De-bunking Fundraising Myths – Part 3 (of 12)

We’ve all heard myths about fundraising.  These often lead us to do the exact opposite of what we should be doing to raise money.  We’ll be running a twelve part series de-bunking fundraising myths to take a close look at these false assumptions about giving.

This is the third in the series and we will run one each month (if you can’t wait to a year to read all of them you can purchase the book Beyond Fundraising: A Complete Guide to Congregational Stewardship and read them in Chapter 1: The Spiritual Roots of Stewardship).  We all feel the pinch during an economic downturn; however, this does not spell disaster for our faith communities.

As always, we encourage you to leave comments.

Fundraising Myth #3

Myth: During periods of economic downturn, people can’t be expected to give as much money to their faith community.

Truth: When faced with limited discretionary income, people choose their charitable organizations more carefully. If a compelling case is made in support of the annual budget drive or a capital campaign, they will make significant financial commitments. If a case is not made, potential donors think that the faith community does not deserve to get their money.

Financial Stewardship Campaign Case Statement – Chapel Hill, NC

Making a compelling case is one of the most important elements to a sucessful annual budget drive or capital campaign.  Congregants want to know “what difference will my contribution make?”  So when a congregation is preparing for an annual budget drive or capital campaign its extremely important to take the time to draft a compelling case statement about what can/will happen when the annual budget drive or captial campaign goal is met.  Congregational Stewardship Consultant, Frankie Price Stern, shares with us this Financial Stewardship Campaign Case Statement from the Community Church of Chapel Hill, UU, her home congregation.

“How Will We Love This World?
2010 Financial Stewardship Campaign
Community Church of Chapel Hill, UU
Case Statement

Transformational love is at the heart of our faith and history as Unitarian Universalists and as members and friends of the Community Church of Chapel Hill:

A Building Campaign for All the Right Reasons – A Religion for Our Time

The Unitarian Universalist Association has just released the third short video in the exciting new series, “A Religion for Our Time.”

Episode Three, “A Building Campaign for All the Right Reasons,” spotlights the building campaign of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Elkhart (UUFE). In a small Indiana town that has been battered by the recession, the members of UUFE knew they were the only liberal religious voice in the area. That knowledge made them determined to go ahead with a building campaign, and a very successful one at that!

Please consider sharing this video on your congregation’s website or blog, and through social media.

If you would like to embed “A Building Campaign for All the Right Reasons” as a YouTube video, the video (along with embed code and options for sharing it on Facebook and other sites) is available at

If you would like to download “A Building Campaign for All the Right Reasons,” please visit the “A Religion for Our Time” video series page (, right-click on the link labeled “Download Episode Three” and then select “Save Link As…” or “Save Target As…”

“A Religion for Our Time” highlights inspiring work in Unitarian Universalist congregations, including innovative projects relating to worship, social justice, membership, and fellowship. Thank you for watching the third episode in this series and sharing it with others.

Guest Author, Shelby Meyerhoff
Public Witness Specialist
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
25 Beacon St.
Boston, MA 02108
smeyerhoff at uua dot org

Financing options from the UUA

The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA) has several financing options for congregations looking to acquire land, build a spiritual home, or make improvements to their existing buildings.  Below is a list of the current financing options offered by the UUA.  Click on the link(s) for additional information about the specific program(s).

Building Loan Program
The Building Loan Program provides affordable financing for three types of project:

  1. building or buying a new spiritual home
  2. repairing or renovating existing facilities where substantial construction is not required,
  3. expanding current facilities where substantial construction is required, especially to make facilities more accessible.

The interest rate is set at the time of closing and is based on the seven-year Treasuries plus three-percent.

First Home Grant Program
The First Home Grant gives money to congregations seeking to purchase their first piece of land and/or to construct their first spiritual home.  The program is not designed for congregations that already own a building.

Loan Guarantee Program
The Loan Guarantee Program offers to guarantee a loan made by a local lender in cases where the lender requires this support before agreeing to loan money to a congregation.

Site Acquisition Loan Program
The Site Acquisition Loan Program assists growing, financially healthy congregations that are without significant financial equity to acquire their first piece of land. The UUA, in consultation with and acting as an agent of a qualified congregation, will purchase a site in a location where demographics indicate a high potential for the growth of Unitarian Universalism.  Note: this program is a loan and not a grant or gift.

Small Projects Loan Pilot Program
The Small Projects Loan Pilot Program promotes congregational growth by financing relatively inexpensive projects that can improve congregational life and well-being. Smaller, shorter term loans can create positive changes in congregations by providing a new tool to tackle issues that may seem beyond their current financial means. The program focuses on three broad categories of projects: mission-oriented, environmentally friendly, and critical/emergency in nature.

Green Construction Award Pilot Program
The Green Construction Award Pilot Program provides financial awards to congregations that build or renovate green and have received LEED certification.  This pilot program is in effect until as many as six congregations have earned an award.  Only one congregation has received this award.  Congratulations to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Wayne County in Wooster, OH for obtaining LEED Gold certification.