Note: This section was created on 2015 December 29. It began with the data collected from Visitor Sheets dating from 2015 back to December of 2013. New sheets will be added for both future and past dates. [updated: 2018.08.25]
The Membership Team (MT) has two primary responsibilities: to collect information on all people related to Mountain Light UUC and to record attendance data. This section is for utilizing the information that we collect. Herein, you will find a number of reports, accessible from the right-hand menu.
Being UUs, it would be unfathomable to think that we all agree on the specifics of any particular topic. That is certainly true in regard to what terms we use to designate individuals that we encounter in the course of our ministry.
Guests or Visitors become Friends. Friends become Members, and then some Members become inactive. Some people call these Inactive Members "Friends". For that matter, just when does a person become a Friend, instead of just a Visitor? (See Core Attendance below.)
When working with data, one needs to be as precise as possible in order to best manipulate it over time. So, before we begin offering reports, it becomes necessary to define our parameters. Therefore, for the purposes of organizing the data in a multi-use capacity, this collection will use the following status definitions:
- (S) Speaker – guest invited to give presentation
- (V) Visitor – 1st-time or 2nd-time guest
- (F) Friend – 3rd-time or more guest
- (A) Active – voting member or soon to be (see Bylaws)
- (I) Inactive – non-voting member
- (D) Deceased – member has passed away
- (Y) Youth – attendee under eighteen years of age
Guests: This group consists of all attendees who have never joined Mountain Light UUC.
Speakers are invited guests who visit for the sole purpose of giving a presentation/sermon. A previous Speaker attending a service as a guest is either a Visitor or Friend. Members giving presentations are never designated as Speakers, though will be attributed as (speaker) on the attendance sheet.
Visitors are guests who attend for the 1st or 2nd time. The reasoning is that only attending once or twice is not a commitment to friendship and skews data. Excluding them from Core data makes long-term trends easier to predict and past reports more useful.
Friends are guests that come back repeatedly. Three visits is the arbitrary marker this collection uses to code such individuals. Some are seasonal residents and are often members of UU congregations in other cities. Some visit only once a twice a year, but come year after year. Some are local and attend more than some Active Members but choose not to join for personal reasons.
Members: This group consists of any and all attendees who have signed the Membership Book, excluding those who signed by mistake. (Apparently, some people thought it was a guest book.)
Active Members are essentially Voting Members, meeting the requirements designated in the MLUUC Bylaws. However, for classification purposes, a Friend who signs the Membership Book or an Inactive Member who wishes to reactivate is immediately switched to Active (A) status, though voting rights may be withheld for thirty days.
Inactive Members are non-voting Members. They fall off of active status when they do not attend in a six-month period (with some exceptions). Actively attending Members may request to be removed from the Active Roster for personal reasons, in which case, they immediately are listed as Inactive (even if they attend more frequently than some infrequently attending Active Members).
Note: It is preferable to refer to Inactive Members as "Members" when they visit (rather than Friend), since it acknowledges their history with Mountain Light UUC. This courtesy has led to reactivation of Active status on several occasions.
Deceased Members are Members who are known to have passed away. Of course, Inactive Members may have passed away unbeknowst to us and are redesignated upon discovery of details.
Youth: This group consists of all attendees who are under eighteen years of age. It is possible to subdivide this grouping into something similar to Visitors, Friends, Active members, and Inactive members. However, the numbers have been too low to make the effort worthwhile.
The concept of Core Attendance was created to better monitor expectations and trends. This group is made up of Active Members, Inactive Members, and Friends. These are individuals who are or have in the past regularly attended and, therefore, can be expected to behave in certain ways, such as in attending future services and donating their time and treasures.
Visitors, Speakers, and Youths are generally less predictable and can wildly inflate counts. Furthermore, they are less likely to give of their time and money and are, in fact, often representative of expenses rather than income, albeit welcome and appreciated.