Risking in Community

Have you noticed a difference in your own risk tolerance lately? If you answer yes, that’s very understandable. Many folx don’t have a high tolerance for risk now, because we, to varying degrees, have lost or feel close to losing what we thought was secure – loved ones, jobs, security, peace.

Usually reserved for conversation about investing, Risk Tolerance is a term to determine what sort activities you can engage in without feeling worried, uncomfortable, or out of balance. When the tolerance is high, we can be more daring, but when the tolerance is low, we need to invest our resources in safer options. Your Risk Tolerance is the edge of what is sustainable, and it changes depending on your life circumstances.

If you are like many people right now, your risk tolerance is at its limit. Once low risk activities, like getting groceries or hugging a friend, now cause us to pause, strategize, or even decide not to engage with what feels too risky. We might find ourselves pulling back and limiting our actions to only the essentials, drawing our circle smaller and smaller to what is manageable in such a stressful time.

But what does this mean for our ministries and ability to innovate within our faith? How do we navigate risk in community? Overwhelmingly, the stories coming out of this time show how interconnected we all are. Again and again people are responding to each other with grace, generosity, and love. Sure, there are notable pockets of people who cling to individualism and greed, but really those are the exception. Focus on the larger pattern of communal strength, and it may help your personal feeling of well being and resilience.

For those of us who were already living with systemic economic and health insecurity, pressure and injustices are being magnified by this pandemic. Where possible, it is right and good to pare back and focus on what gives us a sense of safety and even moments of joy. Those of us who hold the privilege of a strong safety net probably have a higher risk tolerance and we are needed to identify ways to heal our communities. How we respond to the emerging and persistent inequalities of our system is important. There is a role for each of us in healing the world. We can express our UU values as a project creators, backers, promoters, and recipients.

Recently there have been fewer new projects listed on Faithify. My guess is that we all have needed a space of time to attend to our health and safety, grieve, organize, and reassess how we are going to move forward as individuals and in community. Soon, new ministry projects will take shape. Here are suggestions for using a risk tolerance lens in your planning:

  • Team up: We highly recommend working as a team for fundraising campaigns. This is especially important during times of uncertainty.
  • Consider your risk tolerance, as a team: How confident are you that you are prepared to handle the unexpected? Do you have back-up help if someone on your team needs to attend to other responsibilities? How willing are you to deal with uncertainty? How strong does your team feel?
  • Assess: Remember to take care and assess your team’s readiness for a Faithify campaign. Fundraising requires a team effort to be successful. If the leader commits to more risk than the team can tolerate, it is unlikely the team will be supportive or successful.
  • Re-Assess: Ask these questions before and periodically during your campaign. Checking in with each other is good teamwork. Our risk tolerance fluctuates. Normalize that team member capacities may shift, that it is OK to need help.
  • Equity in all things: When assigning tasks, make sure the work is equitably divided and that people who have been marginalized are not overburdened. The pandemic highlights inequities that have always existed in our system. This is the moment to interrupt patterns that are out of alignment with justice.


Keep the faith, People. We are strongest when we stay connected! As always, your Faithify team is ready to help.


Want to get more strategies for fundraising success? Faithify University is a free resource packed with concrete info for crowdfunding.

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