Churches are one of the first places people look to for help in times of hardship. Whether you’ve been impacted financially by the outbreak or fall into one of the high-risk groups and are limited in your ability or desire to take care of basic needs, you count on your parish for support. So how is your church managing the rise in these requests and calls for assistance?
One way is by reevaluating your volunteer program. Many of our parishes already have a volunteer program to meet the needs of everyday issues, but how many can handle all the issues of a pandemic? One way is by collaborating with other local organizations that are addressing specific needs or even enlisting Catholic Charities to help.
But what can your parish do internally? Start by looking at your current volunteer program. Is it addressing the calls and needs of your community today? If not, start or add descriptions of volunteer opportunities that are being requested. Also, remind your parishioners to update their passions and skills in your church’s software.
That’s a good start, but then what?
- Make sure the volunteering opportunities are posted and make it easy for people to sign up.
- Recruit volunteers. Post messages on your group boards, Facebook pages, parish website, or email your parishioners.
- Identify what needs are not being addressed (special skills or training) and make those needs known.
If your church is using Realm, it’s easy to implement all of these actions. It gives you the tools you need to create volunteer roles with descriptions and allows parishioners to self-identify what they can and are willing to do. Realm gives you the ability to create events that allow your parishioners to sign up for specific needs and tracks the areas where there are holes or roles that need to be filled.
With Realm, my church has been able to identify all the teachers, retired teachers, and homeschooling parents so they can assist families with tutoring, lesson plans, etc. as schooling goes virtual. We also have asked our younger parishioners to act as tech support for older parishioners via the Realm Connect app.
This is a strange time, and we need to look to one another for support and help. We’d love to hear how you’re handling volunteer needs in your parish. Comment below to share what your parish is doing.