Community, Trust, and Investment

The I Am UU page has been running for 5 years. In that time, it has gone from being a small community of UU Evangelists to a huge community (in UU terms) of people who want to better understand what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist and how to communicate that better to the world. In October of 2013, that community was less than 1000 people. In just 2 years, that quadrupled, and all thanks to you all interacting with and sharing our work. We’ve paid for a little promotion here and there, but even that has been funded by the contributions of members of the community.

That growth inspired me to try harder. I worked to learn the basics of graphic design in order to create the kind of images that really spread on Social Media. I started doing deeper research and reading more sermons and experimenting with how to construct a post, and when to publish it. When people responded well to that, I realized that there was a need that I was filling, and that if I was the only one doing it, I needed to give it my best. All the time, it was the support and the engagement of this community that has driven me to build the resource I share with you. You all have made this possible.

That’s a lot of trust. It is meaningful to me that dozens of congregations each week share some of my work with their local community. It means more than I can say to see people share a post I’ve written with something as simple and passionate as “This!” as their only comment. I am imperfect, and I am growing through this, and you all have been (mostly) kind and supportive of that growth. I cannot express how proud I am to know that there are a few people who have explored Unitarian Universalism because they saw one of my posts shared somewhere and it touched them. I want to be worthy of that kind of influence, and I feel like I have to prove it anew every week.

I feel terrible about having to come to you all like this. I never wanted this to be about me. I made every effort to bring in other voices and to downplay how much I put into the project. Professionals have told me that they assumed I had a budget; assumed I had a staff. I was so proud of that. It isn’t true, though. I even use free graphics software for all the images. I think it is my love of liberal religion, and my desire to help people find our covenanted communities that allows me to do what I am told is the work of 5 people. I had been lucky, in a strange way, to be able to give myself away for so long. My situation has changed such that I no longer can. I still need to eat and pay rent.

This community has become my work, my inspiration, and my passion. Now, I need to ask you all to help me find stability. I feel a responsibility to you all to keep this resource active and fresh. I need you all to know that I cannot do it without achieving some financial stability before summer. I need to know if the community that has gathered around this work of mine values it enough to help me keep it up.

I need people talking about how much this work means to them. I need the link to the GoFundMe campaign to be the most shared link on Facebook and Twitter. If you think the I Am UU project matters, I need you to tell people about it. And I need you to give what you can. A project with 1000 donors is going to get talked about, even if they average $3 each. A crowd funding campaign with money coming in automatically looks better, no matter how little money it is. I don’t want anyone else to damage their own budget to support me, but consider whether your time as a member of this community has been worth as much as a cup of coffee. Has it been as valuable to you as a pair of shoes? What can you spare to keep it alive, or even to help me be better at it?Please head over to my personal blog for more information or with any questions. I really don’t want to make the I Am UU site (or page) all about crowd funding. I just need help to take it from “time-consuming hobby” to “semi-professional calling”, or it might have to become “hobby that I work on when I have extra time”.

For more information or to contact me, please see my personal blog.

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