Starting a New Conference

of the

Society of St. Vincent de Paul


A Checklist


Discuss with the Pastor


r     Get the support of the pastor.  If he is not familiar with the work of the Society, you will need to explain how a conference provides an additional opportunity for parishioners to act on their faith as well as for parishioners and the parish to respond appropriately to Christ’s call to serve the poor.

r     Provide Intro to St. Vincent de Paul documentation

r     Involve the Particular Council President for that area.  Contact information can be obtained from Toronto Central Council (416-364-5577)


Recruitment Drive


r     Plan the Recruitment Drive with the pastor.  Determine the dates and time of the masses when the Support Team members can speak to the congregation on behalf of the Society.  (The Pastor may prefer to do it himself, if he is familiar with the Society’s work.)  Central Office of the Society has developed a Recruitment booklet that guides you through the process of recruiting members.  We also have some members (Support Team) available to assist with planning and carrying out the recruitment drive.

r     Place an announcement in the Bulletin (samples available in the Recruitment Booklet) a couple of weeks before the talk from the pulpit.  The week prior to the Pulpit Talk, also mention the date/time of the Information Session so that individuals can plan to attend.

r     Talk from the pulpit & Volunteer Name Gathering.  As described in the Recruitment booklet, it is important to have a few people at the back of the church after the masses when the invitation to join is extended from the pulpit.  The Support Team will coordinate this activity.    These people will take names and phone numbers of those even mildly curious.

r     Distribute Information Package to those interested with attached note confirming the  Information Session Date/Time & Location for easy reference.


Information / Training Sessions


r     A few days later, a Support Team member will telephone (or email) each person and invite him/her to the Information Session within the week following the pulpit talk.  At this meeting, information about the Society and its works will be provided and questions answered.   Print information will also be provided.

r     Support Team member to arrange for Particular Council President to attend to be introduced to the new potential members.

r     Arrange with the pastor for 2 Training Sessions, preferably 1 night per week for the next 2 weeks to provide the necessary training for the new potential members.  A few days prior to the Training Sessions, the Support Team will call each person to see if they are still interested and invite him/her to the first of two training meetings.  At that meeting, New Member Applications will be distributed to those who plan to become members.


Conference Set-up


r     Arrange with the pastor to have a separate Society mailbox/voice mail on the church telephone system so that a conference member can pick up call messages directly.  The pastor may prefer to set-up a Voice Mailbox only with separate telephone # from Bell Canada (that is there is no physical phone - - only voice messages can be left at this # or picked up using a special access code).

r     Arrange for a Poor Box, to be used at the back of the church. (call Toronto Central to order “sample” box & ask a skilled parishioner to build a minimum of 2 Poor Boxes to be used for collection).

r     Hold the two Training Sessions, at which time the Application Packages will be distributed/completed.  Please note - - a cheque must accompany the Application.  Process the Application, Police Record Check forms and other paperwork (as described in the Application package).  This is the responsibility of the Particular Council President. to make arrangements to have this done.

r     Applicant must have access to “The Rule” in order to complete the membership process.  Conference or Support Team may order these from the Toronto Central Council. Conference will be invoiced for these books or members may choose to purchase a copy themselves.     

r     Arrange for applicants to accompany an experienced Vincentian (usually from a neighbouring conference) on at least one Home Visit (hopefully more).

r     Arrange Screening Interviews for all those who have completed the first steps of the screening process (with trained Interviewer through Particular Council President) or conducted by conference executive members, as long as at least one member as been trained.

r     During the training, potential members will provided with Quick Reference Guides with descriptions of the role of the various Executive Committee members to ensure proper understanding of the responsibilities.  Information also available in The Rule.

r     Select an Executive This is the responsibility of the PC President but every effort should be made during the training sessions to encourage the new members to seriously consider answering the call to leadership.  The executive positions might be taken on an interim basis or an actual election for president might be held.

r     Arrange for a separate St. Vincent de Paul Conference Bank Account, with three signatories, two of which are required.

r     When funds available, arrange for purchase of:  a) Food Vouchers from local (most economical) grocery store;  b)  Bus Tickets, if conference will be offering this service, etc.

r     Clothing Vouchers can be requested through Toronto Central Council.

r     Arrange schedule for those who will pick-up Daily Telephone Messages.

r     Distribute the Names and Telephone #s of each new member as well as the Particular Council President’s name and telephone #.

r     Arrange schedule for holding Poor Box collection after masses.

r     Purchase binders for Client Profile record keeping system & other general supplies.

r     Arrange for accessible Record Keeping file location at the church.

r     Arrange for Home Visitation “Availability” /Rotation Schedule.

r     Hold first Official Conference Meeting to be chaired by an experienced neighbouring conference President (or designate), the Particular Council President or a Support Team member .  (A Quick Reference Guide entitled Effective Meetings is available from Central)

r     Treasurer to contact Toronto Central Council to arrange for TCC Treasurer to train on Financials (ex: monthly, annual reports to be completed - - either hard copy or software).

r     Support Team will gladly assist at Follow-up Meetings, upon request.

r     Reference Sheets (3) provided with Application Package – must be completed by Applicant with Reference Name, Address & Tel # before handing over to Conference President or PC President.  Applicants may be asked to mail or fax the forms themselves to their References.  A return envelope should be included with the Toronto Central address as follows:  Society of St. Vincent de Paul / TCC, Re:  New Member Reference/CONFIDENTIAL, 240 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5B 1Z2

r     New Member Applications to be signed by Support Team member (after checking Identification) and sent to TCC with cheques for Police Check.

r     Provide new Conference President with name of mentor from neighbouring conference so they may attend a Conference Meeting & go with them on Home Visitations

r     Each new member should attend a New Member Orientation session provided by TCC during the first year of membership.  Please contact your PC President for date/time or TCC.

r     Aggregation - - you may apply for aggregation of your conference in order to obtain a Charitable Organization # required in order to be able to issue donators with a tax receipt at the end of the year.  Contact your PC President or TCC for more details.