Difference between revisions of "UU-Money"

From UUWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
m
(Sharing about Congregational Finances & Fundraising)
 
(15 intermediate revisions by 6 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
[[Main Page]] > [[Websters]]
+
==Sharing about Congregational Finances & Fundraising==
  
== Content Management Systems ==
+
The [http://lists.uua.org/mailman/listinfo/uu-money UU-Money email list] is for "Information Sharing among Society Finance Leaders".  This page goes beyond the limit of "finance leaders" to anyone in UU congregations who are concerned about finances and fundraising. If you have a resource to share, please add it here.
  
A Content Management System (CMS) is a system used to organize and facilitate  creation and maintenance of documents and other content (in this case for a web site).  They are designed to allow many people to directly contribute to the process.  Contributers sign on to authenticate and their activities are both assisted and restricted by the system.  To manage this, a CMS isolates the actions and effects of content creation and maintenance from other elements (layouts, styles, menus, etc.). 
+
===Reading List Recommendations===
Both Wiki's such as this and blogging sites use Content Management Systems.<br />
+
A more comprehensive description and additional details can be found at [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_management_system Wikipedia].
+
  
'''Advantages of a CMS website:'''
+
What financial/stewardship books would you recommend to your board of directors and/or church leaders?  View the [UU-Money Recommended Book List].
* content can be added and maintained without "webmaster" skills
+
* many people can contribute or collaborate using just their web browser
+
* limits on what contributors can and can't do can be precisely defined
+
* site layout, style and menus are unaffected during content editing work
+
* content is unaffected during layout, style and menu modifications
+
* standards and changes for layout, style and menus are applied universally
+
* site mapping, indexing, site search and menu generation is automatic
+
* web feed (RSS) syndication of content is usually automatic
+
* media (images, audio, video, etc) presentation and management is easier to implement
+
* member only features are easier to implement
+
* member participation features are easier to implement
+
* better for sites with many frequent changes, community and media features
+
  
'''Disadvantages of a CMS website:'''
+
===Online Pledging===
* can be more work to set up for a simple site
+
* fine tuning the look of individual pages and elements is difficult and limited
+
* CMS systems have their own menus and logic which users must understand
+
* one or more people must act to administrator the site and any other users
+
* requires specific software to be present or added to the web server
+
* your site will depend on the continuing availability and suitability of that specific software
+
* CMS software will require occasional security maintenance and updating
+
* usually requires some setup and configuration of a database on the web server
+
* places greater processing demands on the web server
+
* backup and recovery is more complicated when a database is involved
+
* customization requires more specialized and less common skills
+
* poor for relatively static sites with few changes and a single maintainer
+
  
'''Explore the CMS options at:'''
+
To simplify the paperwork involved in pledging,
* The website [http://www.cmsmatrix.org CMS Matrix] allows you to compare features on approximately 100 different CMS solutions.  The "Search the Matrix" feature allows you to filter the list according to the features that you need for your site.
+
you can either just put a form on the web for printing out, or actually let people fill in an online form with the amount they expect to pledge for the yearIn the latter case, it would be a good idea to use a secure web site (enable SSL/TLS).
* The website [http://www.opensourcecms.com Open Source CMS Systems] allows you to demo 40-50 LAMP-based Portals(CMS) and review the comments left by other visitors. ("LAMP" is an acronym for 'Linux-Apache-MySql-PHP' software.)
+
<br />
+
'''---Listed below are details for some CMS packages that churches use to build and maintain websites.'''<br /><br/>
+
  
----
+
Examples:
  
===[http://plone.org Plone®]===
+
* http://www.uuaa.org/online_pledging.htm
 +
* http://www.uueugene.org/finances/Canvass.html
 +
* http://www.uueugene.org/finances/PledgeCard.html
 +
* http://www.austinuupledge.org
  
'''License:''' FREE: ([http://www.gnu.org/licenses/ GNU General Public License])
+
===Recommended Books===
  
'''Notes:''' Plone is a ready-to-run content management system that is built on the powerful and free [http://zope.org Zope®] application server. Plone provides a system for managing web content that is suitable for project groups, communities, web sites, extranets and intranets. Zope is a full web application environment using its own transactional object database and programmed in the full featured, object oriented, [http://python.org Python] scripting language.  The project was started in the year 1999.
+
A list of books recommended by other UU-money subscribers can be found online at [[UU-Money_Recommended_Book_List]]
  
'''Advantages:''' It is easy to create events, news items, new documents, photos, and other files. It uses both HTML and an easy to use Structured Text for those who are unfamiliar with website design.  It has many add-on products that extend features available.  It has a very flexible security/permissions structure which allows people and groups with different roles to have control over different aspects and different parts of the site.  Plone can manage custom content types.  Plone delivers excellent compliance with [http://www.w3.org/ W3C] web ([http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/ XHTML] strict and [http://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/ CSS]) and accessibility standards ([http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/ WCAG]and [http://www.section508.gov/ Section 508]).  It can be set up to run on many different types of web servers (Linux, Windows, Mac, BSD etc.)  A large developer community, and commercial support is available. 
+
===Online Donation Services===
  
'''Disadvantages:'''  Plone will generally require a specialized web host or virtual web server due to its use of [http://zope.org Zope] rather than Apache, PHP and MySQL.  It is resource-hungry on the server.  It requires over 75 MB RAM dedicated to your site which tends to cost from $15 to $40/month.  It will require much more learning by the webmaster about how to back up the custom database, how to combine with Apache for speed and web access logs, etc. For more insights, see http://plone.org/documentation/faq/is-plone-for-me
+
Which web donation services are you using? (Please answer all questions under the service you use or add a new one if yours is not listed there. Do not list Shopping Services that give donations here - you can start a new topic for that if you'd like.)
  
'''Examples:'''
+
====Tips for Using Online Services====
*[http://www.firstunitarianportland.org/ First Unitarian Church of Portland]
+
*[http://www.nwuuf.org/ Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship]
+
*[http://www.spindletopuu.org/ Spindletop Unitarian Church]
+
*[http://www.uufws.net/ Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Winston-Salem]
+
  
To try it out, create your own free site at http://www.objectis.org/ or create your own account at a Plone-based community site like  http://plone.org/  For more flexible production hosting, you might look at http://interlix.com, or http://quintagroup.com
+
* Read your agreement
<br /><br />
+
* Check the policies about privacy and security
----
+
* Make sure you will be notified by email of any transactions
 +
* Transfer any funds that you have received into your account as soon as possible
 +
* If you haven't received an email from them in a month's time, check the account to make sure there have been no transactions
 +
* Use credit cards that will not charge you if you report that your number was stolen (most charge $50 per transaction until you notify them of theft, but I find that many will waive that if it is "identity theft" - using your number without your permission or direct access to your card)
 +
* Use checking accounts from banks that will cover unauthorized use of your account and that don't have large sums of money in them if possible (you can set up a special account and then transfer the money to the usual account)
 +
* Always login from your website browser, and never from an email.  This will prevent you from "phishing" -- an online criminal tactic where fraudulent email is sent in an attempt to gain your account and password information.
  
===[http://drupal.org Drupal]===
+
====NetworkforGood====
  
'''License:''' FREE  ([http://www.gnu.org/licenses/ GNU General Public License])
+
* What are the benefits of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find good about it. E.g. Does it allow one-time, monthly, and annual donations? Does it allow more than one kind of fundraiser for your organization at one time? Does it allow a custom designed web page for your donation page? Is it quick and easy to sign-up?)
  
'''Notes:''' Similar to  Plone® but implemented using more standard [http://www.php.net/ PHP] and [http://www.mysql.com/ MySQL] resources.  Originally developed for 'community' participation web sites where everyone in the community is able to contribute content.  Today the program is being used for a wider range of uses, including online press ([http://progressive.org/ The Progressive], [http://www.theonion.com The Onion]), academic sites, media libraries, and galleries.  It can be used both for sites with very limited access (just a few authors) or by a very expansive community of users and authors with different privileges.  The project was started in the year 2000.
+
''Originally, NfG absorbed the credit card charges and passed 100% of the donation to the charity. When their dot.com funding ran out, they started charging 3%.''
  
'''Advantages:'''  Easy to create news items, single author and multi author documents, audio & video posts (podcasts), galleries (image collections), etc. The base program is highly compliant with both general [http://www.w3.org/ W3C] web design standards ([http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/ XHTML] strict and [http://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/ CSS]) and accessibility standards ([http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/ WCAG]and [http://www.section508.gov/ Section 508 requirements]).  Many theme templates and lots of additional modules are freely available from the central Drupal community site.  Common modules include kits which can be use to create custom content types and views.  Content can be edited in WYSIWG mode or HTML using a choice of tunable editors.  Regulation of user roles and privileges is very adjustable.  Editing experience and viewing experience can be customized for different users.  Content categorization and use of categorization is both flexible and pervasive.  Technical support is available through an active user community on Drupal's community support site.  A dedicated Drupal commercial hosting service option is available ([http://bryght.com/ Bryght Community content hosting]).
+
* What are the disadvantages of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find bad or annoying or not optimal about it. E.g. Does it only allow one type of donation? Does it take a long time to sign up?)
  
'''Disadvantages:''' Some modules are not mature and some others have not been adapted to operate with the current 5.x version.  Administration is done through same interface as is used for general site viewing (rather than a purpose specific back end interface). Strict enforcement of design and coding creates requirements that may pose difficulties for some trying to make customizations.  Building a multi featured site requires the selection, installation, and maintenance of many third party modules. 
+
''It's just another credit card donation service, no reason to use it rather than anyone else.''
  
'''Features:'''
+
* What does it cost? As of what date? (This will need to be updated if changed.)
* Number of user logins: at least one, but an unlimited number may be created
+
* Registration: May be set to "anyone may register", "anyone may register, but must be approved by admin", or "no one may register".  Various modules available to extend these options.
+
* Separate file/page logins: no, everything is handled via a single login interface
+
* Approx setup time: First time user, about 1/2 - 1 day.  Experienced user, about 15 - 30 minutes.
+
* Custom scripts allowed: Yes; may create "modules" to extend system-wide functionality, or may inject PHP directly into a page
+
* Custom templates allowed: Yes; may create a custom "theme"
+
* Number of templates available: A very large number.  Many are listed on the [http://drupal.org/project/Themes Drupal themes page], and most of those are free.
+
  
'''Major benefits:'''
+
''Enter your answer here.'' I was just looking at this site and on brief examination, it appears to cost 3% of each transaction (to accept credit card payment). This appears to me in line with the cost of PayPal. [- Tom Upshaw]
* Extremely customizable
+
* Very large community - if you want to do something with Drupal, someone else has probably already done it
+
* Many modules available for extending the core system
+
* Extremely lightweight; does not require much server space or bandwidth, and is compatible with a wide variety of browsers
+
  
'''Major drawbacks:'''
+
* Who uses it? How long? How many donations have you received from this service? Please give a link to your donation information on your web site.
* Requires some time and effort to learn
+
* Too many modules - it can be difficult to find, assemble and maintain the modules you need
+
  
'''Demo:'''
+
''Enter your congregation or organization's information here.''
[http://opensourcecms.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=132 OpenSourceCMS.com Demo site]
+
  
To login as the admin, add a new page, and edit that page:
+
====Amazon.com Honor System====
1. Go to http://demo.opensourcecms.com/drupal/?q=user
+
Link: [http://s1.amazon.com/exec/varzea/subst/fx/home.html/ref=gw_hp_ls_1_9/104-5235824-4592733 Amazon.com Honor System]
2. Login with the administrative password (username admin, password demo)
+
* What are the benefits of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find good about it. E.g. Does it allow one-time, monthly, and annual donations? Does it allow more than one kind of fundraiser for your organization at one time? Does it allow a custom designed web page for your donation page? Is it quick and easy to sign-up?)
3. Go to http://demo.opensourcecms.com/drupal/node/add/page
+
** Amazon.com is a trusted name, most UUs will have bought something from the site at one time or another. There are several point-n-click options to create what are called payboxes to place on your website as well as a paypage, which is a "landing page" that fully describes how the Amazon Honor System works and answers questions users might have. Money is a one way deposit into your checking account, which reduces the chance of online fraud.
4. Type in the page title, and some body text
+
5. If you want, feel free to play with the various options which appear when you click "Comment settings", "Authoring information", and "Publishing options"; you can also change these later, by editing the page.
+
6. Click Submit
+
7. You should see the new page, with a button to edit it, if you want.
+
8. To see the page as it would appear to a non-administrative user, copy the URL for the page somewhere convenient, go to http://demo.opensourcecms.com/drupal/logout , and then go back to the page URL.
+
  
Note: OpenSourceCMS.com occasionally wipes its demos clean - do not save precious work there!
+
* What are the disadvantages of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find bad or annoying or not optimal about it. E.g. Does it only allow one type of donation? Does it take a long time to sign up?)
 +
**Not everyone is an Amazon.com customer. Some people really don't like Amazon, and will choose not to support them. Limited customer service.  Limited to U.S. customers only. You'll need to provide a credit card to register.  Not suitable for anything other than asking for donations or selling "digital content".
 +
**Amazon asks you to put a link on your page to an image served from their servers, in which they put a customized message.    This allows them to track visits by all users to your site (see [[Wikipedia:web bug]]).  If the person browsing has an Amazon "cookie" indicating that they are an Amazon customer, the message is personalized to them.  Both of these practices can be alarming to users, who may expect privacy when dealing with matters of religion.
  
'''Examples:'''
+
* What does it cost? As of what date? (This will need to be updated if changed.)
* [http://www.auuf.net/ Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship]
+
**As of 08/04/04, the rates are 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.
* [http://www.firstparishcambridge.org/ First Parish Cambridge]
+
* [http://follen.org/ Follen Church Society]
+
* [http://rvuuf.org/ Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship]
+
* [http://www.uduuf.org/ Upper Delaware Unitarian Fellowship]
+
* [http://www.lifenowradio.org/ Life Now Radio... UU + Drupal, but a podcast...not a church]
+
* If you google "church drupal" you can also find quite a few churches of other denominations using it. -An example using a number of good design principles can be seen at the [http://bethlehem-church.org/ Bethlehem Lutheran Church].   A collected listing of [http://groups.drupal.org/node/2700/ Church Websites running Drupal] has been collected in the Churches group at groups.drupal.org.
+
<br />
+
  
----
+
* Who uses it? How long? How many donations have you received from this service? Please give a link to your donation information on your web site.
  
===[http://joomla.org/ Mambo/Joomla]===
+
''Enter your congregation or organization's information here.''
  
'''License:''' FREE  (both Mambo and Joomla use the [http://www.gnu.org/licenses/ GNU General Public License])
+
====CharityWeb.net====
  
'''Notes:''' Probably the most popular CMS. Listed together: Mambo and Joomla share a common design heritage. In mid-2005 the Miro corporation set up a "Mambo Foundation" in an attempt to exert more control via their ownership of the trademark.  This was strongly resisted by the Mambo developer community, which left en-masse and are continuing their development using the name "Joomla".  As these two programs continue development they are likely to become much more distinct and less able to share.  Several web hosting services support installation through automated installation scripts or "one-button installs".  It uses the same PHP and MySQL components as most other CMS's listed here.  The project was started in the year 2000.
+
* What are the benefits of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find good about it. E.g. Does it allow one-time, monthly, and annual donations? Does it allow more than one kind of fundraiser for your organization at one time? Does it allow a custom designed web page for your donation page? Is it quick and easy to sign-up?)
  
'''Advantages:''' Administration is done through a separate "back end" interface to avoid limitations of the "front end" interface used during normal site viewing and navigation.  Administration interface has an graphic icon driven interface that makes use less intimidating for some.  Theme templates and module extensions are easily loaded remotely since the interface accepts compressed modules remotely, transfers them, and unpacks on the server before loading them for use.  Content can be edited in WYSIWG mode or HTML using the included editor.  The popularity of the system has resulted in good availability of themes, extensions and experienced developers.  Supports blogs, web feeds, multimedia, calendars, galleries, and podcasting through options and extensions.  Administration interface and loose enforcement of constraints makes modification of theme templates easier than some other CMS.
+
''Enter your answer here.''
  
'''Disadvantages:''' Most new work seems to be taking the Joomla fork.  User reviews of the fall 2006 update to Mambo show comparatively high levels of user dissatisfaction.  The current Joomla 1.0 release seems stable, but is in need of revision to achieve compliance with [http://www.w3.org/ W3C] web design standards ([http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/ XHTML] strict and [http://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/ CSS]) and accessibility standards ([http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/ WCAG]and [http://www.section508.gov/ Section 508 requirements]).  The 1.0 version still uses tables extensively for formatting non-table content.  Improvements in these areas is a major objective of the 1.5 release of Joomla.  The version 1.5 update will provide a major redesign and is progressing.  (Release candidates 1, 2 and 3 became available on 7-24, 9-1 and 10-6 of 2007.  The developers are anticipating a final release later this year.) Due to the large amount of base design and extensions built outside of standards, it is not clear how readily or thoroughly the design improvements will be achieved.  In Joomla 1.0, the administration interface has been extended such that structure isn't always clear and some functions lack the clarity typical of the other sections. 
+
* What are the disadvantages of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find bad or annoying or not optimal about it. E.g. Does it only allow one type of donation? Does it take a long time to sign up?)
  
'''Examples:'''<br />
+
''Enter your answer here.''
''Mambo:''
+
* [http://www.uuaa.org First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor]
+
* [http://www.ucsummit.org The Unitarian Church in Summit (New Jersey)]
+
''Joomla:''
+
* [http://uucyf.org/ The Church of the Younger Fellowship]
+
* [http://cms.plymouthuu.org/ First Parish Church in Plymouth]
+
* [http://www.firstparish.org/ First Parish in Concord]
+
* [http://rochesteruniversalist.org/ First Universalist Church of Rochester]
+
* [http://www.jruuc.org/ James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation]
+
* [http://www.mmuus.org/ May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society]
+
* [http://swuucyruu.org/ Southwest District Young Religious Unitarian Universalists]
+
* [http://www.tjuc.org/ Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church]
+
* [http://www.uucj.com/ Universalist Unitarian Church of Joliet]
+
* [http://www.uuventura.org/ Unitarian Universalist Church of Ventura]
+
* [http://www.uu-uno.org/ Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office]
+
  
<br />
+
* What does it cost? As of what date? (This will need to be updated if changed.)
----
+
  
===[http://contentor.net Contentor]===
+
''Enter your answer here.''
  
'''License:''' FREE ([http://www.gnu.org/licenses/ GNU General Public License])
+
* Who uses it? How long? How many donations have you received from this service? Please give a link to your donation information on your web site.
  
'''Advantages:''' Contentor was designed for small to medium-sized web sites, typical of sites for/by small non-profit corporations or individuals.  It was developed by a fellow UU, Earl Daniels.
+
''Enter your congregation or organization's information here.''
  
'''Disadvantages:''' Unclear how much usage or support there is.
+
====PayPal====
  
'''Examples:'''  
+
* ''What are the benefits of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find good about it. E.g. Does it allow one-time, monthly, and annual donations? Does it allow more than one kind of fundraiser for your organization at one time? Does it allow a custom designed web page for your donation page? Is it quick and easy to sign-up?)''
*[http://www.uuism.net UUism.net]
+
**Many people have used PayPal as individuals and small businesses for years with no problem.
<br />
+
**Pay Pal Security Links
 +
***[https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_security-center-outside Here is a link for Pay Pal Security information]
 +
***[http://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/gen/ua/policy_efunds-outside Here is the link for the Pay Pal User Agreement about how they handle Error Resolution]
 +
** PayPal is owned by Ebay, which has increased customer service, services, and options since they bought the company. 
 +
** PayPal can be used as part of a full ecommerce solution, more than just donations or pledges.
 +
** PayPal pages can be integrated to match the look and feel of your site.
 +
** There are options for recurring billing on a monthly basis, i.e. pledges.
  
----
+
* ''What are the disadvantages of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find bad or annoying or not optimal about it. E.g. Does it only allow one type of donation? Does it take a long time to sign up?)''
 +
**Some paypal users like Abiword have complained that they lost a bunch of money that people donated to them because someone stole it and paypal did not insure the loss (not being a "financial institution" or something like that) [http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/10/27/042226&mode=nested&tid=98].  Most observers recommend that you withdraw money donated to you on a regular basis rather than leaving it at paypal as if it was a bank. See also [http://www.paypalsucks.com/ paypalsucks.com].  There is a class action suit for which PayPal is paying, though it claims no responsibility. You can see details about it at [https://www.paypal.com/settlement/ https://www.paypal.com/settlement/].  Individual comments about this can be left on the "discussion" page (click on the tab at the top of the page).
 +
** As an anti-fraud measure, PayPal limits withdrawals to $500 per month when you first open an account.  This limit can be removed when you verify your identity with 2 out of the 3 following items: a credit card, a bank account, and a social security number. We did not have a credit card, and they would not accept an employer identification number in lieu of an SSN.  One of our employees had to submit their SSN for verification.   
  
===[http://info.soholaunch.com/ Soholaunch]===
+
* ''What does it cost? As of what date? (This will need to be updated if changed.)''
 +
** As of 08/04/04, the standard charge is 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.  There are discounts based upon monthly volume : 3,001 to 10,000 is 2.5%; 10,001 to 100,000 is 2.2%, and a monthly volume over $100,000 drops the rate to 1.9%.  The discounted rates all have the baseline of 30 cents per transaction.
  
'''License:''' Proprietary.  Basic version is free of cost. "For 15 days, all of the full-version features will be turned on for you. After your full-version trial expires you can keep using all of the ProBase features forever for free, or you can purchase a full-version license and pick up where you left off with the advanced features."
+
* ''Who uses it? How long? How many donations have you received from this service? Please give a link to your donation information on your web site.''
  
""Installing:"" - Linux servers often offer one of these features that will install it with the click of a link or icon: Fantastico (cPanel), Installatron (cPanel, Plesk), 4psa (Plesk), CP Skins (cPanel), Helm
+
** The First UU Church of Austin uses PayPal to [http://www.austinuu.org/donations.htm solicit online donations] to support our web ministries. We are averaging about $50 to $100 a year through PayPal donations, and approximately $400 to $500 per year from people who choose to write a check instead. We also use the site [http://www.mollyguard.com Mollyguard.com] to manage event registrations, and have processed approximately a thousand dollars through the combination of these two services.
  
'''Advantages:''' Relatively easy to use and to set up. A non-tech person can learn how to add information to the site using a web browser and username and password. There are limited templates with the program, but there are forums that give information about creating customized designs.
+
** as of August 2009, [http://www.uuwr.org/index.php/store/ UU Women and Religion] has been using PayPal since to process transactions for their store which offers curricula like "Cakes for the Queen of Heaven," books and CDs. Hundreds of dollars a month are processed this way, and funds are withdrawn monthly.
  
'''Disadvantages:''' Requires several steps for the editor to create a page - is not a wysiwyg tool. Does not allow for separate password protected folders for different editors of different areas of the site as might be needed for a large site. Might have limits that I'm not aware of as I've only used it for small sites. Experienced problems updating the software without having the content removed, but server had backup to restore it and forum gives instructions on how to correct the problem.
+
** In 2009, [http://www.buuf2.org/ Berrien UU Fellowship] in St. Joseph Michigan used PayPal to process credit cards for their annual Auction. Worked flawlessly.
  
'''Examples:'''
+
** since 2008, [http://www.cmwd-uua.org/ Central Midwest District] has used PayPal to process their Chalice Lighter donations. Very successfully utilized. Will also be processing workshop registrations starting in 2009.
[http://www.jpdwr.org/ Joseph Priestley District Women and Religion] - this site was set up by someone with moderate tech skills and instructions were created for volunteer site managers - uses a template that was provided plus their logo designed by a member artist
+
[http://www.4stepscreativelearning.com/ 4 Steps Creative Learning Child Care Services] - this is not a UU site, but it demonstrates how a template can be edited for a new design - a real estate template was used, header photos were replaced, and colors were changed. The counter at the bottom is a free sitemeter - not a part of the Soholaunch program, but it shows that code can be added for other services.
+
  
----
+
====thedatabank.com====
  
===[http://www.oneworldhosting.com/support/website_builder.html SiteXpress Website Builder]===
+
* What are the benefits of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find good about it. E.g. Does it allow one-time, monthly, and annual donations? Does it allow more than one kind of fundraiser for your organization at one time? Does it allow a custom designed web page for your donation page? Is it quick and easy to sign-up?)
  
'''License:''' Proprietary.  Free if you use a host service that offer the software (see link above).
+
''Enter your answer here.''
  
'''Advantages:''' Offers more flexible design options than some other CMSs - many design elements available, not just full templates. User-friendly instructions for people with good web experience. Customizing options available (uploading your own header images).
+
* What are the disadvantages of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find bad or annoying or not optimal about it. E.g. Does it only allow one type of donation? Does it take a long time to sign up?)
  
'''Disadvantages:''' Limited to servers that offer it. More steps needed to edit than some other CMSs.
+
''Enter your answer here.''
  
'''Examples:'''
+
* What does it cost? As of what date? (This will need to be updated if changed.)
[http://www.drchrisbell.com/ Dr. Chris Bell] - code for Sitemeter added as free service (not available with software)
+
  
----
+
''Enter your answer here.''
  
===[http://www.phpwebsitemanual.com/ phpWebSite]===
+
* Who uses it? How long? How many donations have you received from this service? Please give a link to your donation information on your web site.
  
'''License:''' Free (GPL)
+
''Enter your congregation or organization's information here.''
  
'''Advantages:''' Allows separate password protected areas for different site editors. Has a lot of forum features built in.
 
  
'''Disadvantages:''' Set up does not contain user-friendly instructions; instructions are found elsewhere. Design flexibility is limited.
+
===Fundraising Ideas===
  
'''Examples:'''
+
Besides asking for pledges and contributions, how do you raise funds for your congregation or UU organization or program? Please include details, how much time was spent and how much money was raised, along with the name of your congregations or organization and program, if applicable.
[http://www.uusj.org/ Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice]
+
  
----
+
"Enter your successful fundraising details here"
  
===[http://revoluution.com/products.php Revoluution Media CMS]===
+
==== Service Auctions ====
 +
Members offer services. Other members bid on them.
  
'''License:''' Proprietary - by arrangement with "Revoluution Media"
+
===== How to Organize them? =====
 +
Service auctions require a lot of data processing: donations described and printed in a catalog; logs printed for silent auction items; bidders entered; bids entered during the auction; summaries of purchases printed for buyers; thank you notes printed for donors; summary reports; and so on.
  
'''Notes:''' "Revoluution Media" builds web sites and provides CMS site software for a number of Unitarian Universalist entities. The vendor website claims its own CMS is "fully integrated and easy-to-use" and that it "will allow anyone to update the page content of your site- without resorting to a slow or expensive webmaster". The coding technologies visible on example websites include XHTML, CSS, PHP, and Javascript.
+
The [http://www.meminfo.com MemInfo]data system provides a complete facility for running an auction, making the process easier and more efficient. Bids during a live auction can be entered into one or more computers on a network, so that invoices for bidders are available at the close of bidding. Because it is linked to the database of members and friends, the information such as addresses and phone numbers does not have to be re-entered. A free demonstration version is available at [http://www.meminfo.com www.meminfo.com].
  
'''Advantages:''' Vendor assistance and support. Vendor offers an integrated service package. The vendor has experience serving a number of other Unitarian Universalist communitiesSystem can be optimized for a small user base.
+
The [http://togetherauction.com TogetherAuction] system gives your church or fellowship it's own auction website where members can submit donations and view an online catalog and event calendar. During the auction, it becomes a multi-user networked sales entry system, with on-the-spot statements that give buyers and donors contact information for each other.  It features automated email reminders for dated events (dinners), and you can also send out customized emails with links to participants' statements...etc.  More information is available at [http://togetherauction.com http://togetherauction.com].
  
'''Disadvantages:''' Costs associated with vendor service. Dependencies associated with a single vendor solutions. System has a small user base to test system operation and to support addition and refinement of features.
+
Having a computer based system permits bidders to bid individually on items. For example, a dinner offered for eight persons might be purchased by three couples and two individuals. It is quite easy during a live verbal auction to adjust the bid price to a point where the number of bids equals the units available in the item.
  
'''Examples:'''
+
===== What Are Popular Services? =====
*[http://cmwdyan.org/ Central Midwest District Young Adult Network]
+
* Dinners; Chinese, German, Thai, Mexican, Italian, Vegan. This requires some fancy footwork in the bidding department, so that the 8th-highest bidder doesn't pay $50 for a seat at the dinner for 8, while the highest pay $80 for the same dinner. We usually say "How many will pay $20 per person for this dinner? $30? $ 40? Bidding stops when there are fewer than 8 people willing to pay the bid.
 +
* Wine Tasting parties (Designate a driver).
 +
* 2, 4, 8 hours of baby sitting (Teens can contribute to their church.)
 +
* 2, 4, 8 hours of professional services, if a member is a CPA, gardener, carpenter, plumber, mechanic, electrician . . . .
 +
* 10 Hours of research by a competent amateur genealogist with a subscription to census images.
 +
* A day on a sailboat.
 +
* A day on a motorcycle.
 +
* Tennis, Golf, Horseback Riding or Poker lessons.
 +
* Weekend at a cabin in the mountains.
 +
* Helping someone write a song and record it.
 +
* Two hours air time on a web radio station.
 +
* A dedicated parking spot (close to the door) at church for a year. 
 +
* The right to pick one sermon topic for the Minister to deliver. (Not write the sermon - pick a topic you'd like to hear, then the minister writes and delivers the sermon.)
 +
* A ban on your least-favorite hymn until next year. (Guaranteed to annoy someone else, so be careful. The hymn you detest is someone else's cherished favorite.)
 +
* Individual hours of on-site computer help.  This has only become popular in the last 5 years or so.
  
<br />
+
===== Search UUA for auction ideas =====
----
+
UUA website search for "auctions" brings up several good articles:
 +
[http://www.uua.org/searchoursite.shtml?cx=007175923080295419477%3Acbowmcgn4uu&cof=FORID%3A11&q=auctions&go=Go!#1144 uua.org search]
  
===[http://sourceforge.net/projects/tmakesite Thetaworld MakeSite]===
+
===Split the Plate===
  
'''License:''' a custom open source license.
+
Several congregations have policies which share collection plate money with non-profit organizations.  Here is a collection of sample policies and recommendations.
  
'''Notes:''' From the Project Page on SourceForge: Thetaworld MakeSite is an offline Content Management System for static pages based on PostgreSQL, Perl, Gedafe and web GUI. It supports Links Catalog similar to Yahoo, multi categories, pages, different publishing targets and online e-commerce shop..  
+
*Sample Policy: First UU Church of [[Austin Split the Plate]]
 +
*UU World Article: [http://www.uuworld.org/2003/04/conglife.html Sharing the plate increases giving.]
  
'''Advantages:''' Relatively simple and efficient in operation.
+
===Personnel Costs===
  
'''Disadvantages:''' Unclear how much usage or support there is. Limited in features with little apparent prospect for evolutionNo apparent maintenance since December 2005.  Uses/Requires some less common (but publicly licensed) web components.
+
A question frequently seen on UU-Money is "what percentage of the church budget is usually spent on personnel costs?" The general answer is that it varies a lotHere is some actual data; feel free to add to or update it if you have more.
  
'''Examples:'''  
+
{| {{table}}
*[http://palouseuu.org/ Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse (Moscow, Idaho)]
+
| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|'''Annual Budget'''
<br />
+
| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|'''%age of Budget for Personnel'''
----
+
| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|'''Membership'''
 
+
| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|'''Church'''
===[http://www.firstunitariansociety.org/templateproject/ UU Web Template project]===
+
| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|'''As Of'''
 
+
|-
'''License:''' FREE - at least for UU organizations (the [http://www.firstunitariansociety.org/templateproject/license/license.txt license] says it is [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/  Creative Commons by-nc-sa] but also "Any [non-UU] use requires permission." so that isn't clear....)
+
| $330,000 ||80% of pledge income||220||Oak Ridge [TN} UU||Nov-07
 
+
|-
'''Notes:''' The term template may be a bit misleading.  These file sets create a scripted (PHP) interface, a choice of two visual themes and a standard set of church web pages.  It provides a user interface allowing authorized users to login to the site from any web browser.  Once logged in, the authorized user can create content, perform basic maintenance, and extend the page and menu content without any web editing tools. New as of May 2006; the specs for future versions are being considered to improve it.
+
| $239,000 ||58%||175||UUC of the New River Valley [Blacksburg VA]||Nov-07
 
+
|-
'''Advantages:''' The UU Web Templates are designed and prepared specifically for use by UU congregations needing to create a first web site and should allow a quick and low cost launch.  The UU Web Templates can also be used as an add-on or for use in re-design of a site.  The project is supported by fellow UUs so the community is limited, but shares a lot of common knowledge.  There is an email list to communicate with the other users.  The simplicity of the design allows the templates to function on both Linux/Unix and Windows web servers.  The templates do not require the complexity of a database setup and maintenance.
+
| $97,000 ||50%||70||UUC of the Palisades [Englewood NJ]||Nov-07
 
+
|-
'''Disadvantages:''' A limited selection of styles and color schemes are built into the design.  Limitations on the degree to which a site can be extended.  There is currently no support for "Web 2.0" features such as media, community/social networking and blogs.  The constraints of a small community of users may create some difficulties in maintaining and growing the application.  Unspecified problems have been reported.
+
| $621,000 ||62%||500||First UU Houston [TX]||Nov-07
 
+
|-
'''Examples:'''  
+
| ||72%||||River Road UUC [Bethesda MD]||Nov-07
*[http://www.allsoulsbraintree.org All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church of Braintree]
+
|-
*[http://www.athensuuc.org Unitarian Universalist Church of Athens and Sheshequin]
+
| $521,750 ||61.40%||380||Unitarian C of Harrisburg [PA]||Nov-07
*[http://www.cvuus.org Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society]
+
|-
*[http://www.luuna.net LUUNA - Latino(a) Unitarian Universalist Networking Association]
+
| $776,500 ||64%||693||First UU Columbus [OH]||Nov-07
*[http://www.oaklandonuu.org Oaklandon Unitarian Universalist Church]
+
|-
*[http://www.rutlanduu.org Unitarian Universalist Church of Rutland]
+
| $657,340 ||65%||618||First Univeralist Church of Denver [CO]||Nov-07
*[http://www.secondparish.org Second Parish - Unitarian Universalist]
+
|-
*[http://www.uuacg.org Unitarian Universalists of Coastal Georgia]
+
| $998,848 ||68%||810||First Unitarian C of Rochester [NY]||Nov-07
*[http://www.uucookeville.org Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cookeville]
+
|-
*[http://www.uucyakima.org Unitarian Universalist Church of Yakima]
+
| $598,750 ||63%||450||Unitarian C in Summit [NJ]||Dec-07
*[http://www.uufgc.org UU Fellowship of Greater Cumberland]
+
|}
*[http://www.uumuk.org/test The United Unitarian & Universalist Society of Mukwonago]
+
*[http://www.uutryonnc.org Thermal Belt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship]
+
<br />
+
----
+
 
+
===[http://wordpress.org WordPress]===
+
 
+
'''License:''' FREE (distributed under [http://www.gnu.org/licenses/ GNU General Public License])
+
 
+
'''Notes:''' Designed principally for blogs, the basic package also supports standard web pages and a multi-level menu structure.  It is easily extended through a "plug-in" interface to add support for podcasting and image galleries.  Recent updates allow for a site that does not contain a blog on the opening page.  Because of its popularity and flexibility, it is being used for multi-purpose and some general purpose websites. It uses the same PHP and MySQL components as most other CMS's listed here. The WordPress product name is relatively new, but the product evolved directly from the b2 product which originated in 2001.
+
 
+
'''Advantages:''' WordPress is relatively easy to setup and understand.  It is also a relatively mature and well maintained program.  This has resulted in it being both very stable and web and accessibility standard compliant.  The WordPress site provides extensive guidelines on how to improve and maintain accessibility.  An extremely large collection of theme templates and plug-ins is available in the public domain and from custom developers.  Themes are easily and quickly switched and customized from within the administrative interface.  Non-blog pages and menus are relatively easy to create.  The tabbed administrative interface opens on a dashboard which displays the system status and provides notices of upgrades from WordPress.  Content is created and edited using an interactive WYSIWYG editor that allows tabbing between a formated presentation and direct HTML editing.  The editor provides both auto-save backups during editing and spell checking.  Edits can be saved to draft, or private, or published for public viewing.  Its podcasting feed support exceeds those of other CMS offerings.  It is common for web hosting services to supply their customers with a "one-button" installation for the WordPress application. A dedicated commercial hosting service option is available from [http://wordpress.com/ WordPress.com].
+
 
+
'''Disadvantages:''' The program is designed and maintained to support the specific purpose of blogging.  Congregations attempting to use it for broader purposes may encounter limitations (either immediately or in the future).
+
 
+
'''Examples:'''
+
*[http://hunterdonuu.org/ First Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hunterdon County]
+
*[http://www.ucmh.org/ Unitarian Church of Marlborough and Hudson]
+
<br />
+
----
+
 
+
===[http://www.cmsmadesimple.org/ CMS Made Simple]===
+
 
+
'''License:''' FREE (distributed under [http://www.gnu.org/licenses/ GNU General Public License])
+
 
+
'''Notes:''' To get a simple CMS site up and start managing it is relatively simple. The product is described on its website as "simple enough to run family websites...."  The standard installation provides a very friendly interface, a lot of guidance, explanations of CMS concepts, and such.  This makes the product easier for the inexperienced to start working with.  The CMS allows creation of web sites having good compliance with web and accessibility standards, but it does not enforce such standards. This CMS makes use of the preexisting SMARTY theme/template engine and the PHP and MySQL components. Work on this project began as a small in-house project in 2004.  This is a relatively new product, with its first stable release being made available in 2006.
+
 
+
'''Advantages:'''
+
* very easy to make a hierarchical website
+
* very nice administration interface, ordered by role and tasks
+
* standard news module, RSS feeds, file and image managers, and WYSIWYG editor
+
* module manager, allowing to download and install modules from the browser
+
* many modules available
+
'''Disadvantages:'''
+
* inconsistent add-on modules (different ways of doing things)
+
* lack of CMSMS functionality, a lot is borrowed from other OS software
+
 
+
'''Examples:'''
+
* no UU users known of ...
+
* other denominations have congregations using it, but this Wiki is in need of a showcase quality example.
+
<br />
+
----
+
[[Main Page]] > [[Websters]]
+

Latest revision as of 10:18, 5 March 2010

Sharing about Congregational Finances & Fundraising

The UU-Money email list is for "Information Sharing among Society Finance Leaders". This page goes beyond the limit of "finance leaders" to anyone in UU congregations who are concerned about finances and fundraising. If you have a resource to share, please add it here.

Reading List Recommendations

What financial/stewardship books would you recommend to your board of directors and/or church leaders? View the [UU-Money Recommended Book List].

Online Pledging

To simplify the paperwork involved in pledging, you can either just put a form on the web for printing out, or actually let people fill in an online form with the amount they expect to pledge for the year. In the latter case, it would be a good idea to use a secure web site (enable SSL/TLS).

Examples:

Recommended Books

A list of books recommended by other UU-money subscribers can be found online at UU-Money_Recommended_Book_List

Online Donation Services

Which web donation services are you using? (Please answer all questions under the service you use or add a new one if yours is not listed there. Do not list Shopping Services that give donations here - you can start a new topic for that if you'd like.)

Tips for Using Online Services

  • Read your agreement
  • Check the policies about privacy and security
  • Make sure you will be notified by email of any transactions
  • Transfer any funds that you have received into your account as soon as possible
  • If you haven't received an email from them in a month's time, check the account to make sure there have been no transactions
  • Use credit cards that will not charge you if you report that your number was stolen (most charge $50 per transaction until you notify them of theft, but I find that many will waive that if it is "identity theft" - using your number without your permission or direct access to your card)
  • Use checking accounts from banks that will cover unauthorized use of your account and that don't have large sums of money in them if possible (you can set up a special account and then transfer the money to the usual account)
  • Always login from your website browser, and never from an email. This will prevent you from "phishing" -- an online criminal tactic where fraudulent email is sent in an attempt to gain your account and password information.

NetworkforGood

  • What are the benefits of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find good about it. E.g. Does it allow one-time, monthly, and annual donations? Does it allow more than one kind of fundraiser for your organization at one time? Does it allow a custom designed web page for your donation page? Is it quick and easy to sign-up?)

Originally, NfG absorbed the credit card charges and passed 100% of the donation to the charity. When their dot.com funding ran out, they started charging 3%.

  • What are the disadvantages of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find bad or annoying or not optimal about it. E.g. Does it only allow one type of donation? Does it take a long time to sign up?)

It's just another credit card donation service, no reason to use it rather than anyone else.

  • What does it cost? As of what date? (This will need to be updated if changed.)

Enter your answer here. I was just looking at this site and on brief examination, it appears to cost 3% of each transaction (to accept credit card payment). This appears to me in line with the cost of PayPal. [- Tom Upshaw]

  • Who uses it? How long? How many donations have you received from this service? Please give a link to your donation information on your web site.

Enter your congregation or organization's information here.

Amazon.com Honor System

Link: Amazon.com Honor System

  • What are the benefits of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find good about it. E.g. Does it allow one-time, monthly, and annual donations? Does it allow more than one kind of fundraiser for your organization at one time? Does it allow a custom designed web page for your donation page? Is it quick and easy to sign-up?)
    • Amazon.com is a trusted name, most UUs will have bought something from the site at one time or another. There are several point-n-click options to create what are called payboxes to place on your website as well as a paypage, which is a "landing page" that fully describes how the Amazon Honor System works and answers questions users might have. Money is a one way deposit into your checking account, which reduces the chance of online fraud.
  • What are the disadvantages of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find bad or annoying or not optimal about it. E.g. Does it only allow one type of donation? Does it take a long time to sign up?)
    • Not everyone is an Amazon.com customer. Some people really don't like Amazon, and will choose not to support them. Limited customer service. Limited to U.S. customers only. You'll need to provide a credit card to register. Not suitable for anything other than asking for donations or selling "digital content".
    • Amazon asks you to put a link on your page to an image served from their servers, in which they put a customized message. This allows them to track visits by all users to your site (see Wikipedia:web bug). If the person browsing has an Amazon "cookie" indicating that they are an Amazon customer, the message is personalized to them. Both of these practices can be alarming to users, who may expect privacy when dealing with matters of religion.
  • What does it cost? As of what date? (This will need to be updated if changed.)
    • As of 08/04/04, the rates are 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.
  • Who uses it? How long? How many donations have you received from this service? Please give a link to your donation information on your web site.

Enter your congregation or organization's information here.

CharityWeb.net

  • What are the benefits of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find good about it. E.g. Does it allow one-time, monthly, and annual donations? Does it allow more than one kind of fundraiser for your organization at one time? Does it allow a custom designed web page for your donation page? Is it quick and easy to sign-up?)

Enter your answer here.

  • What are the disadvantages of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find bad or annoying or not optimal about it. E.g. Does it only allow one type of donation? Does it take a long time to sign up?)

Enter your answer here.

  • What does it cost? As of what date? (This will need to be updated if changed.)

Enter your answer here.

  • Who uses it? How long? How many donations have you received from this service? Please give a link to your donation information on your web site.

Enter your congregation or organization's information here.

PayPal

  • What are the benefits of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find good about it. E.g. Does it allow one-time, monthly, and annual donations? Does it allow more than one kind of fundraiser for your organization at one time? Does it allow a custom designed web page for your donation page? Is it quick and easy to sign-up?)
  • What are the disadvantages of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find bad or annoying or not optimal about it. E.g. Does it only allow one type of donation? Does it take a long time to sign up?)
    • Some paypal users like Abiword have complained that they lost a bunch of money that people donated to them because someone stole it and paypal did not insure the loss (not being a "financial institution" or something like that) [1]. Most observers recommend that you withdraw money donated to you on a regular basis rather than leaving it at paypal as if it was a bank. See also paypalsucks.com. There is a class action suit for which PayPal is paying, though it claims no responsibility. You can see details about it at https://www.paypal.com/settlement/. Individual comments about this can be left on the "discussion" page (click on the tab at the top of the page).
    • As an anti-fraud measure, PayPal limits withdrawals to $500 per month when you first open an account. This limit can be removed when you verify your identity with 2 out of the 3 following items: a credit card, a bank account, and a social security number. We did not have a credit card, and they would not accept an employer identification number in lieu of an SSN. One of our employees had to submit their SSN for verification.
  • What does it cost? As of what date? (This will need to be updated if changed.)
    • As of 08/04/04, the standard charge is 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction. There are discounts based upon monthly volume : 3,001 to 10,000 is 2.5%; 10,001 to 100,000 is 2.2%, and a monthly volume over $100,000 drops the rate to 1.9%. The discounted rates all have the baseline of 30 cents per transaction.
  • Who uses it? How long? How many donations have you received from this service? Please give a link to your donation information on your web site.
    • The First UU Church of Austin uses PayPal to solicit online donations to support our web ministries. We are averaging about $50 to $100 a year through PayPal donations, and approximately $400 to $500 per year from people who choose to write a check instead. We also use the site Mollyguard.com to manage event registrations, and have processed approximately a thousand dollars through the combination of these two services.
    • as of August 2009, UU Women and Religion has been using PayPal since to process transactions for their store which offers curricula like "Cakes for the Queen of Heaven," books and CDs. Hundreds of dollars a month are processed this way, and funds are withdrawn monthly.
    • In 2009, Berrien UU Fellowship in St. Joseph Michigan used PayPal to process credit cards for their annual Auction. Worked flawlessly.
    • since 2008, Central Midwest District has used PayPal to process their Chalice Lighter donations. Very successfully utilized. Will also be processing workshop registrations starting in 2009.

thedatabank.com

  • What are the benefits of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find good about it. E.g. Does it allow one-time, monthly, and annual donations? Does it allow more than one kind of fundraiser for your organization at one time? Does it allow a custom designed web page for your donation page? Is it quick and easy to sign-up?)

Enter your answer here.

  • What are the disadvantages of this service over others? (If you don't know, describe what you find bad or annoying or not optimal about it. E.g. Does it only allow one type of donation? Does it take a long time to sign up?)

Enter your answer here.

  • What does it cost? As of what date? (This will need to be updated if changed.)

Enter your answer here.

  • Who uses it? How long? How many donations have you received from this service? Please give a link to your donation information on your web site.

Enter your congregation or organization's information here.


Fundraising Ideas

Besides asking for pledges and contributions, how do you raise funds for your congregation or UU organization or program? Please include details, how much time was spent and how much money was raised, along with the name of your congregations or organization and program, if applicable.

"Enter your successful fundraising details here"

Service Auctions

Members offer services. Other members bid on them.

How to Organize them?

Service auctions require a lot of data processing: donations described and printed in a catalog; logs printed for silent auction items; bidders entered; bids entered during the auction; summaries of purchases printed for buyers; thank you notes printed for donors; summary reports; and so on.

The MemInfodata system provides a complete facility for running an auction, making the process easier and more efficient. Bids during a live auction can be entered into one or more computers on a network, so that invoices for bidders are available at the close of bidding. Because it is linked to the database of members and friends, the information such as addresses and phone numbers does not have to be re-entered. A free demonstration version is available at www.meminfo.com.

The TogetherAuction system gives your church or fellowship it's own auction website where members can submit donations and view an online catalog and event calendar. During the auction, it becomes a multi-user networked sales entry system, with on-the-spot statements that give buyers and donors contact information for each other. It features automated email reminders for dated events (dinners), and you can also send out customized emails with links to participants' statements...etc. More information is available at http://togetherauction.com.

Having a computer based system permits bidders to bid individually on items. For example, a dinner offered for eight persons might be purchased by three couples and two individuals. It is quite easy during a live verbal auction to adjust the bid price to a point where the number of bids equals the units available in the item.

What Are Popular Services?
  • Dinners; Chinese, German, Thai, Mexican, Italian, Vegan. This requires some fancy footwork in the bidding department, so that the 8th-highest bidder doesn't pay $50 for a seat at the dinner for 8, while the highest pay $80 for the same dinner. We usually say "How many will pay $20 per person for this dinner? $30? $ 40? Bidding stops when there are fewer than 8 people willing to pay the bid.
  • Wine Tasting parties (Designate a driver).
  • 2, 4, 8 hours of baby sitting (Teens can contribute to their church.)
  • 2, 4, 8 hours of professional services, if a member is a CPA, gardener, carpenter, plumber, mechanic, electrician . . . .
  • 10 Hours of research by a competent amateur genealogist with a subscription to census images.
  • A day on a sailboat.
  • A day on a motorcycle.
  • Tennis, Golf, Horseback Riding or Poker lessons.
  • Weekend at a cabin in the mountains.
  • Helping someone write a song and record it.
  • Two hours air time on a web radio station.
  • A dedicated parking spot (close to the door) at church for a year.
  • The right to pick one sermon topic for the Minister to deliver. (Not write the sermon - pick a topic you'd like to hear, then the minister writes and delivers the sermon.)
  • A ban on your least-favorite hymn until next year. (Guaranteed to annoy someone else, so be careful. The hymn you detest is someone else's cherished favorite.)
  • Individual hours of on-site computer help. This has only become popular in the last 5 years or so.
Search UUA for auction ideas

UUA website search for "auctions" brings up several good articles: uua.org search

Split the Plate

Several congregations have policies which share collection plate money with non-profit organizations. Here is a collection of sample policies and recommendations.

Personnel Costs

A question frequently seen on UU-Money is "what percentage of the church budget is usually spent on personnel costs?" The general answer is that it varies a lot. Here is some actual data; feel free to add to or update it if you have more.

Annual Budget %age of Budget for Personnel Membership Church As Of
$330,000 80% of pledge income 220 Oak Ridge [TN} UU Nov-07
$239,000 58% 175 UUC of the New River Valley [Blacksburg VA] Nov-07
$97,000 50% 70 UUC of the Palisades [Englewood NJ] Nov-07
$621,000 62% 500 First UU Houston [TX] Nov-07
72% River Road UUC [Bethesda MD] Nov-07
$521,750 61.40% 380 Unitarian C of Harrisburg [PA] Nov-07
$776,500 64% 693 First UU Columbus [OH] Nov-07
$657,340 65% 618 First Univeralist Church of Denver [CO] Nov-07
$998,848 68% 810 First Unitarian C of Rochester [NY] Nov-07
$598,750 63% 450 Unitarian C in Summit [NJ] Dec-07