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The following programs can also all be found on the 
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For People New to Congregational Boards

September 20:
Orienting New Board Members
Northborough, MA

September 27:
Orienting New Board Member
Kingston, MA

2014 General Assembly
Even if you can't get to the whole thing, come for parts!

Providence, RI  
Boston Gay Pride 2014
Our Whole Lives Facilitator Trainings
The Wisdom of Our Crowd
by Hilary Allen,
Congregational Development Director
Northern New England District  


Later this month at General Assembly, our Massachusetts Bay District will launch FAITHIFY, a first-of-its-kind crowdfunding site. In our promotional video, we claim that FAITHIFY will change the way you engage our faith. It's a bold claim. And yet, we believe it. Here's why:  


You've heard from my colleagues on the power of covenant as our way to embody interdependence as well as on the potential for congregations to love each other. FAITHIFY gives us concrete ways to move one step further on enacting these promises. The site translates a vague sense of connection into tangible results. It allows us to say, "Yes, I want to do my part to help you offer your gifts to our world!"  

A little more than eight weeks ago, the starting-up congre-gation Original Blessing in Brooklyn launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. They have raised contributions from $5 to $1,000 given by ordinary people like you and me.


I mention Original Blessing not to draw attention to their target goal (though there are just three days left on the campaign...act now!) or even their powerful ministries, but because of what I saw as their campaign got launched. For weeks colleagues shared the good news of Original Blessing and encouraged others to give.


I was blown away by the testimony and it made me wish others I have known could have had such witness and companionship for their innovations. I trust that with FAITHIFY our ability to be this way for each other will soon be greatly magnified.


Which brings us to this big secret: crowdfunding isn't
much about funding at all.



You can learn more about FAITHIFY and stay informed by "liking" FAITHIFY on Facebook. Faithify.net, the pre-launch placeholder site, has information and resources including "How to Post a Project."


The Wi$dom Path: Money, Spirit, and Life

FAITHIFY is part of "The Wi$dom Path: Money, Spirit, and Life,"  a Tapestry of Faith program curriculum. Crowdfunding is highlighted in Workshop 7.


Prayer for the Faithifiers  

Say this prayer (by Hilary Allen) whenever you feel like you are losing your way.



The Wisdom of Our Crowd - continued from above

continuedOn the FAITHIFY site, FUNDing is only one of the core activities. Users can also
FOLLOW progress of projects they like or SHARE projects via social media, bridging traditional divides like geography. Every action on FAITHIFY allows us to deepen into relationship with each other and Unitarian Universalism.

In actuality, crowdfunding is about risk-taking, and being received by community.   


The folks of Original Blessing and the invited projects that will be on FAITHIFY at launch know this because they have done the hard heart work of putting themselves out there for us. This courage is the heart of innovation. These people so bold have risked in public and opened themselves up to our public scrutiny.


In late April, Rev. Erika Hewitt described how we have not always responded well to such bravery. She writes, "Too often, our people respond to the vulnerable expression of creativity or vision by criticizing the creation or vision." Rev. Hewitt challenged us to consider how we could more consistently express trust and make each other strong. I think FAITHIFY will give us powerful chances to exercise these muscles.


To be sure, a UU foray into crowdfunding will require learning new skills and developing old ones. Our traditional understandings of fundraising will have to transform. Because FAITHITY uses an all-or-nothing funding model, projects will have to reach their goals in order to receive funds. This will require us getting clearer - and perhaps more realistic - about how well we can estimate our needs and mobilize our networks. We will also have to cultivate some skill in being in touch when our plans don't go as predicted or when we have been wrong.


Perhaps most importantly, with FAITHIFY there is no grant committee deciding about the worthiness of projects. Instead, the people decide, through our collective wisdom. FAITHIFY invites us to trust the wisdom of our faithful crowd.  


Let the faithifying begin!


Hilary Allen now supports the congregations of the Northern New England District in their work of imagination. Come Fall, she will turn our attentions increasingly towards innovation and growth as the New England Region's staff lead in that area.