This post is part of a series on 7 Keys to an Effective Volunteer Training System.
As ministry leaders, it’s important to serve our volunteer teams by providing helpful training on a regular basis. In an effort to get as many people as possible to attend, we’ve learned some tips to help make it easier for them. For the most part, these tips apply to large-scale trainings where an entire ministry department (preschool), or an entire ministry are invited. Smaller trainings don’t have as many barriers.
Here are 4 tips to make volunteer trainings easier to attend.
This one is tough, I know. Children’s ministry and childcare are 2 different things, but often times your church uses some of the same people for both. It’s difficult to provide childcare, and even more difficult the larger your volunteer base is. In our case, for many events we provide childcare by paying the people who provide it. This adds to the cost of doing a volunteer training event, but it’s well worth it. Our participation is significantly higher when we provide childcare.
This one also costs money, but is extremely important. In order to do the fourth tip on this list, we’re typically meeting at a time when people would eat lunch or dinner. Feeding them makes it easier to attend and provides a great time of connection at the beginning of the event. We budget for this as often as we can, and we have been really creative in the past calling on people to help provide food if needed.
Pick the Date Strategically
Another way we can make it easy for volunteers to attend training is to choose a date strategically. Pick a date that is far enough out for people to plan around and doesn’t conflict with anything else on the calendar. We like to choose dates where there is nothing for 2 weeks on either side we might also be asking some of them to be part of. We also try to pick dates that don’t conflict with the school calendar or sports schedules.
Meet at a Convenient Time
Choosing a time that is easy for people is also critical. Every context can be different, and we learned from trying different times. In our case, there were multiple effective times and it all depended on the day and focus. The four times that work well for us include:
- Lunch on Sunday – We have typically only done this when we’ve had 2 services, so an already long day isn’t even longer.
- During a service – We have only done this when we have 3 or more services, and these are much shorter and just within ministry teams.
- Weeknight – This is probably our most popular option, and it has worked well.
- Friday night – This is one we’ve rarely used, and only when we invite spouses as well and it’s all about vision / fun / encouragement.
We follow those 4 tips when we schedule volunteer training events in order to help make them easy to attend.