06-13-24 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders

06-13-24 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders

06-13-24 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders 1200 1200 SVDP USA

I’m told rather often how some of our Servant Leader columns become agenda items for discussion at Conference meetings. Outside of our ongoing VisionSVdP process, this may be the most important column you could ever use to stimulate not just conversation, but crucial activity to benefit your Conference’s future.

At our Midyear Business Meeting, I previewed an idea under development for a national membership marketing campaign. The response to the theme and potential products has been overwhelming! This column will give a little more detail in advance of the official launch on July 1.

Why now? First and foremost, it is always a great time to invite more friends, family, and fellow parishioners to join us as we strive to increase our Holiness. That’s our primary mission, and we should constantly share it. We also know that the pandemic and declining Church membership has taken a toll on our Society membership — down about 15 percent, according to annual reporting. We need to replenish and grow our ranks to continue to faithfully serve our neighbors in need today and tomorrow.

Here is what we are planning to conduct a national (opt in per Council and Conference) recruiting campaign this September and October:

  • More than an Invitation to Serve. A new booklet called “A Culture of Welcome” enhances the present Invitation to Serve document, including ideas on how to prepare before and after an invitation for new arrivals to the Society. It also includes two dynamic pulpit talks, an Information Night PowerPoint, and a two-sided informational flyer template you can customize. You need not re-invent what already works!
  • National social media. We will focus on social media advertising during the months of September and October, when so many parishes have ministry fairs and when families are getting organized for new school years and family schedules. We will use two outside firms to post National Council-produced/overseen content to support membership interest. You can add any locally produced media posts as you like.
  • Custom print materials. You will be able to order print materials such as yard signs, posters and pamphlets using our campaign theme (see below) that you can take to local printers for identifier customization, and/or hand-print meeting times and dates, etc. We have done the brand and design work for you!
  • Logo and theme wearables etc. You can order shirts, jackets, vests, hats, bags and other items with the national SVdP logo and some with our campaign theme! There are no minimum orders, and the pricing is pre-set based on total expected orders, so everyone wins with discounted prices, custom sizes and order numbers, and shipping to your door!
  • Campaign videos.  Three new videos, featuring interviews with current members, will be included on the campaign’s website landing page. You can also use them locally. They include:  Why am I a Vincentian, Encountering Our Neighbor, and The Home Visit.
  • Campaign theme. Our marketing thrust is to anyone looking to put their faith into action and to grow in Holiness. Based on comments we have heard so often over the years from our members, we chose a theme that should resonate no matter where your Council and Conference serves our neighbors in need. The short version is “See the Face of Christ. Be the Face of Christ.” A longer version for some materials is “See the Face of Christ as we grow in Holiness through service. Be the Face of Christ to those in need we serve.”

Our goal with this campaign is to support you in attracting more than 10,000 new Society members! That may look like a lot, but it is only 2 – 3 per existing Conference. Some Conferences attract dozens of potential members with a good Invitation to Serve process, so plan for — and don’t be afraid of — such success! For example, how will you engage each member as part of a Home Visit team or special work right away? Will they receive a Member Handbook and other local materials about meetings? In short, how will they not simply be recruited, but truly welcomed into the friendship of the Society where you live?

Please reflect on how much fun and fulfillment you have serving others. Think about the friends you have made among members of our Society. Think about how tired you get sometimes after a long day of service, wishing there was someone to help.

Please consider how many family members and friends could benefit from growing in their own faith journey. We have room for many new faces, and we will never have too many members, when you consider our Society mission and goals. Please start thinking, and planning, now to organize for this campaign’s success. Watch for the official launch on July 1.

Imagine what we can do with 10,000 more friends to serve and grow with us? Heck, why not 20,000!?

Yours in Christ,
Dave Barringer
National CEO

  • David G. Subleski June 14, 2024 at 7:35 am

    Thank you for your message on this critical topic. St. John 23 Conference in Perrysburg Ohio is eager to move forward in our recruitment efforts. When will the materials you mentioned be available for review at the conference level? As a suggestion, can they be placed in one location and clearly labeled?

    In Christ, Thank you.

    David Subleski

  • More service to Neighbors in Need with more servant leaders! Who could argue with that! Onboard!!

  • “We need to replenish and grow our ranks to continue to faithfully serve our neighbors in need today and tomorrow.” We certainly do, and that is why Frederic Ozanam is remembered. Yes, he took food to the poor and wore a pretty snappy hat, and those are good things in themselves, but they are not why he is remembered. The people he helped all died unknown, and Frederic himself would not be remembered, except he started the worldwide St. Vincent dePaul Society, proving that one man can indeed change the world if he raises an army to help him. It’s obvious in 2024 that we have to raise an army ourselves. Many many thanks for the new marketing! We hope to add a lot more members to our small conference. And we can do our own marketing, our own convincing, when we visit the people we serve. We can invite them to experience God’s mercy, and healing and grace. But they might ask us:
    Q: Grace? What’s that?
    (We answer): Grace is an undeserved gift from God.
    Q: How do I get some?
    A: You ask God for it.
    Q: How much can I get?
    A: As much as you want.
    Q: How much does it cost?
    A: It’s totally free.

    Now if we can’t sell That, shame on us.

  • Richard Poisson June 15, 2024 at 4:53 pm

    May I use your “We can invite them to experience God’s mercy, and healing and grace” statement? It’s beautiful: short, simple, focused, and compelling. I’d like to use in our conference, if I may. Thank you.

  • I love the short form of the slogan “See the Face of Christ. Be the Face of Christ.” and hate the long form. “See the Face of Christ as we grow in Holiness through service. Be the Face of Christ to those in need we serve.” unwieldy, awkwardly phrased, no reason to capitalize holiness

  • Our conference, St Jude the Apostle, in Taunton, Massachusetts, is planning a membership drive at the end of August ( 2024) . Looking forward to seeing what the national council will be providing and suggesting for increasing membership .

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