Prepared for UUCV by Barry Finkelstein, May 16, 2017 (Abridged)

Findings: Stewardship

Pledging (2016-17 Data):

  • Total Pledges:      $216,000 from 107 Households
  • Percent of Budget: 74% (Budget = $291,000)
  • Mean Pledge:       $2,018
  • Median Pledge:    $1,500
  • 80th percentile:    $3,000
  • Number of Pledges:
    • over $10K:   0
    • between $5 and 10K:  8
    • under $1K: 36
    • under $500: 13

Pledge distribution is skewed but typical for a UU congregation.


Findings: Capital Campaign Readiness

  • UUCV is ready to begin planning toward a successful capital campaign
  • You have key strengths and assets to build upon, and can address the challenges in the course of doing so
  • Given your starting point, you should plan for a capital campaign, combined with your annual campaign in the Spring of 2018
  • This will be challenging but worth the attempt


  • Minister and worship services
  • Building
  • Music program and director
  • Timing – 20th anniversary of the building, need for UUism and UUCV right now
  • Generous people:  annual giving, Music Endowment
  • Successes: purchasing this building, furnace, staff
  • Generous congregation:  Fair share, fair compensation
  • Dedicated leaders, including a start on a steering committee
  • Open-mindedness, willingness to dream big
  • SJ projects: Mozambique, Carlisle CARES


  • Struggles to meet annual operating financial goals although better this year
  • Worries about money
  • Need common vision, strategic plan, and long-range financial plan
  • Balancing the urgency of some needs against the time required for a highly successful campaign
  • Packaging the project to be compelling

Path to a Combined Campaign

  • Build on strengths and address challenges
  • Step 1: Organize:
    • Steering committee
    • Strategic planning team
    • Project planning team: building plus
    • CC finance team
  • Step 2: Plan:
    • Develop a detailed schedule and communication and engagement plan
    • Goals are to have fleshed out facility plans and budgets, in sync with mission, vision, and new Strategic Plan
  • Step 3: Execute:
    • Follow best practices for a combined campaign
    • Cultivate lead donors and conduct a financial feasibility study
    • Recruit and engage
    • Create excitement and momentum

Capital Campaign Basics

  • Once-a-generation opportunity to invest
  • Three years to make payments
  • Potential for 3+ times annual giving = $700,000+ for UUCV
  • If you ask people, 50% of the funds can often be received in Year 1 with the balance spread overs Years 2 and 3
  • Annual giving typically flat during the 3 years, then increases in Year 4 – IF you ask – as capital contributions end
  • Community-building – broad congregational buy-in
  • Much education and donor cultivation are required – explain how capital funds are raised, typical distribution, sources, share stories
  • One-on-one strategic conversations are key to effective asks

Capital Campaign Keys to Success

  • Make it a visible priority
  • Compelling case linked to mission and vision: package maintenance items with more visionary, mission-promoting items
  • Lead donors – try for a top donor giving at least 10% of the goal
  • Pyramid: major gifts combined with 100% participation
  • Hoopla
  • Effective processes for discussion, engagement, discernment – and timely decision-making and moving on
  • Anticipate and prepare for the potential for conflict
  • Disciplined and organized processes
  • Engage many people, be creative in identifying roles and recruiting
  • Excellent materials that are informative and inspiring

UUCV Capital Campaign: Dream Big Ideas

  • Consider extending the thinking beyond the current list of deferred maintenance items
  • Focus on items that promote your mission, position UUCV for the future, and have broad appeal
  • Examples include:
    • Accessibility and safety
    • Welcoming entrance and curb appeal
    • Green
    • Financial sustainability – loan repayment, reserves
    • Strategic seed money – invest in RE?
    • Outside improvements – e.g., playground, pave parking lot
    • Technology
    • Building upgrades – electrical, windows and doors, furnishings

Stewardship Best Practices

  • Emphasize our sacred UU stewardship covenant
  • Talk about money
  • Mission – and values-based compelling case and budget
  • Energy and excitement
  • Organization and process
  • Consistent messaging about giving, consistent with UU values: recognize different capacities, progressive guidance
  • Engage people and thank them often
  • Direct ask – one-on-one, personal
  • Strong leadership pledging and giving

Recommended Steps

Communicate, Engage, and Educate  


Continue the conversation from the NSW

Talk informally about money, the capital campaign, and annual giving

Create and carry out formal communication plan and channels


Establish the three teams (See last page)

Develop a detailed schedule

Ensure an effective process for engagement and decision-making

Strategic Plan Complete a new Strategic Plan that makes a case for capital investment

Engage people in the process to gain buy-in and enthusiasm

Strategic Financial Plan Develop a comprehensive 5-year financial projection

In concert with the new Strategic Plan

Factor in capital campaign and endowment

2018-19 Combined Capital-Annual Campaign Project plans:  flesh out and prioritize, develop initial cost estimates, engage an architect, present three plans/packages at different price points for congregational consideration

Campaign plans: donor cultivation, financial feasibility study, congregational education, plan and conduct campaign

Other Recommendations Continue to strengthen governance and ensure solid leadership support for the campaign

Conduct a financial audit to ensure high levels of confidence