Summary of PYM program News – Mid-March to Mid-May 2020
- PYM went from business as usual to work from home under Covid 19 distancing restrictions after four intense days of planning in the second week of March. In doing this we safeguarded staff health & wellness, developed a remote accounts payable system, secured necessary laptops and software, and implemented Zoom conferencing systems that served both staff and the Yearly Meeting.
Business and Finances
- PYM was funded for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) in April. The SBA gave specific guidance to faith-based nonprofits, encouraging them to apply. PPP loans cover 2.5x a small business’s average monthly payroll. The loan may be forgiven in full if the organization maintains its staffing and payroll levels for the eight weeks following funding, which PYM intends to do. The loan is welcome support in a time of financial uncertainty.
Program and Ministry
- We held a remote continuing sessions worship on March 28 with 115 participants.
- Young Adults have been virtually gathering on Thursday evenings for Community Worship, worship sharing, fellowship. This program has engaged over 50 young adults from the Philadelphia region and beyond. It has also created opportunity for leadership for 7 young adult facilitators. By May 16 they will have met 9 times.
- May 15-16 is the YAF at-home retreat where they will be engaging in creative projects together.
- The Young adult Friends Pen Pal Program, which started in March has matched 12 young adults with pen pals.
- YAF Clerks are meeting on a monthly basis to continue to shape program and pastoral care for the community.
- Youth Programs have been moved online, here are the programs currently offered:
- Children and Families — Wednesday evening Children’s Worship Group, Pen Pals with Quaker Elders, Spring Family Gathering (May 2-3)
- Middle School Friends — Online Hangouts (as scheduled), May 1-3 Virtual Swatara Gathering
- Young Friends — Online Check-ins on Fridays, May 1-3 Virtual Swatara Gathering
- There was a Quaker Family Meetup online: April 18
- Death & Dying Sprint produced two online articles: Creating a Friends Pandemic Funeral and Memorial Plan and Preparing for Death, Dying and Grieving Among Friends During Covid-19
- Ministry & Care Committee created Ministry & Care Letter to Our Meetings regarding Covid-19 and state-of-the-meeting reports. This was distributed via email.
- Monthly meeting leaders calls to reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic and support each other were organized and attended by several staff members on March 17, March 24, March 31, April 9. Follow-up web articles were posted on all.
- Hosted a virtual workshop with Emily Provance on clerking virtual meetings on April 23, 70 leaders from various monthly meetings were present.
- Various members of staff have attended other yearly meetings’ sessions (e.g. Southeast Yearly Meeting April 8-10) and continue to collaborate with staff and leadership from other yearly meetings to share best practices around virtual community building, youth religious life, and Friends decision making.
Inclusion and Anti-Racism
- Staff participated in focus groups on March 30 and 31. These sessions were facilitated by Prototype Entities and will be used for the DEI climate assessment.
- Supervisors attended an online training with Prototype Entities on April 1 and May 13.
- Developed resources based on several trainings and seminars staff attended on navigating hate in virtual spaces.
- There has been an intentional rebalancing of PYM news to be broader and more inclusive. We’ve covered Nozizwe Madlala Routledge, a South African expert in Truth & Reconciliation who is teaching at Haverford College. We are building a section on Quaker History with Friends of Color making history today, diverse nations, genders and other similar stories.
- We’ve been welcoming conversations with donors interested in naming PYM in their estate plans. The Spring fundraising appeal was delayed and rewritten to encompass Covid19 conditions.
Communications and Technology
- We hired a Communications Coordinator to diversify our news feed with weekly stories that define and generate excitement about what Quakers represent and who they are. We celebrated past Quakers in black history month, current black Friends, and featured the Clerk of Quaker Life Council in a new “Let your life Speak” story. We covered International Women’s Day through a piece on Signe Wilkinsons’ cartoons celebrating the 19th amendment.
- Social Media: Our new communications staff member is publicizing our diverse newsfeed on social media platforms, with weekly activity and progress. She’s tripled engagement on Instagram, and completed a social media campaign plan for Annual Sessions.
- Youth Religious Life published two issues of the Tote Bag; March 21 and April 17.
- Three lesson plans for “at home/together online” were posted on PYM website Religious Education resource page.
- We’ve made the change from Constant contact to Pardot for increasing numbers of emails. We developed digital graphics that support PYM identity and launched two high impact PYM branded news and events emails on our new email provider. This is integrated with Salesforce, and both reduces email bounces and aligns with database contact information.
- PYM news and Events
- PYM weekly News
- Print publications:
- (2) Arch Street Postcards
- Arch Street Rack Card
- Quaker Postcard
- Continuing Sessions
- Friends in Business invitation
- Website – We had a 9% increase in website users (up to 5,846) and a 4% increase in web visits from March to April. Guessing that there would be a heightened interest in understanding the Quaker Faith, we put a link to Faith and Practice in the home page box (used to be “Find a Meeting.” This led 382 visitors to the searchable online version of Faith and Practice in March. Data is teaching us that people are seek spiritual resources and find them at PYM.
Staff and Administration
- Hired a new Friends Counseling Service Coordinator, Janaki Spickard Keeler.