Changes Coming to How UTO Distributes Printed Materials
By UTO Board
One of the many things that happens as we head toward General Convention is that the UTO Board reviews all of the governing documents and contracts that guided the work of the United Thank Offering during the previous triennium. This fall, as part of that process, we reviewed the contract, usage, and cost per order of materials coming through the distribution center and found that in our new post-pandemic reality, the cost to have on-demand distribution was no longer financially responsible. It was a challenging decision to stop working with them because we are so grateful to Paula at Shima for her help and support since we moved the distribution center to Navajoland, but we also know that we are entrusted to be good stewards of the trust funds which support the work of UTO.
The Board has decided to try a new approach to distributing materials based on the early feedback we’ve received through the member survey. We’ll continue to listen and change the process to make it work for our UTO members and leaders while also respecting that we are down to a single staff person. Most of our UTO members now use the option of downloading materials for free. Many of our leaders really like just getting a kit of materials sent yearly. Some of you shared that the cost of shipping is a deterrent to ordering materials. Taking all these factors into consideration, we’ll utilize the following steps for distributing printed materials going forward, and we will review the process and make changes as needed at the end of 2024:
1. The distribution center will fulfill orders through Nov. 30, 2023. If you are planning on holding your Ingathering during Lent, please order your materials now. During the month of December, no orders will be filled while we move resources and set up the new system.
2. In August, UTO will mail a kit filled with UTO materials and giveaways to all registered parishes. You’ll receive access to an order form in June with choices of kit sizes and content, or you can also choose to skip this year’s mailing. This kit will be sent to you free of charge.
3. We’ve set up a form where you can order envelopes and Blue Boxes. Please note that orders will be shipped on or around the 20th of the month, which means you might need to plan ahead. Orders placed after the 20th will ship the next month. These will also be sent free of charge.
4. Starting UTO in your parish? No problem! Register your new UTO ministry using this link and we’ll send you a kit of materials to get you started even if it isn’t August. Again, materials will be sent on the 20th of the month and for free.
5. UTO will not bring an overabundance of printed materials to General Convention, so please do not plan on picking up items there and shipping them back. We will help people register their parishes and order materials at convention using the new order form.
While we know change is hard, this change allows UTO to free up financial resources to create new and different materials to support your work of leading UTO. We also hope that sending you these resources for free will help congregations engage more fully in the work of gratitude. We hope to expand the resource center to send gratitude kits to families and members for free in October once we have the new process established. We’re working out the details on all of these ideas over the next year, so please be sure to fill out the member survey to shape how we handle sharing resources going forward.