Active involvement is key to volunteer-based organizations. As any efficient non-profit, church or community association can tell you, keeping opportunities organized, up to date and accessible for volunteers to “sign up”, is vital to success.
With more than 1,000 members across two campuses, the Living Word Family Church (LWFC), in Raleigh, North Carolina uses Smartsheet to manage their fast-growing organization. In addition to managing projects, planning new initiatives, collaborating on administrative tasks, the church uses Smartsheet to engage its congregation in volunteer activities...well beyond the Sunday services.
Pastor Micah Caronna, Head of LWFC’s Worship and Creative Arts departments recently shared how LWFC uses Smartsheet and explains the immeasurable value volunteer engagement has for their congregation, growth, and future.
Q: Tell us a little about your position in the leadership team at LWFC.
A: As head of our Worship and Creative Arts department, I wear many hats. I’m in charge of music and our worship teams, ministry media, video production and streaming, theatrical productions, film editing, technology engineering – basically every piece of technology that makes LWFC accessible in the 21st century. I also lead our communications team and oversee our copywriters, proofers, graphic designers, web production, online magazine production, and our social media team.
Q: How do you use Smartsheet to help manage all of the things that fall on your plate?
A: At LWFC, we use Smartsheet for almost everything from daily task lists to complex pipelines. Smartsheet is our meeting agenda, tracks all of our congregation information, collects prayer requests, it’s our tool for planning our annual goals – and checking in to see how we’re performing against these goals.
My team of staff members at LWFC is relatively small – I have two part-time music directors, apart-time technical engineer, a full-time video editor and a graphic artist. There’s no way that I could accomplish everything we do without volunteers from our congregation. I’m currently working with a team of over 100 volunteers – Smartsheet is the link that connects us. I’m able to communicate, prioritize tasks, and track status with anyone in our congregation.
Q: What about Smartsheet fit your needs?
A: Simple. Smartsheet is flexible enough to meet the complex needs of our leadership team, like managing pipelines, and simple enough that anyone in our congregation can use it.
Everyone is familiar with Excel, and that ease of use and familiarity goes hand-in-hand with Smartsheet. I’m never worried that a new member will have a hard time using Smartsheet. It’s intuitive – and perfect for a huge volunteer network like ours.
Whenever someone wants to volunteer, there’s an easy-to-use resource already set up for them in Smartsheet. They can access it anywhere, anytime, whenever they have a free moment to be involved. It’s amazing.
Q: Can you give us an example of how Smartsheet helps you engage volunteers?
A: A few years ago, I lost my administrative assistant. I was overwhelmed with offers from our congregation – so many of our members wanted to help me out and get more deeply involved in the work that I do. Rather than hire a new assistant, I created a sheet with everything my assistant had been responsible for. With all of this consolidated in a sheet, I was then easily able to share with members that wanted to help.
Now, rather than a full-time employee, I have three volunteers working with me seamlessly in place of an administrative assistant. They’re able to use Smartsheet to communicate with me and with each other. They don’t need to be in the office with me to help me out, either. Since Smartsheet is accessible online, they can work on projects from home whenever they have time – from their laptop, phone, tablet, whatever is easiest.
Q: What benefits have you seen since LWFC adopted Smartsheet?
A: Our leadership team is very active in keeping volunteer opportunities up to date. We have a sheet that we share with our congregation so that when someone wants to help out, we have a repository of opportunities that they can turn to. We’re not losing any chance to engage an interested member.
We’ve seen a significant increase in engagement over the last few years, and getting organized in Smartsheet has played a huge part in this. Our members are a part of our community throughout the entire week, not just on Sunday, thanks in part to the communication and collaboration tools we have with Smartsheet.
This increased engagement and involvement has been a huge part of our growing congregation, and a big factor in opening our second campus. People who volunteer stay with our church.