If you ask any children's pastor or student pastor what their top needs are, it's almost a guarantee one of them will be recruiting volunteers. Churches that are plateaued or declining have a hard time recruiting volunteers in the midst of the existing momentum loss. Growing churches are challenged with adding new volunteers to keep up with the pace of growth. Regardless of where your church is, you probably want to boost volunteer recruitment.
Boost Volunteer Recruitment by Addressing 3 Fears
One thing I learned along the way is to try to address people's fears about volunteering upfront. Addressing those fears can help someone have the courage to volunteer for the first time. Here are some important fears people have when it comes to volunteering, and how we can address them.
Fear of looking stupid or not knowing what to do
There's a lot of unknown to someone who has never volunteered. They wonder what knowledge or skill is required for the role, and if they have what it takes. The last thing they want is to look stupid because they're not equipped. We can address this fear by providing adequate training on the front-end and communicating the availability of it during recruitment. Before the sign-up, they won't know that training is provided so it's important to find ways to say that when we're inviting them to serve.
Fear of having to serve forever
It seems counterintuitive, but we can actually boost volunteer recruitment by only asking volunteers to serve for a shorter time. It seems counterintuitive because if we give them a specific end date, won't a bunch of them not come back to serve, and then we'll need even MORE volunteers? You would think that, but that hasn't been my experience. I think the freedom they get by seeing an end date and then needing to re-commit each year actually helps more volunteers stick.
Many people have experienced some level of volunteering before, and most volunteer roles have no end date. People are afraid to serve if they think it's a life-long commitment. We can address this fear by having specific volunteer commitment lengths that are one year or less. People can re-commit each year. Another option is to communicate upfront that it's okay to step down whenever they need to, and how they can go about doing that. All of this should be communicated in some way when we're inviting people to volunteer.
Fear of not enjoying their volunteer role
This is linked somewhat to the previous fear, in that they'll feel stuck in something they don't enjoy. This fear is different, however, because they simply want to enjoy whatever they sign up for. We can address this fear by valuing volunteer fit over our volunteer needs. Ensure them it's okay to change roles if it's not a fit after some time. Tell them they can even decide to serve in another ministry. We're all on the same team and we can help boost volunteer recruitment church-wide by working together to make sure people enjoy their volunteer role.
If we address these 3 common fears that people have about volunteering, there's a better chance they will step up to serve. What fears have you seen keep people from volunteering?
Retain Volunteers by Encouraging Them!