Ends-Monitoring Survey Development Committee

Ends-Monitoring Survey Development Committee

A committee of the UUCC Board of Trustees

Purpose: To develop and, in early 2024, administer an annual congregational survey process for monitoring UUCC’s success in reaching our Congregational Ends. A subsidiary purpose is to recommend a charter for a standing committee to administer the survey process in succeeding years.

Members: Jenny Afkinich, Laurie Coltri (Board liaison and convenor), Sally Ann Cooper, Debi Lattimer, Ankur Patel, and Ken Rock.

Committee Charter: View here.

About the Committee’s Work

The committee’s purpose is to develop an annual survey process in which all of us give feedback on how well we’re doing as a congregation. Our Congregational Ends are objectives or goals which tell us whether we are fulfilling our mission and living our values, so the survey will ask about our collective success in attaining these Ends.

The results are used by the UUCC Board of Trustees, which needs this information because it’s responsible for monitoring how well our congregation is fulfilling its mission and living its values.

A brief (and mildly whimsical) explanation of how UUCC’s governance structure came to be, the important function of congregational Ends, and why the Board is initiating an Ends-Monitoring Survey.

Your Role

Once a year, complete the survey. The survey asks you directly how well UUCC is doing in addressing each congregational End, and about personal impacts on you. It also asks demographic information that helps us to judge whether the congregational experience is different within different subgroups.

Prepare for this year’s survey by participating in the Ends-Means Brainstorm activity!

Our committee is responsible for making the survey as workable, easy to use, accessible and inclusive for all as is feasible. This work will involve reaching out to communities within UUCC to get their feedback about the survey and the ways that people will be able to complete it.

Expected Timeline

We expect to begin distributing the survey at the end of February, 2024, and complete the process by the end of March. We expect to pass the results to the Board of Trustees in April. The same survey will be retaken once a year in the Spring, to examine trends in our ability to fulfill our mission and live our values.

We could use lots of help!

If you would like to be more involved, we will need volunteers throughout the survey process.

  1. In early 2024, we will appreciate volunteers to pilot test the online version of the survey and give feedback on improving it. (If you volunteer, you would re-take the final version of the survey “officially” in the spring with everyone else.)
  2. We will need volunteers to help others complete the survey, whether by offering laptop help at coffee hour, or by one-on-one interview, or other assistance to be determined.
  3. We will likely need volunteers for other discrete tasks — please let us know if you’d like to help.

How can I contact the committee?

If you would like to volunteer, or if you have questions or concerns, please email Laurie Coltri, the Board liaison, at lscoltri@verizon.net for the time being. The committee will have a group email set-up soon.


Frequently Asked Questions

Click on individual questions below to expand and view answer.

What are Ends, generally?

To understand why we have Ends, you have to understand how power and responsibility are held and delegated within our congregation.

The ultimate deciders about who UUCC is and what it does are the congregation itself. In the bylaws, the business of running the congregation is delegated to the Board of Trustees. In turn, the day-to-day operation of the congregation is delegated to the Executive Team (Senior Minister and Executive Director) which in turn delegates work to paid and volunteer staff. The Board develops policies which articulate the congregation’s objectives for how it will achieve its mission and live its values. The Board communicates these policies – called “Ends” – to the Executive Team, to tell them what to work on.

The Values, Mission, and Ends statements are all reviewed and updated periodically – ideally, at least every 7 years.[1]

Because the Board of Trustees is responsible to the congregation, it is necessary for it to monitor those that it delegates to. However, to avoid micromanaging and to vest agency, initiative, and creative control in those that do the work, the Board does not get involved in day to day decisions. Instead it “makes policy” which it instructs the Executive to follow. Ends are the policies which instruct the Executive what it should focus on to fulfill UUCC’s mission and live its values. The Board monitors how well the Executive is promoting and moving toward the Ends. (This form of governance is a variant of a form called “Policy Governance.”)


Footnote [1] For more about the current Values, Mission, and Ends, the history of how they came to be adopted, and the participation of the full congregation in this process, you can refer to the final report of the Values, Mission and Ends Committee. The Board also sets other policies, called “Administrative Limitations,” which act as guardrails on how Ends are addressed. For example, the congregation’s staff and volunteers may not commit a criminal act, exceed the budget, or endanger the congregation’s nonprofit status, even if by doing so they were promoting one of the Ends. The Mission and Values Statements were confirmed by congregational vote in June, 2023. Ends are a part of Board governance, and they were drafted in spring, 2023 at a 2-day Board retreat. After the Board received congregational feedback about the draft Ends, they were amended and then adopted by the Board at its June, 2023 Board meeting.

What are UUCC’s Ends?

The people of UUCC …

  1. Grow in spiritual depth, connect to awe and wonder, and nurture one another in the art of being human.
  2. Deepen our Unitarian Universalist identity, teach it to our children, and share it with the world.
  3. Strengthen relationships and cultivate an ever-wider, multigenerational circle of participation and leadership at UUCC.
  4. Build a diverse, multicultural Beloved Community where BIPOC*, LGBTQ+**, and other marginalized communities find respite from racism and other oppressions.
  5. Care for one another in times of joy, sorrow, transition, and need.
  6. Foster engagement and strengthen relationships within the Owen Brown Interfaith Center, Owen Brown community, and Howard County community.
  7. Engage in intersectional justice work as a faith practice led by and in relationship with people and organizations who are most affected.
    • Dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves, our institutions, and the broader community.
    • Reverse and reduce environmental injustice and damage caused by climate change.
    • Reduce the effects of poverty, including food insecurity and housing insecurity.
*BIPOC = Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color. ** LGBTQ+ = lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning + other sexualities and non-binary gender

Why don’t you use a different word, such as “Goals” or “Objectives?” “Ends” seems mysterious and confusing.

Ends serve a somewhat different purpose than Goals or Objectives, although they are closely related. The objectives expressed in Ends are essential to UUCC – in the sense that if we are not fostering these things, we are not fulfilling our mission. And they have a specific purpose: to act as a measure of how the Executive side of the congregation is fulfilling UUCC’s mission and living our collective values.

Should I participate? I’m not a voting member of UUCC.

YES! If you consider yourself part of the UUCC community, we encourage you to complete the survey.

These Ends don’t seem measurable. Isn’t that a big problem?

It’s better than the alternative. Easily measured objectives like “at least $800,000 in pledges this year” or “meet or exceed an average attendance of 150 people at worship services” don’t tell us about whether we’re attaining our mission and living our values. These easily-measurable “success measures” may (or may not) go up as we achieve our Ends, but they can go up and down for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with who we aspire to be and what difference we want to make.

Of course the Board also receives direct information about things like worship attendance and financial status – these matter, too, even if they are not Ends.

Why are you asking me to participate in an Ends-Monitoring Survey?

The best, and indeed, the only real way to monitor the congregation’s success in attaining its mission and living its collective values is to ask YOU, the congregation. The congregation is the best source of information about the experience of being at UUCC. So, literally, the Board can’t do the work of monitoring success in attaining our Ends without input from the congregation.

Ugh! I hate surveys!

We feel you! The three words “Ends Monitoring Survey” are perhaps the three most boring words in the English Language! We’re trying to make the process as pleasant, brief, and interesting as possible by offering multiple ways to participate – your choices of online at home, online with help in the fellowship hall, paper survey, and one on one interview format, at least.

How long is the survey?

We’re hearing from people who are testing it that it takes about 10 minutes to fill it out. If you want to explain answers or add more, there are lots of spaces to give open-ended responses, and these could make your survey process take longer. If you use the online form, you will be able to complete the survey in multiple sessions – work is automatically saved as you go.

Is the survey confidential?

Yes! (If you want it to be.) There is space to put your name and contact information, if you want the Board to know who you are.

Why now? Shouldn’t we wait until we have a new settled minister?

Actually, this is a really good time to conduct the survey. One reason is that the survey is best interpreted using trends over time. This is a perfect time to set a baseline. It’s especially helpful so that we can better understand our congregational identity, apart from our current minister. Another reason is that the survey results can be used to better inform the UUA and Interim Ministerial candidates about who we are and what we care about. Finally, our active, vocal, and dynamic congregation is one of our best features, and will be helpful in attracting a wide range of prospective candidates as we travel this liminal space into a new settled ministry. Indeed, now might be a perfect time to initiate an annual Ends-Monitoring Survey.

What’s in it for me?

Participating in the Ends Monitoring Survey Process can have many benefits.

  • Your voice will be heard in charting the course of how the congregation operates. The Board will be informed about your experiences and opinions, and the report that comes out of the survey process will also be viewed by the Executive Team and can influence their decisions about everyday congregational life.
  • IF you pledge, donate or volunteer at UUCC, you can help to ensure that your money is well spent on actions that take us toward our collective goals. Participating in the Ends survey makes good financial sense!
  • Learning about the Ends and thinking about how they apply at UUCC can help you to be better able to be active in the congregation. If you do volunteer or act in a leadership position, knowing about the Ends can help guide you in your actions.
  • Thinking about the Ends can help you better link what happens at UUCC with our congregational mission. When the time comes to evaluate whether to change our mission, you will be better informed.
  • And … maybe the Board will have a tiny reward for everyone who completes the survey! Just sayin’ …