Ends-Monitoring Survey

Ends-Monitoring Survey

March 28, 2024 Survey Update

Dear UUCC beloveds:

We, the members of the Ends-Monitoring Survey Development Committee, gratefully report that the Ends-Monitoring Survey for 2024 has closed, with 100 surveys completed and submitted.  At a time when UUCC had another pending survey and a pledge drive, this result is a blessing!  Congratulations!

Thank you to all who gave their time, talents, and effort, including the Committee (Jenny Afkinich, Laurie Coltri, Sally Ann Cooper, Debi Lattimer, Ankur Patel, and Ken Rock), as well as the many, many folks who helped us to pretest the survey.  And especially, to all who filled out the survey.  Your honesty and thoughtfulness are deeply appreciated.

About your privacy and anonymity: As the survey enters the analysis phase, here are the steps being taken to ensure and strengthen confidentiality (click this paragraph to view or hide the steps):
  • The survey administrator, Laurie Coltri, is the only person who has permission and access to view the raw survey entries.
  • Data has been de-identified, as described below, and this de-identified data is also password-protected.
  • Birth year and year entered UUCC, both important demographics, have been changed, for analysis, from individual years to spans of years, to make folks less identifiable.  For example, a respondent born in 2000 is categorized as “1994-2003.”
  • Members of the Ends-Monitoring Survey Development Committee have been tasked with summarizing comments, on a per-End basis.  The survey administrator creates a PDF for each View to give to the Committee member in charge of summarizing it.  If the Committee member needs demographic data to make their summaries more meaningful, it will be provided one field at a time, to eliminate the possibility of inferring an identity from a combination of demographics.  In a few cases, the respondents’ names were revealed in the comments; these names have been redacted.  Laudatory references to others’ names (eg Ed Gaddy and his driving service; Becky Reese and Karuna) have been left in.
  • Where a respondent’s name was given in the optional field at the end of the survey, these were redacted in the data being used for analysis and replaced with “Gave name.”  If someone’s comment seems important to put in the report and a name was given, the person will be contacted by the survey administrator for permission to use it, and how they want it used.  If no name was given, every effort will be made, including the changing of details, to ensure that they cannot be identified from the comment.  If this is not possible, the comment will not be used.
  • Ankur Patel, a UUCC congregant and Committee member who is handling the statistical data analysis, has been given the results without the comments or the names.  His task is to report aggregate attitudinal data and to consider how the aggregate demographics affect the results – for example, “do younger folks report better (or worse) success in reaching a specific End than older folks?”

We will keep you posted with our progress and hope to have a report completed some time in May.  At that time, the Committee will begin working on recommendations for the operation of a standing committee to administer the survey in future years.

Thank you for your presence and commitment to our community in this exciting, uncertain, and richly challenging time of transition in the life of our congregation.

Basic Information

The First Annual Ends-Monitoring Survey has arrived! Every person in the UUCC community, old-timers and newcomers alike, are urged to complete the survey at annex.uucolumbia.net/ems-2024. Due date: March 24, 2024.

Help in filling out the survey will be available Sundays in March, in coffee hour — look for the folks with laptops, wearing white “The Ends is Near” buttons. If you need support, the laptop helpers can get you started, then email a link to you to get back to the survey to complete what you started.

If you can use the online version of the survey, it lightens the load for us. But if you can’t, never fear; we will have hard copies of the survey (large-print and regular) available at the Board Corner during coffee hour. If none of these methods work for you, email us at ends_monitoring@uucolumbia.net so we can arrange for you to take the survey by one-on-one interview.

Please also email us with any questions. For technological problems with the survey, please contact UUCC member Laurie Coltri at lscoltri@verizon.net.

Thank you for adding your voice to this important effort! As we enter this interim period of our congregation’s maturation, it is especially important to understand how we’re doing — it will inform many of our next steps.

Why a Congregation-Wide Survey? Video

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.

Related Information:

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

You don’t need to hear from me – I’m just a “lurker” and don’t get involved.

The survey results are only as useful as the extent to which they reflect the ENTIRE UUCC community. If only those highly motivated, highly active, or highly opinionated send in surveys, the results will be quite biased. (In this sense, this is comparable to what happens in state primary elections, in which the most polarized views are the only ones heard. UUCC’s health is too important to let that happen.) EVERY voice is critically important to the results, even the voices of those whose involvement is very limited. If you don’t have anything you feel you can add, the survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete.

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’ …

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