The personal invitation
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    At our Wednesday discussion of attracting and retaining volunteers, one thing we discussed was the idea of personal invitations, versus general. If you put announcements in the parish bulletin about the need for choir members, you generally get poor response. When this is supported by a one-to-one conversation, your success skyrockets.

    So ... what do you say during this brief conversation with a prospective choir member?
  • donr
    Posts: 969
    My question is... How do you know who to ask. Where we sing from you can't pick out who is singing down below or for that matter hear anyone singing at all. We need monitors in the loft just to hear the celebrant speak.

    Conversations I have had in the past (that was successful) was something like...
    Don: Hey I've heard you have a decent singing voice
    PIP: Uhh, I don't know, I just like to sing
    Don: Have you ever thought of singing in the choir?
    PIP: Uh, um, I don't know if I could do it.
    Don: Well I just wanted to extend the invite. We hold rehearsals on Tue eve at 7pm. If your interested come on by. Oh and I also teach a sight singing class for beginners on the Sat at 10:30am. We'd love to see you.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I always say (or encourage others to say) "come to a rehearsal and see what you think," if they're not certain (as donr illustrates).
  • expeditus1
    Posts: 483
    I like the point made in the final paragraph of the following article, of mentioning that your choir is a "friendly and collaborative group."
    http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2009/09/sing-its-your-responsibility.html
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Ally
    Posts: 224
    I have good choir members that I trust during the summer to go out and find voices.
    This year we are going to hand out little "choir calling cards" that say "We want you in choir, please inquire," with my office info on it. The choir members will give the basic info and try to get those people to walk over with them and meet me after Mass. We also have a "ministry fair" day, and that's the best time to do this. I invite them, as Gavin mentioned, to come and check it out at least.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,470
    Ally: calling cards are a great innovative idea! Thanks!
    Thanked by 1Ally
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    Fantastic idea, Ally - that way people are more likely to remember once they get home! Although it seems that when someone asks me personally, that idea just gnaws on me for weeks on end (sometimes years or decades!)

    Don, what a great and friendly invitation! And I would definitely strengthen it with, "just come check it out next Tuesday and see what you think! No obligation."
    Thanked by 2donr Ally
  • I wonder if Ally would be so kind as to post her calling card. I'd be interested in seeing the wording. I think it's a great idea and worth trying in my area. Thanks for your help.
    Thanked by 2Ally canadash
  • Ally
    Posts: 224
    The card just says on the front on a black background with LARGE white print:

    WE WANT YOU IN CHOIR
    PLEASE INQUIRE

    On the back it has my name, title, office phone number and email (which is why I don't think I'll post it right now, sorry). We went with the "kiss" principle to make the invite stand out and be memorable. I trust the choir members to fill in the other info, like rehearsal times for the different choirs, and have a conversation with the person, not only to hand them the card. I think it could be a good icebreaker if you're not used to just walking up and introducing yourself.

    The other idea I just had is that the choir member could even write in their name and phone or email on the back, in case the person wants to ask them more first. (I really don't think I'm intimidating, but you never know...)

    Also, I don't want to sound like an ad, but there are those cheap business card companies...you know the one I mean...where you can get 250 "premium" business cards for $10. (You can even upload your own design). Or print them yourself. My goal is for them to look polished and attractive.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,911
    I usually spend some time sitting with the PIPs so I can hear who is singing around me. I know that not everyone has that luxury, but it works for me. That way, I can identify strong singers and extend them a personal invitation at the end of Mass. I usually start with complimenting their singing abilities, and then suggest that they join the choir, explaining that we are looking for more members. I then tell them when the rehearsal is and express that I'd look forward to seeing them there. Hasn't worked yet, but I'm just starting to recruit again, and the first few people I asked worked nights and our rehearsals were at 7PM on Tuesdays.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,470
    Last weekend I sat in the congregation with my husband and children. They always sit in the front seat. So I asked my husband if we could sit somewhere else, so that I could scope out new members. He said he liked the front seat (keeps my two little guys interested in the liturgy), but I was welcome to move and scout out the congregation. So alone I will be in the next couple of weeks! I wonder how long it takes to get some cards made?
    Thanked by 1Ally
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    If you go with a local company, just a day or two. Vistaprint.com is cheaper but takes a little longer unless you pay for extra shipping.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • Or you can print them yourself and save a lot of money
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,669
    If you want any cards that look REALLY professional, use Vistaprint. They're amazing and once you order from them once you'll get coupons for free cards and other free things ALL THE TIME. I haven't paid anything other than shipping for business cards in over a year and I go through 150 or more per month.
    Thanked by 1Ally
  • Ally
    Posts: 224
    Matthewj - agreed. And they came pretty fast too. Very spiffy looking, saved a lot of time and hassle. I have cards for my studio from them too.
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    Yes, you can print some yourself, but they're not going to look very professional - they look like you took a shortcut. And I assume that you want the "advertisement" for your group to look like you care enough to invest some thought.

    I don't use Vistaprint for my professional business card because of other reasons, but for all the cards I use less formally (including one for our schola) I use Vistaprint. I don't print them myself unless I really don't care much about the quality.
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    WE WANT YOU IN CHOIR
    PLEASE INQUIRE


    You don't have that trademarked, do you? I think I may just have to steal that!
    Thanked by 1Ally
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,412
    Do not be worried, many people shier
    than you have joined because of this here flier.
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    Adam, I don't want to see how your mind works!
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • TCJ
    Posts: 782
    Maybe some people are scared of joining because people in the choir have to give 100% but the people in the pews only have to give 10%.

    Ha ha ha.
  • Just thinking in terms of parishes without a lot of money or with music ministers that have little to none. It was the thought that counts. In some parishes, the people wouldn't care if a card was professionally or home printed, as long as somebody thought enough about the ministry to hand them out.
    Thanked by 1Carl D
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,368
    I'm doing some catechesis this summer, and I made some Vistaprint postcards with a painting of the Lord on them for ads. They disappear really fast.
  • Mark HuseyMark Husey
    Posts: 192
    I've trained my choir members to think before they invite people into the group and after working together for the past seven and a half years, they are fully immersed with the notion of intentionality of calling: not everybody is called to every ministry. The person singing hymns most loudly and lustily in the pews may be incapable of hearing harmony or of conforming to the conductor's gesture and may drive away other choir members.

    Ask yourself, your pastor, and your parish, honestly: does our choir exist for the pleasure of its own members, or to serve and glorify Almighty God and edify His faithful? I know which choir I'd want to hear at Mass, and which choir I'd want to join.

    Every choir, regardless of their setting (university, parish, cathedral), will find their own calling that fits with the vision of the pastor and his vision for their leadership role at Mass: whether it be chanting propers, belting out hymns/songs in unison, or having the skills for Renaissance polyphony. Know what your group is about and what your needs are. Pray for that as a choir and focus your efforts of recruitment to take your choir to the next level. If you want better readers in your group, advertise in your bulletins that you need experienced chorister and try printing at least one hymn per week in harmony in your order of worship.

    Be very careful what you pray for: God has a fantastic sense of humor.
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 992
    It's difficult, isn't it Mark? You want to be open and inviting, not an exclusive club. But people may respond more out of interest than from calling. My personal approach has been to be more inviting, but also give people options so they have to think about their response a little bit more.
  • I've always relied on my wife's annual baby.
  • Mark HuseyMark Husey
    Posts: 192
    "That choir sounds welcoming." Said nobody, ever.
    Thanked by 1matthewj