With modern technology becoming more accessible in recent years, and our communities facing unique circumstances due to COVID-19, many parishes have made the shift to provide online services to their parishioners. They’ve included online giving, mass messaging, and live- streaming. Now, in a time when our opportunities to gather as a community are limited, these options are more important than ever.
Volunteers can play an essential role in personalizing online services, but they need to know what to do. Every parish is unique, but here are a few ideas:
1. Enlist volunteers to be Digital Greeters
Just because Mass is being held online doesn’t mean you should sacrifice the opportunity to make personal connections. Set your online church apart from the rest by having dedicated volunteers to meet people as they sign on for a service and have a real-time conversation with them. This is a great tradition to have during every online service but will likely be even more impactful for those signing on during a time of limited socializing amid the Coronavirus.
2. Schedule volunteers to connect with elderly members
Volunteers can call your elderly members daily on the phone to chat and see if there’s anything they need help with. Older members may have very limited or no experience with technology that you’re implementing to get your services online. They may also not have anyone around to help them navigate the tech world that they’ve been unwittingly dropped into. Having a team of volunteers that can take time to connect with these members and offer assistance will go a long way in serving your parish.
3. Let volunteers be your mass communicators
Have volunteers post updates and messages on social media and your website as well as respond to comments. Being active in online messaging is crucial to bringing your community together and identifying yourself as a resource to your members. It can be a lot to keep up with, so have a team of volunteers to make sure information is up-to-date and being regularly maintained.
It is also helpful for your members to know where they can reach out and get the answers they are looking for. Have a dedicated individual (or a few) responding to messages and comments in any online presences your church maintains.
4. Put together a streaming team
Ask tech-savvy volunteers to assist with live streaming or recording homilies to add to your parish app. It never hurts to have a few extra sets of hands! There’s a lot to keep an eye on when live-streaming, so make sure you have a good support crew to help.
Audio and video are essential elements to monitor so you don’t have to worry about parishioners not being able to see or hear you during Mass. You may even want to have Mass recorded to be streamed later by those unable to attend. This can require some minimal post-production editing and/or adding it to your hosting platform like your website or parish app.
Having some tech-savvy volunteers to help with these steps will make the process much more seamless and allow you to focus on delivering the best services to your members on a regular basis.
Many people are looking for ways to serve their communities. Inspiring volunteers to help bring your service online is a great opportunity for everyone to get involved.
When recruiting new volunteers, continue following the proper due diligence for background checks. You’ll want to ensure online Sunday School and other activities for children are run by people that pass the appropriate screenings. Volunteers that help manage giving or financials should also be screened to prevent theft.
ParishSOFT Giving and our church management system, Family Suite has a range of features that make it easy for volunteers to sign up and help. To learn more call us at 866-930-4774 x6.