Who in your congregation has lost a job, is food insecure, has suffered a family loss? Before, when we could see one another in person, passing on this information was much easier. But today, knowing how to stay informed about the community needs of your parishioners requires a little more investigation.
Using your digital platforms, you can unlock the needs of those in your parish and find new ways to meet those needs. All while building community.
Create an Outreach Tool to Identify Your Community Needs
Similar to your collection card, you can create a simple survey to find out the needs of your church. Taking this thought in mind, you could make a weekly or bi-weekly outreach effort that asks specifically for your congregation to respond with their needs, both physical and spiritual.
Once you have the survey, share it in your regular communications, such as email, a newsletter or bulletin, on your website and on your social media channels.
Gather Response Teams to Support the Community Needs
Using a project management tool like Airtable or Trello, you can keep track of the needs of your community in a way that your team of faith leaders and volunteers can all interact with together, while maintaining your distance.
For instance you could have a volunteer group who helps meet the food security needs for members of your congregation who have self-identified. Another group could do regular wellness checks on the most isolated individuals in your congregation. Another group could monitor prayer requests and follow up.
While tracking in an online tool might feel tedious or disconnected, it can give you real insight into who you are reaching regularly, and who might be missing.
Share Your Efforts and Show the Community at Work
The third step in the process is sharing out what you are doing. Ask your volunteers and team members to take photos of their efforts while maintaining the anonymity of anyone who may receive assistance. Such as volunteers about to embark on food deliveries or dropping off other donations and gifts.
Sharing these efforts keeps the communication loop ongoing and offers up a chance to either:
- Recruit more volunteers, or
- Identify the members of your community who need help or resources.
With your active of community response visible, you remind us all that we are part of something greater than ourselves. You form the bridge between the socially distanced with real and tangible actions.