It’s That Time of Year Again!

Snow is falling…a new year has begun. This means that the UCC annual data collection process is underway!

From January through April of each year, local churches, ministers, associations, conferences, and UCC-related groups and organizations participate in the updating and reporting of information for the production of the UCC Yearbook & Directory. While reporting annual contact, budget, membership, and worship attendance information is not the most exciting prospect, we in CARD take this task very seriously. This data not only provides us with trends and various benchmarks on church and ministerial life; it also becomes a part of the historical record of the denomination that will long outlive our collective memories.

2014 UCC Yearbook & Directory

This year, in order to inject a dose of playfulness into this process, CARD is offering incentives to conferences that are able to increase their Yearbook reporting rates for local churches. Earlier in the year, I asked Conference Ministers for feedback with regard to such incentives; and as a result, the following plan was developed:

  1. Conferences that have a 10-14% increase in congregational reporting:
    • $300 UCC Resources Gift Certificate
  2. Conferences that have a 15-19% increase in congregational reporting:
    • $400 UCC Resources Gift Certificate
  3. Conferences that have a 20% or greater increase in congregational reporting:
    • $500 UCC Resources Gift Certificate
    • A personalized Conference Statistical Mini-Profile
  4. Conferences that have a 3-year average of 80% or higher in congregational reporting and maintain that for 2014 reporting (6 conferences are eligible for this incentive):
    • A personalized Conference Statistical Mini-Profile
    • Pizza party at Conference Annual Meeting

While we recognize that some of these are not grandiose and may be eclipsed by available staff resources and time, we nevertheless wanted to begin making an effort at offering incentives in order to:

  • Increase awareness around the importance of Yearbook reporting for mapping UCC trends over time;
  • Honor conferences that have maintained consistently high reporting percentages over time and that continue to do so in the future;
  • Honor conferences that make a concerted effort to increase Yearbook reporting for 2015 and beyond.

One exciting aspect of this has been seeing ways that other conferences are encouraging their churches to report data. In Massachusetts, for example, the conference is offering its own set of incentives for their local churches — those who report annual data online will be entered in a drawing to win free registration to a spring continuing education gathering. In various other conferences, churches are being made aware of the incentives offered by our office in order to increase buy-in for annual reporting.

Is your congregation participating in the 2014 Yearbook data collection process?

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