This post is part of a series on 7 Keys to an Effective Volunteer Training System.
A volunteer training system isn’t very effective if only a small percentage of your team participates in trainings. In talking with other ministry leaders, it’s easy to see that many leaders struggle with this and wish they had greater participation.
There’s an important correlation I’ve noticed in relation to this, and maybe you have too. I have noticed that the larger the volunteer role is in terms of commitment, the more likely they are to attend training events. Conversely, the lighter, easier, or less frequent a volunteer’s role is, the less likely they are to be involved in trainings regularly. Therefore, one way to ensure volunteers to attend training events more regularly is to raise the bar in terms of role expectations, but that’s another post for another day.
The Best Way to Encourage Volunteers to Attend
We’ve found the best way to motivate volunteers to attend is through a personal invite. Many of you reading this have hundreds of volunteers, and you can’t imagine personally inviting all of them to a training event. That’s okay, because you shouldn’t. Every volunteer’s point leader should personally invite them, because they have the existing relationship and influence.
Our Invite System
I do think your system of inviting volunteers to attend trainings should include much more, but the personal invite must be part of the plan. In our case, the personal invite happens late in the process. Our system includes:
- Putting the date in front of volunteers at least 6-8 weeks out.
- Inviting volunteers to attend using an e-vite (we’ve used multiple).
- Point to it in every volunteer email until the event.
- Follow up email weekly with those who have not RSVP’d.
- Personal invite to anyone who hasn’t RSVP’d.
A key part of any training system includes events, gatherings, and opportunities where volunteers can learn and develop. A personal invite is not the easiest way to invite volunteers to attend, but it’s the best way to encourage them to.
There is another important relational component to motivating volunteers to attend training events, and we’ll look at that in the next post.