In the previous post, I talked about the Volunteer Equation and the Reach Ratio. There is a strong connection between the growth in our volunteer teams and the growth in overall church attendance. The Volunteer Equation explains that, but I doubt it comes as much of a surprise. The question then becomes, how do we recruit more volunteers in order to leverage the Volunteer Equation?
I think the ultimate volunteer recruitment plan includes an attractive ministry, word of mouth recruiting, strategic on ramps, and a clear path to help new attenders make their way to serving as they take their next steps. However, it’s good to have some specific recruiting efforts from time to time to supplement your core strategy.
5 Practical Ways to Recruit More Volunteers
Most of the ideas here are things we have actually done that helped us recruit more volunteers. If you try some of these out I’d love to hear how it works.
Start a Weekly or Bi-Weekly Accountability Meeting
One idea we picked up from Lifepoint Church (along with the Volunteer Equation), was to have a regular meeting where all staff who lead volunteers are present. The purpose of the meeting is to talk about where each person is in terms of how many volunteers they have, how many they need, who stepped off the team and who is in the process of coming on board. The real purpose of the meeting is simple: accountability.
A regular meeting where you have to share how you personally have recruited volunteers (or not) is very powerful. You’ll take more opportunities to connect with people you don’t know. You’ll put more focused time into recruiting. Once you all get your volunteer numbers together, you may even realize that you have too many ministries fighting for an impossible number of volunteers.
Create a Recruiting Challenge
Last year we challenged our preschool volunteers to recruit new leaders to join the team. Rather than it solely depending on staff, we cast a vision for the importance of everyone recruiting. From there, we introduced a challenge. We told them they would work as a team (based on their room) and the challenge was to see who could recruit the most volunteers. More important than that, however, was how we challenged them to each recruit at least one new volunteer per room. This took some pressure off them individually but set a goal for them to meet as a team.
Make a Simple Video to Share
Video can be hard sometimes, particularly if your church goes all out in terms of quality. Instead of setting up a professional video shoot with scripted lines and a great story, all of which is good, plan on a simpler video that’s funny and pointed. We create a Summer Team of volunteers each year and one year we created a simple video to help recruit to that team. You can see it here. We had parents record their kids (using their smartphones) saying lines we scripted and provided. Putting them together to complete the video was simple. You can do the same and share it in service and on all your social media channels, preferably multiple times.
Hold a Church-Wide Vision Night
This one obviously involves a lot more than just your ministry, but it can be very helpful to hold a vision night (or something similar) in your church. Invite everyone who calls your church home and cast a great vision for what your church is all about and what’s on the horizon. During that time, you can challenge people to be “all in” at your church. Define what “all in” means and lead them to respond in some way that you can track. We had people fill out a card and then followed up with anyone who indicated they wanted to serve but wasn’t currently serving.
Launch and Promote a Volunteer Orientation
Often times what people need before they commit to volunteer is a safe place to ask questions. By starting a Volunteer Orientation and promoting it to your church, you can let people know there is a place where they can learn more about serving and get answers to any questions they might have. As you talk about the Volunteer Orientation, be sure to emphasize that it’s for anyone who is interested. They’re not committing to serve by attending the orientation, they’re just committing to consider it. Be sure to maximize your time with them at the orientation by focusing on vision and stories to help them understand why they should serve.