Looking to the Future

Hello, everyone, and thank you for caring enough about the I Am UU project to come and read this. The team and I have put a lot of sweat, tears, and a small but noteworthy amount of blood into this project over the last 4 years, and especially the last 9 months. I’ve been a stay-at-home dad who felt a calling that I finally found a way to acknowledge. It has been my gift to the world,and I have been blessed to be able to give it to such a receptive and grateful community.

I have been encouraged to keep building this project, and to offer more and more to the community that has come to count on us for inspiration, links, graphics, and information. I have made this my work, and it has been emotionally and spiritually rewarding. I’ve come to the point, though, where I am giving all I can give, and maybe even a little too much. I no longer make time for contract work or odd jobs, which had supplemented my wife’s teaching income, and she has been supporting what has become my ministry. I can’t ask her to keep doing it, as we come to the summer and the end of classes.

The Cafe Press shop is intended to help get more flaming chalice images out into the world, rather than to make money, and so the mark-up is very low. Raising prices would be counter to that purpose, and the sales would still not fund the project. I have gotten a couple of tips through Square Cash, and I am very grateful for them, but I need ongoing support just to keep up with my current productivity. We had the t-shirt fundraiser, and that did raise the funds to make some upgrades and buy some equipment. I assure you that everything that I have made from any of these has gone into making this project better for the people who have supported it.

If you are still reading, then let me promise you that I have a plan to give more and better content in the future to help you and your congregation reach out to the community around you. I hope to start posting new graphics more often, daily inspirational posts to Facebook, and weekly posts to the blog. For those who support us, we will have videos with news and tips every month and a news letter with more links and ideas for your congregation’s social media efforts. I hope to make this project a more valuable resource for Unitarian Universalists looking to share our faith with love and to actively affirm and promote our Principles in the world.

To do this, I hope to use the Patreon service for crowdfunding the ongoing support of artists, performers, and writers. Since we publish several things a week, we will be using the “monthly” option. We will have thank-you gifts (Patron packages) and changes to the project (promised improvements) when certain funding levels are reached.

What I am hoping for is a monthly pledge of a few dollars to offset our costs and eventually to help make my job a real one and allow us to compensate all our writers, editors, and designers for their work. In return, you will see an increased commitment to helping you and your congregation affirm and promote our shared Principles, and discussions about how we breath new life into our religious movement. Unitarian Universalism has a lot to give to the world, and we want to lead the way in making the message more relatable, more inviting, and more engaging. We think we can do it with your help.

I invite your comments about what types of perks or rewards would be valuable to you. I hope to help congregations improve their social media engagement and their real-world outreach, as well as helping passionate UUs share our liberal faith. When we meet goals, I want to have a mix of personal rewards, like the upcoming musical video, and improvements to the project, like regularly posting new images. Other ideas include video chat hangouts and the ability for me to start doing consulting work or speaking engagements. I also hope to be able to start giving our bloggers a little compensation for their work, which will mean more posts from a wider selection of voices.

If you and your community benefit from the work we are doing, please help me to continue it. I love this project, and I want to be able to keep my focus on it. I want to be able to do more, in fact, and to better serve this amazing community that has formed around a simple Facebook page. I need to know if you all want that, too.

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2 Responses to Looking to the Future

  1. Barry April 10, 2014 at 6:39 am #

    Good on you, Thomas, for helping to take the bushel basket off our flaming chalice. As a blog writer myself GatheredbytheFire.org and curator of my own UU website flamingchalice.org I know the level of commitment needed to see our dreams become reality. Hidden costs are a factor. Thank your for your work.

    • Thomas April 10, 2014 at 7:38 am #

      Thank you, Barry. With the technology available today, we need positive representations of Unitarian Universalism coming from as many people on as many different websites as possible, if only to convince Google to put us first. It takes work, and we will need to address how UUs fund that work. Faithify is an exciting new venture coming out this summer, but I can’t wait, and I’m not sure I want to be the test for how they handle on-going projects.

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