away, very low moral.)

8 A Glimmer of Hope  Participated in 3 year small church growth project in district.  Learned how to deal with congregational anxiety after major flare up.  Wanted to do a capital campaign to get a down payment for a church when…  Church up for sale- decided to check it out  Participated in 3 year small church growth project in district.  Learned how to deal with congregational anxiety after major flare up.  Wanted to do a capital campaign to get a down payment for a church when…  Church up for sale- decided to check it out

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10  In every organization, some things work well.  We need to know and draw on all of our positive strengths to build for the future and weather current storms.  The language we use helps create our reality. It shapes attitudes and focuses energy. If you keep saying you are poor, you think and act like you are poor.

11  What we focus on becomes our reality. In anxious times, we need to build a vision of a positive future, not rehash failures of the past.  Asking questions influences the way we think about things.  It is important to value differences.  Organizations are heliotropic (They follow the energy.).

12  Steward – a conversation partner, an ambassador of the congregation and Unitarian Universalism  Annual Stewardship Drive – an opportunity to increase commitment to the congregation on many levels, including financial. Can be called Budget Drive.

13  Stewardship Visits – a vehicle for in- depth conversations with fellow congregants, including opportunities for relationship building, questions, answers and feedback  Feedback – positive recommendations and dreams for the future of the congregation that is taken to the board and leadership

14  Pledge – You are not asking for money. You are asking for a commitment to further the mission and vision of the congregation. You are inviting them to support something that they love and care for.  This goes for new members, too. They care enough to join and WANT to be asked to participate fully – including pledging.

15  The personal nature of Appreciative Inquiry requires a face-to-face encounter.  Visits may be one-on-one or small group.  Deepens personal relationships and connections within the congregation!  Provides for in-depth dialogue and sharing of hopes and visions and dreams.  Allows opportunity for questions, answers and feedback.  Creates an informal, confidential setting for frank and transformative dialogue

16  Produces a high level of financial commitment; indirect methods produce much lower levels of support  Engages every donor in articulating appreciation and taking responsibility for financial support of the congregation  Takes a relatively short time  Helps clean up the membership database  Cost effective  Facilitates congregational ability to realistically discuss appreciation, generosity, abundance, money and giving

17 A description and discussion of how Southwest UU used Appreciative Inquiry questions in their pledge drive. We had several articles and sermons leading up to the event, revealing the plans bit by bit to inspire curiosity.

18 Speed Pledging Event  Welcome remarks, Blessing and Potluck  UU Speed Pledge exercise: five minutes per question, musical interlude, change places  The “Pitch” by Canvass chair  Pair up teams of two- four for the “Ask”  The envelopes for each family were prepared with pledge information.  Dessert was served  Each person put their pledge in the bowl, a gong was rung, and a prize was given.  Closing comments/ Thank-You!  Welcome remarks, Blessing and Potluck  UU Speed Pledge exercise: five minutes per question, musical interlude, change places  The “Pitch” by Canvass chair  Pair up teams of two- four for the “Ask”  The envelopes for each family were prepared with pledge information.  Dessert was served  Each person put their pledge in the bowl, a gong was rung, and a prize was given.  Closing comments/ Thank-You!

19 Introductory Question  Looking back at your involvement in SWUU, remember a time when you felt most alive, engaged, and committed to the congregation.  It’s Sunday morning. The coffee is hot, the dog is by your feet, and the paper awaits you. Still, you put on your clothes and come to church. Why? Values Question  What do you value most about our congregation? What activities or foci or ingredients or ways of life are most important? What are our best features? (or What do we do best?)

20 Potentials Question  How can our congregation make a real difference in the world? What are our greatest possibilities and potentials and promise? Wishes  What are three courageous dreams you have for the future of our congregation?

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22  Feedback from questions need to go to the board and congregational leadership.  They contain valuable information that can inform planning and budgeting and your stewardship celebration.  Questions can be asked with different wording or phrasing.  We are asking folk to tell us what they really, really, really care about in the congregation and dream for its future. And we are very grateful that they care.

23 UU Chats: An Example of Appreciative Inquiry Used by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kent Winter 2010 Used by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kent Winter 2010

24 Stages of UUCK Stewardship Campaign:  Set campaign theme:  Conversation, Community, Commitment  Prepare brochure, pledge cards, guide to campaign (a more detailed booklet with budget, Q&A, etc.)  Schedule events – the congregation was invited to attend one of four general events, called “UU Chats.” Two were on Sundays and two were evenings during the week.  Assess progress of campaign  Campaign wrap up  Set campaign theme:  Conversation, Community, Commitment  Prepare brochure, pledge cards, guide to campaign (a more detailed booklet with budget, Q&A, etc.)  Schedule events – the congregation was invited to attend one of four general events, called “UU Chats.” Two were on Sundays and two were evenings during the week.  Assess progress of campaign  Campaign wrap up

25 What was a UU Chat?  The stewardship committee decided to use appreciative inquiry  At the same time, we also wanted to capitalize on the popularity and familiarity that many in the congregation had with social media – i.e., Facebook  Our idea was UU Chat – a face-to-face, real time, community building exercise!  The UU Chat concept also became a unifying graphic theme for the campaign.  The stewardship committee decided to use appreciative inquiry  At the same time, we also wanted to capitalize on the popularity and familiarity that many in the congregation had with social media – i.e., Facebook  Our idea was UU Chat – a face-to-face, real time, community building exercise!  The UU Chat concept also became a unifying graphic theme for the campaign.

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28 Outline for Conversation Events  Welcome remarks (10 minutes)  UU Chat exercise (35 minutes total)  Instructions (5 minutes)  Appreciative inquiry questions (30 minutes: 5 per question; 3 to answer, 2 to summarize)  Making a commitment (25 minutes)  A quick pitch (5 minutes)  Distribute cards, post comments to “news feed” (20 minutes)  Closing comments (5 minutes)  Welcome remarks (10 minutes)  UU Chat exercise (35 minutes total)  Instructions (5 minutes)  Appreciative inquiry questions (30 minutes: 5 per question; 3 to answer, 2 to summarize)  Making a commitment (25 minutes)  A quick pitch (5 minutes)  Distribute cards, post comments to “news feed” (20 minutes)  Closing comments (5 minutes)

29 Appreciative Inquiry Questions  What first led you to get involved in UUCK?  When have you felt the most engaged at UUCK?  What do you value the most about UUCK?  How do you feel like you contribute to UUCK?  How can UUCK make a difference in the world?  What three wishes do you have for the UUCK?  What first led you to get involved in UUCK?  When have you felt the most engaged at UUCK?  What do you value the most about UUCK?  How do you feel like you contribute to UUCK?  How can UUCK make a difference in the world?  What three wishes do you have for the UUCK?

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32 By Dorothy Day: People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds (and dollars) is like that. No one has the right to sit down and feel hopeless. There’s too much work to do.

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35 Beyond Fundraising: A Complete Guide to Congregational Stewardship, by Wayne B. Clark, 2007, UUA. This book outlines the “Forward Through the Ages” (FORTH) program of year-round congregational stewardship. The Abundance of Our Faith, edited by Terry Sweetser and Susan Milnor. Inspirational sermons and reflection questions for small group stewardship conversations and worship planning.

36 the UUA website: and Google search “Giving and Generosity” and “Congregational Stewardship Services.” Visitwww.uua.org Congregations can use UUA marketing materials and resources: keting/congregational/index.shtml keting/congregational/index.shtml  OMD Website now contains a lot of material about stewardship and money and economics. economy/index.html

37 Memories, Hopes, and Conversations: Appreciative Inquiry and Congregational Change by Mark Lau Branson The Alban Institute, Inc. Using Appreciative Inquirey tools for long range planning. The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change by Amanda Trosten-Bloom and Diana Whitney Berrett-Koehler Publ. Appreciative Inquiry and organizational change.

38 There are 4 Parts to the Stewardship Vist  Preliminaries – do your homework and learn about the congregation and about the people you will visit.  Scheduling the visit – personal or small group or dessert meeting or….etc.  The Visit – this is where Appreciative Inquiry is used.  Follow Up

39 I. THE PRELIMINARIES  1.Know the mission and programs of the congregation  2. Please make your own generous pledge before making stewardship visits.  Stewards should be able to say  a. I’m giving X, or  b. I increased X%, or  c. I’m meeting the UUA guidelines

40 3. Become familiar with your materials:  Contact list with names, info  Suggested Fair Share Giving Guide  Annual Campaign Brochure  Summaries of congregational programs and ministries if not included in brochure  Appreciative Inquiry Forms for feedback  Financial Commitment Forms  Envelopes for Financial Commitment Forms  Thank You Notes and Envelopes

41 II. SCHEDULING THE VISIT  1. Introduce yourself,  2. Ask if this is a good time to talk,  3. Briefly explain the purpose of your call – stewardship visit and feedback,  4. Schedule the visit  5. Make sure relevant parties will be there.

42 III - MAKING THE VISIT  1. Your story (always important)  2. Their stories, hopes and dreams (the appreciative inquiry questions)  3. The ask (giving guides and forms)  4. Thanks, gratitude shared

43 1.Tell your story.  Share passion for the congregation’s mission and its stewardship drive.  Tell a story about something you love about this congregation.  Refer to the annual budget drive documents or use the brochure as a visual guide.

44 2. Their story  Ask the Appreciative Inquiry Questions and really listen to their story; this is the invitation to Conversations from the Heart  Are there any other questions they need answered?  Acknowledge their comments and concerns.  Take notes and let them know you will share the information with Board and leadership

45 3. Ask  In light of their desire to support what they love, ask for their financial pledge to the annual budget.  The Giving Guide is helpful  Ask if they are willing to take one step up this year from last year  Give the pledge form and wait patiently (and quietly) and give them a chance to respond.  Allow them to feel good about giving at their comfort level..

46 IV. THE FOLLOW-UP  1. Write a short, simple thank-you note  2. If the member(s) had questions that you promised to research, find the answers and get back to them asap.  3. Submit the appreciative inquiry sheets with the completed pledge forms.  4. Return each completed pledge form as soon as possible.  5. All pledge forms must be returned by a set date.

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48 III. MAKING THE VISIT  1. Your story,  2. Their story, hopes and dreams (the appreciative inquiry questions)  3. The ask (giving guides and forms)  4. Thanks

49 1.Tell your story.  Begin by referring to the annual budget drive documents.  Share passion for the congregation’s mission and its stewardship drive.  Use the brochure as a visual guide.  Tell a story about something you love about this congregation.

50 2. Their story  Ask the Appreciative Inquiry Questions and really listen to their story; this is the invitation to Conversations from the Heart  Are there any other questions they need answered?  Acknowledge their comments and concerns.  Take notes and offer to share the information with Board and leadership

51 3. Ask  Ask for their financial pledge to the annual budget.  The Giving Guide is helpful  Ask if they are willing to take one step up this year from last year  Give the pledge form and wait patiently (and quietly) and give them a chance to respond..

52  If the person is not able or willing to make a pledge within the suggested range, simply ask what amount would be more comfortable.  If needed, step out of the room for a minute so partners can talk.  If for some reason they are still not ready to make a pledge, schedule a follow-up visit.  Please do not leave the pledge card behind

53 Possible Talking Points:  Before you make your decision, consider how you value being a member or friend of our community and what role our congregation plays in your life.  We suggest making some simple comparisons for raising your pledge. Is your pledge worth an extra Starbucks a day? Is it worth the cost of a night out once a month?

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55  Why do we have difficulty talking about money?  How does this difficulty translate into the ways we approach stewardship work?

56  People in low-income households don’t give money. Low-income people give time instead.  During economic downturns, people don’t give to their congregations.  People suffer information overload and don’t care to know how their money is being used.  If people understand the dire financial straits of the congregation, they will feel guilty and give more.

57  Out of a sense of gratitude for all that we have in life.  To add meaning to our lives.  Because we believe in the organization’s mission and want to be a real part of it.  Because we like to help people.  In response to people we trust.  Feelings of obligation (rarely)  Because someone asks!  Other reasons?????

58  Appealing Mission Statement—a dynamic and unique mission appeals to people’s interest in the value of the organization and the causes it supports.  Acknowledge that the economy impacts the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission.  Avoid dramatic cuts or changes in program or staffing.  Keep outreach, public relations and marketing strong.

59  Spread enthusiasm about what the organization is doing.  Practice openness and accountability.  Meet regularly with donors, informing them of the organization’s needs. Invite questions.


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