Note: This training was originally offered in a semester format in 2019.
In her book, Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age, Juana Bordas speaks to the need for what she calls a New Social Covenant that honors the past as a way of understanding the present, prioritizes collective identity over individualism, and requires a spirit of generosity that will engender collective sustainability. This workshop will focus specifically on volunteer considerations and strategies that will help to create a culture of generosity in your congregation or organization and therefore, sustainability.
Creating a zero recruitment culture requires a shift in priorities. Namely, volunteers must be valued over programs. Because good volunteers are not a renewable resource, it is imperative to celebrate and care for the ones who are already engaged. Retention should always take priority over recruitment. When the time is spent throughout the year on retaining volunteers, less time is needed for recruitment.
- To celebrate the significance of volunteers by showing appreciation in creative ways, helping them understand their place in the vision, and committing to finding their “sweet spot”
- To provide first-class support such as training, an intentional new-volunteer process, consistent and meaningful communication, a standard feedback procedure, and safety considerations.
- To invite with intentionality–make “the perfect ask”–by understanding common volunteer assumptions
- To create a tiered lay-leadership system of coaches allowing for shared ministry to extend beyond staff
- To fuel meaningful connections between staff and volunteers and among volunteers
Laura Beth Brown is the Director of Family Ministry at Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Summit, NJ and previously served congregations in Manhattan and Long Island in her 17 years as a professional religious educator. She is the President of the Metro New York LREDA Chapter, and before that served for 6 years as a Good Officer. Laura Beth led 12-hr workshops on Embracing Family Ministry with her Ministerial Supervisor, the Rev. Emilie Boggis, at last year’s UUMA Center Institute for ministers, and then again on Star Island for religious educators. Just last fall, she presented at LREDA Fall Conference as well. She has also led volunteer-strategy workshops for various religious professional groups.
When she is not “in the office,” Laura Beth is “on the mat.” Laura Beth has been a yoga enthusiast for nearly two decades and has taught yoga in studios and medical settings for nearly 7 years. She is also a trained Off the Mat, Into the World facilitator. Her yoga practice and UU faith continue to inform each other.