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What is Stewardship Advocates?
We are an Orthodox Christian consulting service established in 1999 to assist churches and organizations of the Orthodox tradition to fulfill their missions. Our service is grounded in the ecclesiology of the Orthodox faith and applied by means of 21st century professional nonprofit organization development theory and methodology.
What is Nonprofit Organizational Development?
Thirty years ago nonprofit organizational development was 90% art and 10% science. Since that time it has receive the focused attention of academia. It’s possible to receive a Ph.D. from the Indiana University in Philanthropy. Most universities and colleges now offer Masters’ degrees in Nonprofit Management. Where once there were a half-dozen books on the subject, which were mostly the anecdotal observations of people doing the work, there now exists hundreds and hundreds of books on the subject and scores of periodicals.
Nonprofits – faith-based communities, schools, hospitals, cultural institutions and humanitarian agencies measure their success not by how profitable they are, as businesses would, but rather by how well they fulfill their mission of worshiping God and serving others. Institutional development of nonprofits, therefore, consists of those methodologies and strategies that bring growth, efficiency and effectiveness to the organization’s mission. Aspects of nonprofit development include strategic planning, leadership development, volunteer management, board development, all areas of fundraising, conflict resolution, marketing, communications, etc.
Aren’t these same services offered by many other consulting firms? Why Stewardship Advocates?
The people of Stewardship Advocates know and love the holy Orthodox faith as communion with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are wise in the ways of the Church. Through many years of service in all jurisdictions their network extends to dozens of bishops, hundreds of priests and myriads of laity. They have been immersed into every conceivable manifestation of Orthodox parish and organizational life – from nascent parishes of 30 people to parishes of 40,000 and from incipient local charitable projects to vast international enterprises with the number of supporting donors reaching 30,000 households.
How will this service benefit me and my organization?
- Modestly increased parish stewardship giving in the first year will pay for the cost of a service that will benefit the parish for years to come
- One major gift, not otherwise received, pays for the entire cost of capital campaign consulting
- The Library service freely places into the hands of dedicated laity tools and skills helping them to discharge their responsibilities for stewardship, volunteering, planning, leadership and management of various aspects of parish or organizational life
- Expert counsel reduces missteps in accomplishing a project or program
- The consultant assists in preserving parish or organizational harmony in sometimes stressful activities such as a capital campaign
- Specialized training is offered in major gifts and endowments – potentially transformative factors in renewing a parish or developing a new program of service because these are the largest gifts that a parish will receive
- Proven methodologies of leadership, management and development increase both efficiency and effectiveness of the priest or executive director
- An experienced consultant brings invaluable objectivity to bear upon a challenge
- Professional expertise and proven methodologies are convincing and effective alternatives to forceful personal opinions arising in parish deliberations
- A consultant provides an accountability mechanism – amazing how many tasks are accomplished just before a meeting to review them!
- Vast experience accumulated from working in scores of parishes and organizations is placed at the disposal of the parish
- A consultant knows what a client does not know that he or she does not know
- Serves as a co-strategist for problem solving
- Teaches skills applicable to other areas of parish or organization development
- Has a deep and sensitive understanding of the leader’s task and the unique concerns of pastors
- The presence of a consultant enhances team credibility and emphasizes the seriousness of the project at hand
- The consultant can say what needs to be said
- Is available to review documentation and provide suggested feedback
- Accessible via text, cell, Skype and email
- Listens carefully and attentively all the while asking relevant questions to assist clients in often discovering their own solutions
What need do you serve?
In a recent study researching the regrets of senior pastors, the number one cited item was the lack of practical instruction and training at seminary in leading, managing and developing a parish. The services of Stewardship Advocates bridges the gap between the essential theological studies at seminary and the requisite skills needed to lead manage and develop a parish by providing resources from the professional nonprofit community.
Who is the principal of Stewardship Advocates?
With the blessings of his Metropolitan Archbishop Fr. Anthony L. Scott founded Stewardship Advocates in 1999. He is a convert from the evangelical wing of Protestantism, becoming Orthodox in 1971 during his senior year at the University of California at Berkeley.
He holds a Master of Divinity degree from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary and as a priest served four parishes over 38 years. He also has completed 30 courses of study in nonprofit institutional development. For 27 years he has worked full time in this field exclusively within the Orthodox environment.
He was the Vice Chancellor for Advancement at St. Vladimir’s Seminary for 12 years. He is the editor and a contributing author to Good and Faithful Servant: Stewardship in the Orthodox Church, published by SVSPress. Since the founding of Stewardship Advocates he has consulted for well over 100 Orthodox parishes and organizations in all jurisdictions locally, regionally and nationally. He thoroughly understands the challenges and unique features of Orthodox parish and organizational life.
In 2012, Fr. Anthony (now simply Anthony), at his own request, was returned to the ranks of the laity so that he could receive the sacrament of holy matrimony. He continues to serve the Church as the principal of Stewardship Advocates.
What services do you offer?
- An extensive library of materials freely available for clergy and dedicated volunteers on all aspects of parish and organizational development, as well as the self-development of leaders, managers and advocates of Orthodox organizations.
- A free occasional newsletter offering skills, tools and information on Orthodox parish and organization development.
- Project consulting for large undertakings such as campaign planning studies, capital campaign consulting, strategic planning, endowments, volunteer management or a major gift program.
How does consulting work?
After a free initial interview in which a clear and mutual understanding of the needs of the client is understood and the service to be provided is explained, Stewardship Advocates submits a written proposal for services, which may or may not involve an onsite public presentation to the parish council or general assembly.
Following agreement on the terms of service, Stewardship Advocates provides the client with a written schedule and course of action to address the challenge. Depending upon the service, information may then be gathered through interviews of key people, an Internet survey and documents review. A training program may be initiated. Goals and objectives are set against benchmarks of progress. The consultant remains available throughout the process or the project via onsite visits, phone, Skype, text and email.
How much does it cost?
The Library is free. The cost for consulting depends upon the scope of the project. There’s a world of difference between assistance in a stewardship campaign and providing consulting services for a 10-month $5 million capital campaign. Stewardship Advocates is pleased to provide a written proposal regarding consulting services.
Are any of your services free?
In addition to the Library, Stewardship Advocates issues a free occasional e-newsletter with relevant information on parish or organizational development and maintains an active presence in social media where more information is available. Occasionally, national webinars are offered at no cost.
Who will be our consultant?
Procedural and operational aspects of the services are rendered by an executive assistant. Mechanical aspects are handled by Stewardship Advocates technical support. At present, all consulting and coaching is provided by Anthony Scott.
Do you help small parishes?
Web-based consulting is perfectly suited to the small parish, for though the fullness of the Holy Spirit is found there, the material resources may not be! Stewardship Advocates offers a full range of web-based services to small parishes at lower cost than onsite consulting.
Email: email@example.com Cell: 347.831.1848