Or even earlier, a reorganization on the level of the creation of the General Assembly after the Civil War.
I would call the new system "Congregationalism in the Cloud".
UU churches and congregations should put their back office functions into the cloud on systems managed and maintained by a centralized IT staff. Churches and congregations would put their member databases into the system. To some extent, they do this already as UU World subscriptions. Those combined lists would be the start of a Contact Relationship Management system.
I am imagining a single contact database with information about everybody who has a relationship with Unitarian Universalism, noting which ones belong to which congregation, including the records of their contributions there. But also: UU-identified young adults no longer on their home congregation's membership books, UU's who moved to another town and didn't find a new UU home, people who signed up for more information on our web page, or who decided to like the Standing on the Side of Love Facebook page, or who visited a congregation and filled out a visitor card, or who attend a UU camp, or who shop at the UUA bookstore.
It would be a complicated and sophisticated system, with lots of inputs and outputs. It would be expensive. It would require professional development and professional marketers to grow the database. They would have to be skilled at introducing ourselves in many forms of media, and able to move people along the "ladder of engagement."
It would irrevocably change the relationship between the local congregation and 24 Farnsworth Street.
I also predict that the UUA could raise a lot of money for programming from that list. And I predict that it would help immeasurably in planting churches and creating other kinds of communities.
I said in the prior post that the organization of data lays out the boundaries of an organization. The organization of our data about Unitarian Universalists is that it is kept in local silos, in different software systems that can't talk to each other, with minimal information. Those systems are maintained by a range of people from skilled staffers at some churches to whoever is elected clerk or secretary in others. That's where we are now. The organization of our data assumes a country where people don't move often, where families join a church and stay for generations, where people conduct their religious life in person by showing up at the church building on Sunday morning and where data is shared across the country by sending carbon copies through the mail. OK, maybe I exaggerate, but you get the picture.
So, somebody draw up a design and sketch out the project plan, and get back to me as soon as possible.
Let's play with this idea.