How do you get volunteers?
It’s the same challenge in any volunteer organization. We all struggle to get enough volunteers.
Here are 10 tips that I use when recruiting volunteers:
- Lead by example. To get volunteers, I feel very strongly that YOU have to be setting an example in your own life. If you are asking volunteers to serve 2-3 hours per month, examine your life and make sure that you are serving as well.
- Share Stories. When you have a family share their story about their lives or what it means it be able to attend church together as a family, it can have a huge impact. There are many ways that you can share this with the congregation – through the bulletin, a video in the service, going to different small groups to share, post on Facebook, or send an email. Be creative and think of fun ways so share!
- Be Honest. Be upfront about what you expect from volunteers. All children need consistency so make sure volunteers know that serving requires commitment. We ask all our volunteer to commit to serving 2x/month.
- Communicate Responsibilities. A lot of people are hesitant to sign up to volunteer for special needs ministry because they have no experience. Make sure people know that this is not therapy! They don’t have to have any special qualifications. They do need to be able to love children, and be flexible and willing to learn about their specific child’s strengths and challenges.
- Training. Provide a fun and educational training on the basic things that volunteers need to know prior to working with children with special needs. More to come on trainings in the next post.
- Ask. If you know someone that would be a good volunteer, ask them! Face to face asking is the best and it allows you to get to know the person better. A lot of times, we tend to make excuses on why we shouldn’t ask someone to serve. Don’t be afraid to ask and let them decide if they feel called to serve in this way or not.
- A Job Description. We all want to know what’s expected from us and what the job entails. Write a job description that includes responsibilities, commitment, trainings, preparation time, physical demands (yes…you will be amazed by the people that want to serve but they can’t sit on the floor with the kids, or keep up with them in the hallways!)
- Encourage. Set aside time every week to write 1-2 thank you notes to volunteers. Be specific about things you saw them do on Sunday and thank them! Let’s be honest, we all LOVE getting snail mail! You will be amazed by how much a simple card in the mail will mean to a volunteer.
- Celebrate. Plan a few times throughout the year to celebrate all your volunteers! Free Coffee, lunch, donuts, volunteer of the month award, etc. Be creative and find ways to let your volunteers know they are appreciated and valued. Walk around on Sundays and simply thank them for being there.
- Spread the Word. Talk about what is going on in your church. The best way to get volunteers is through word of mouth! I’m not always asking for volunteers (let’s be real…those people are annoying!), but I’m always sharing about what God is doing!
How have you been successful at recruiting volunteers?