Dear Person Wanting Me to Volunteer at Church:
I love you. I love your organization’s values. I really do. But it’s been too hard for us to get together. I tried signing up with your predecessor, but she moved and you probably can’t figure out her notes. You sent a mass email 3 months ago but used an old email list so I wasn’t included. You sent an Evite a few weeks ago but, everyone knows 10-15% of those go unreceived and I was one of those people. It may have been due to a typo, but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you haven’t reached me, and I’ve mostly lost interest.
As a volunteer leader, you would love to know if your communication is broken. The trouble is, volunteers will never come out and say these things. Volunteering is not paid work. With the best of intentions, volunteers are all lacking the resources and often the sense of urgency provided by a paying employer. Event chairs move on, with little or no transition to the incoming team of volunteers. Email lists are usually outdated and have typos. Groups use whatever free tools they can for event invitations, document storage, online payments, photo sharing, resulting in fragmented communications scattered across the internet with a different login needed for each site.
Put all this in the context of 255 million Americans that identify with some type faith community. And the millions of dollars they donate to fund the causes near and dear to their hearts. Our churches are uniquely underresourced; most are focused on helping those in need and give away most of their donations. They try to function while perpetually underfunded using an assortment of free web tools like Evite and google calendars. It is an absolute shame that the time and effort spent by well-meaning and talented individuals are forgotten the next year when a new volunteer team comes in and uses a different set of free tools.
The solution: WeGather.
Any volunteer can start using this free tool for their faith community, available at www.WeGather.com.
WeGather uniquely addresses the problem of fragmented online communications FOR FREE in a calm, faith-appropriate environment. We offer the most free online tools on one site of any software in this space. You get total control over a private site that can accommodate all the groups and committees of your parish. You decide who joins your site – send private invitations or leave it open for members to find you. Members update their own profiles and email preferences, so no one is ever left out.
Let’s say your church’s big event is coming up. Can’t remember how much it cost to rent that room last year? Good thing last year’s chair saved the event notes on the WeGather site. And posted a bunch of photos too, visible only to the appropriate members of each faith group. Put the invitation to this year’s event on the site and blast out a save-the-date email without missing anyone. Create a signup sheet to recruit volunteers. Link to Facebook & Twitter.
For a small fee, sell event tickets to your members right there on the same site where they’ll sign up to volunteer and send the event chair a direct message through the system. They can start a discussion thread asking if anyone would be interested in staying afterward to socialize. The list goes on.
Next time you need to spend an hour doing administrative tasks for your ministry, hit WeGather.com instead. Any volunteer can get it started, and the pattern has been that it starts with one active and robust group and quickly spreads to the other groups within that faith community. Of course any pastor or church staff member can start it up for their volunteers just as well, and start making their lives easier today.