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Jump-starting the pro-life group in your parish
Are you hopeful that you can start something similar in your parish? Are you particularly interested in knowing that once it is vigorously started, you will be able to ease up on your time commitment as more people pitch in? The following are suggestions which may help:
- First, get your pastor's permission. Ask what has been done before and what are the guidelines for a pro-life group in your parish and diocese. Who is in charge of pro-life activities in your parish now? Are there any funds available? (probably not) What kind of chain of command do you have to follow when pursuing your projects?
- Organize a core group. Set reasonable goals. Start with a list of projects you would like to complete, or activities you would like to do. Divvy up the work to avoid any one person over-controlling or anyone becoming burned out. Remember the old quote, "You can accomplish just about anything so long as you don't care who gets the credit."
- Begin and end each meeting with a prayer. Ask God for guidance and direction.
- Delegate! Don't micromanage. Put people in charge of a project and let them handle the details in their own way. It will motivate them, and keep the group enthusiastic and growing.
- Find a good treasurer. It may be hard to believe now, at the planning stage, but soon there will be money coming in, and it is imperative that the funds be kept track of properly. Our group's current treasurer is a well-respected accountant with a stellar reputation. You may want to find out if there is a lawyer in your parish who will donate his time to incorporate your group as a non-profit organization. Doing this keeps your organization separate from the church and your funds free of taxation. A lawyer can explain other benefits.
- Keep meetings short and to-the-point. Limit business to an hour or so. If people want to stay and socialize, great (we always brought snacks to our meetings), but if someone wants to leave, he is free to do so. The fastest way to lose members is to drone on and on so that the meetings are dull and redundant. Set a timer if you must, but keep it short!
- Establish a phone tree for quick contact of members when necessary (whether to call regarding pending legislation or for another purpose)
- When planning your newsletter, remember its primary purpose is to be a vehicle to provide useful information. If you have a talented graphic artist in your group, by all means take advantage of that, but don't worry if you don't. Your newsletter need not be fancy, but should be neat, accurate and succinct. There are many computer programs available that can help your group meet these goals. Check your post office for mailing rates, but know that you won't need envelopes for your newsletter. By folding your newsletter into thirds and stapling, you will save the cost of envelopes.