[Contest] Social Media and Volunteers

I (Jeremy) am wanting to put together a great resource for youth workers in the area of social media over at seventy8 Productions. Of course, I can and eventually will put out a resource from my own experiences and knowledge on the subject, but there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Instead, I want to pool the resources of this YouthMin.org community first and build off of a great foundation with your ideas.

So here is the task: leave an amazing comment on any of these questions below (include the question number for our help) and we will give away a copy of The Youth Worker’s Guide to Helping Teenagers in Crisis to one lucky commenter. All comments considered for this contest must be unique from everyone else who comments and you may comment as many times as you have amazing ideas!

It should be noted that an amazing idea does not fall under the responses such as “You could post a picture…” or “Write up an event for volunteer training.” We are looking for unique and amazing ideas, so be original, think outside-of-the-box, and come up with great ways to empower, encourage, and equip your volunteers for better ministry all around.

  1. What are some DOs and DON’Ts for volunteers on social media in ministry?
  2. What are some POSITIVE and NEGATIVE reasons for monitoring volunteers?
  3. How can we EMPOWER volunteers to better interact online so it isn’t just the lead youth worker’s job all the time.
  4. How can you use a social media SECRET GROUP for your volunteers in ministry effectively?

We will pick the winner of the contest on ___________________ so make sure you get your submissions in on time, include the question you are answering, and know that you can answer any and all of them and each non-duplicate comment will be entered in for this contest. You never know, your great ideas might end up on our free resources for you later!

All rights reserved. The winners of the contest will be contacted by Jeremy for a mailing address and contact information. All contestants are allowed to win one prize per year. Any forms of cheating, lying, or stealing will result in withdrawing from the contest and banning from all further contests at YouthMin.org. We will only be awarding prizes to commenters in the United States.

12 Comments

  1. (Question 3) We have a facebook page and a twitter account for the youth ministry. One thing that we will be trying and have seen others done successfully in the past has been to link those volunteers's twitter handles on the twitter profile. Granted, we don't do this without their permission, but it gives students and volunteers a reason to interact online in a way that is healthy, safe, and visual.
  2. (Question 3) We have a facebook page and a twitter account for the youth ministry. One thing that we will be trying and have seen others done successfully in the past has been to link those volunteers's twitter handles on the twitter profile. Granted, we don't do this without their permission, but it gives students and volunteers a reason to interact online in a way that is healthy, safe, and visual.
  3. We recently had a scandal at our high school that made national news. You can Google "Cascade High School sticky note prank" and you'll find it. Students, parents, administrators, and so forth were ALL posting their thoughts, rants, and diatribes online. I communicated to all my youth leaders that they were to remain silent about the issue on social media. No matter which side we picked, we would lose. We would either alienate students or the school admins we work with. We have to be careful with our online presence, making sure it's full of grace and truth.
  4. We recently had a scandal at our high school that made national news. You can Google "Cascade High School sticky note prank" and you'll find it. Students, parents, administrators, and so forth were ALL posting their thoughts, rants, and diatribes online. I communicated to all my youth leaders that they were to remain silent about the issue on social media. No matter which side we picked, we would lose. We would either alienate students or the school admins we work with. We have to be careful with our online presence, making sure it's full of grace and truth.
  5. Question 4. Honestly, out of all of my social media ventures. May it be doing a twitter campaign or Facebook group vs page. The best thing that has worked are secret groups. There I can talk to my volunteers confidently about students and needs of the ministry. If we are surprising a student for their birthday I can post about it there with no worries. The 1 thing I love is that everyone gets a notification. So I know everyone is going to know about it. Luckily, I don't have a ton of volunteers that flood the group with meaningless posts, so my notifications are not going off every ten minutes. Secret groups on Facebook are great!
  6. Question 4. Honestly, out of all of my social media ventures. May it be doing a twitter campaign or Facebook group vs page. The best thing that has worked are secret groups. There I can talk to my volunteers confidently about students and needs of the ministry. If we are surprising a student for their birthday I can post about it there with no worries. The 1 thing I love is that everyone gets a notification. So I know everyone is going to know about it. Luckily, I don't have a ton of volunteers that flood the group with meaningless posts, so my notifications are not going off every ten minutes. Secret groups on Facebook are great!
  7. (Question 3) You can empower volunteers to better interact online by educating them about social media. I mean, most people have a Facebook, but really don't know how to use it outside of the occasional status post or photo like. Showing them stats on how this generation engages social media much more than even face to face interactions would be the first thing. Also, instead of telling them to just add students and interact, give each volunteer a specific group of students each week or every other week to focus in on and even make it to where if the group is large enough students wise have the students the volunteer contacts and connects with through social media be ones that aren't in their small group or the ones they are closest to. So ultimately, it is two fold...educate them on social media and how this generation uses it and focus intentionally the type of interactions students get on Facebook by volunteers.
  8. (Question 3) You can empower volunteers to better interact online by educating them about social media. I mean, most people have a Facebook, but really don't know how to use it outside of the occasional status post or photo like. Showing them stats on how this generation engages social media much more than even face to face interactions would be the first thing. Also, instead of telling them to just add students and interact, give each volunteer a specific group of students each week or every other week to focus in on and even make it to where if the group is large enough students wise have the students the volunteer contacts and connects with through social media be ones that aren't in their small group or the ones they are closest to. So ultimately, it is two fold...educate them on social media and how this generation uses it and focus intentionally the type of interactions students get on Facebook by volunteers.
  9. Question 1: As a volunteer I always (Do) save the conversations and I never (Don't) fail to report having these conversations to the YP. Do's and Don'ts will empower your volunteers due to having set standards. We (volunteers) dislike not having set boundaries, otherwise you quickly find yourself in a grey area and having to make a quick decision which, without prior guidance, could go horribly wrong. Question 3: Provide written copies of your standards from my answer to question 1. Question 4: Google+ may have negated the need for a, "Secret group." If everyone creates a circle with just the staff then it serves the same purpose with greater capability. We use Google+ Hangouts for staff meetings when scheduling is an issue or for unplanned communication needs. Most YPs have their standard iPhone (I'm an Android guy, fighting the fad) so if I have a question that would be better suited to a face-to-face -- we can do that nearly anywhere at any time (schedule permitting of course). Right now I could send out a Hangout invite to our entire youthmin staff -- those that can join will and those that can't would likely respond so in a text. With the circle you can also post messages that are only viewable by your staff and you can include documents via Google Drive. Only your staff will be able to view/edit the docs. We do this for post-service evaluations.
  10. Question 1: As a volunteer I always (Do) save the conversations and I never (Don't) fail to report having these conversations to the YP. Do's and Don'ts will empower your volunteers due to having set standards. We (volunteers) dislike not having set boundaries, otherwise you quickly find yourself in a grey area and having to make a quick decision which, without prior guidance, could go horribly wrong. Question 3: Provide written copies of your standards from my answer to question 1. Question 4: Google+ may have negated the need for a, "Secret group." If everyone creates a circle with just the staff then it serves the same purpose with greater capability. We use Google+ Hangouts for staff meetings when scheduling is an issue or for unplanned communication needs. Most YPs have their standard iPhone (I'm an Android guy, fighting the fad) so if I have a question that would be better suited to a face-to-face -- we can do that nearly anywhere at any time (schedule permitting of course). Right now I could send out a Hangout invite to our entire youthmin staff -- those that can join will and those that can't would likely respond so in a text. With the circle you can also post messages that are only viewable by your staff and you can include documents via Google Drive. Only your staff will be able to view/edit the docs. We do this for post-service evaluations.

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