I want more people to know about Unitarian Universalism. I want more people to be excited about liberal religion. There should be more art to promote our Principles and values and more writing to help explain them. I want shared stories so that UUs from different parts of the country can talk more easily about our movement. I think I may even have a book in me, if I can make time to put ideas into words.
My name is Thomas Earthman. I am the founder and administrator of the I Am UU project. This project is my gift of time and skill in service to Unitarian Universalism. I am a member of the UU Society for Community Ministries and a dedicated UU evangelist who has been running one of the most successful UU themed social media projects for the last 8 years. I do it for $300 a month, all of which currently goes to utilities, office expenses, web hosting and professional development. There is definitely not enough money for the time I currently put into this project, which puts severe limits on how much time I can give.
Made Possible by People Like You!
The I Am UU project operates on the PBS model: We put out quality content for free because we know that there are people who need it. We hope that some of those people can afford to send support after the fact. Our main channel for bringing in that money is the monthly support of our Patrons through Patreon.
Patreon is a platform for funding on-going creative projects. It does this by allowing artists to create communities from their most dedicated supporters, those willing to fund the creative process. In return, the Patrons get to give more feedback and often get to see works in-progress, additional pieces like a commission that might not be shown publicly, or early access to a work to be released later. This has worked well for musicians like Pentatonix and Amanda Palmer, numerous YouTube creators like Crash Course and writers and bloggers like The Friendly Atheist and Nika Harper. Allowing people to support the work we are already doing, we can focus on the stuff that matters rather than the stuff that looks good on a t-shirt.
I say that we’ve been using the PBS model, but we’ve been missing a few things. For one, there hasn’t been much to “membership” other than the pride of helping out. Frankly, there isn’t enough money currently to support me doing more; I try to focus on the things that moved people to support me in the first place. I am willing to change that if you all are willing to buy my time back for me so that I can do more ministry. I want to create tools for you; to address your concerns and questions; maybe to write that book (and give it away to Patrons).
Yours Free Just for Joining!
The other place that we’ve not been much like PBS is that we haven’t had much in the way of thank-you gifts. Again, there hasn’t been much time or energy left over to give to it. I want to change that, too. I want the people who make my ministry possible to feel like members of the team. Here is my proposal:
I have long said that my goal is more people giving small, sustainable amounts. People should not be tightening their belts on my behalf and I am not trying to get rich. I would much rather see a steady budget than people jumping in and out all the time. That said, I really believe that if people will click over to Patreon and see what it is about, we can build a community that has an impact. My goal is 100 Patrons consistently giving what they can afford by the end of the year.
If you have read this far, you are probably wondering about the wristband pictured in the link. That’s where I hope to start changing things: I want 100 Patrons for August and September. People committing to $1 a month already get to be members of the closed-membership I Am UU Facebook group, and now I want to offer people who pledge $2 or more a wristband. To make that happen, I need at least 100 Patrons in two consecutive months. Every active Patron giving at least $2 and supplying me with a mailing address will then get a wristband in the following month as a thank-you gift.
I am willing to gamble on most Patrons staying, but you can cancel at any time. If you cancel as soon as the goal is met; you still get a wristband for having given for two consecutive months. Patreon makes suspending or canceling your support very simple. Those who stay get to help shape the community and help me figure out what other benefits come with membership.
>It is a small gesture, but I hope that I can build on it. I want you all to feel like part of the project. I want a community of UUs excited about our faith and willing to let people know what we stand for. That is something I would be proud to make a vocation out of. This innovative ministry matters, but it needs your support to allow me to give it the time and attention it deserves. It needs you to make a sustainable commitment. I believe in Unitarian Universalists’ stewardship and passion. I am willing to put my future in your hands. Will you support me?