Hello, I’m Virginia Moreland. I’ve been a member here at First Unitarian Universalist church for three years and was a friend for two years before officially joining. The first committee I joined at FUUN was the Communication Committee – also known as Comm Comm. I’m currently finishing out my second year as the chair. I’ve been asked by the Stewardship Committee to speak to you today as part of the annual stewardship campaign.
I’ve spent the last several days trying to come up with an idea for my talk. Let me tell you, asking people for money is hard. I didn’t want to frighten with any dire predictions and i didn’t want to lay on a guilt trip…at least not yet.
Instead, I’d like to take you to a happy place. We all like happy places, right? One thing I’ve learned in the five years I’ve been on Comm Comm is you all have lots of ideas and suggestions for better communications — new features to our web site, new channels for keeping people informed, new forums for congregants to engage each other. And they are great ideas. So sit back for a minute, relax and let me paint a quick picture of what life could look like at First UU.
You’ve just logged on to the newly designed First Unitarian web site. You missed the last service, so you click on the embedded video recording and watch while you drink your morning coffee. Then you visit the online unified calendar to see what events are coming up. You spot one you’d like to attend and register online. Then you remember you need to schedule a room for your committee meeting and submit a quick reservation. Next, you hop over to the FUUN Facebook page and join in a spirited discussion with other members on what spirituality means.
This little vignette may seem rather simple, but it represents a giant leap in our communications program. Right now, the communications function of this church is done almost exclusively by volunteers. Updating the web site, editing and designing newsletters, maintaining Facebook, twitter, helping with event promotions, etc. There’s no such thing as “downtime” when it comes to communications. It’s ongoing, and in today’s possibly overly connected world, it’s more critical than ever to have a multi-channel, comprehensive communications program. With a congregation spanning from the very young to the very mature, there is no one best avenue to reach everyone anymore. Good communications requires someone’s singular attention.
So I’ll just be honest. As the Comm Comm chair, I’m confessing that we simply can’t do it. We can maintain the status quo. We can keep the web site we have, keep the newsletter coming out each month and such. But as volunteers, we simply don’t have the time required to go to the next level. That requires a communications director on staff. With this dedicated position, this church can move beyond the status quo to build a communications program that connects our current congregation, invites and engages newcomers, and offers a thriving community for sharing ideas and supporting each other.
I’m hoping you would like to see this sort of future for our church as well. We can’t create this future without your help, so I ask you to please be generous and support the stewardship campaign this year.