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I’m a big believer that healthy churches are full of healthy volunteers.
After all, we’re called to equip the saints for the work of ministry and that means that we need people actually doing ministry.
Finding people to serve isn’t always easy. There’s a ton of work that needs to be done and finding volunteers can sometimes seem like an impossible task.
It doesn’t have to be this way though. Here are 21 volunteer recruiting ideas that you can use to help your church get more volunteers!
1. Get Current Volunteers To Recruit Their Friends
One of the best places to start when it comes to finding new volunteers is your existing team. By encouraging your current volunteers to recruit their friends, you’ll be able to add strong bonds inside of your team for each friend that joins.
2. Be Specific In What You Need
Some people in your church may not jump at the opportunity to become a youth volunteer. But, the tech-inclined young adult may be more willing to help run media if he knew that was specifically what you needed help with. By sharing the exact roles that you’re looking for you’ll find passionate people who may have otherwise passed on the opportunity.
3. Ask People
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s an overlooked reality. If you don’t ask people, you’re going to be understaffed. The best volunteers, in my experience, have been those that I’ve asked to join the team. Build relationships with people outside of your ministry area and then ask them if they would be interested in serving.
4. Announce It With A Simple Call To Action
If you can, announce that your ministry is looking for volunteers from the stage during service. The key here is to share the why and give people a simple call to action if they’re interested. This could be filling out a connection card, online form, texting a number, or signing up in the lobby. The simpler the better.
5. Make It Easy To Get Started
No one likes jumping through hoops. If someone has to wait 4 months until the next volunteer training meeting, they’re likely going to lose interest. However, if you make the onboarding process easy, they’ll be excited and equipped to serve. Our TrainedUp platform is perfect for this and we’ve even written an in-depth guide on volunteer onboarding for you to check out!
6. Use Social Proof
Communicating how current volunteers feel about serving is a great way to humanize the need. By focusing on real people who are currently serving, people will have a better idea of what it means to serve in your ministry.
7. Set Volunteers Up For Success
An untrained volunteer isn’t going to do you any good. In fact, they probably won’t last very long. By taking the time to equip your volunteers, they’ll be much more confident in their ability to do what you ask of them. If you’re unsure of how to train, our library of training videos is a great resource.
8. Preach On Serving
Taking a Sunday morning service to preach on serving is a surefire way to find new volunteers. Not only will people see why they’re called to serve, but you can also easily show them needs inside of the church where they can help. Couple this by sharing the specific needs and a simple call to action, and you’ll have new volunteers in no time.
9. Honor All Volunteers During Service Annually
Having time to honor all of your volunteers during a service once a year will not only help reduce volunteer churn by making your current volunteers feel appreciated but will also give everyone else a glimpse into who is serving. People who aren’t serving are more likely to serve if they know someone else who is currently serving.
10. Give People A Chance To Try It Out
An easy way to scare off a potential volunteer is by asking for a long commitment. Instead, make sure that you give everyone the ability to take a trial run at a particular volunteer area. They may be a great fit for that particular role or you may need to help them find a place where they would fit better. Either way, by encouraging them to just test it out, they’ll be more likely to give it a chance
11. Follow Up With Past Volunteers
Volunteers come and go. Sometimes circumstances change and a volunteer needs to step down for a season. However, unless they’re asked to come back most of them won’t. Make it a habit to follow up with past volunteers a few months after they stop serving. Even if they don’t come back, they’ll feel cared for.
12. Follow Up With Everyone Interested
You need to have a plan to follow up with everyone who expresses interest in volunteering. Make it a habit of responding within 2-3 days with next steps. Without a clear plan, people will fall through the cracks or their interest will wane. Here’s a guide on how you can use the free app Trello to track the entire volunteer recruiting and onboarding process.
13. Reduce Volunteer Churn
This isn’t a way to find new volunteers, but it is a way to help reduce the number of new volunteers that you need. Whenever a volunteer leaves your ministry have them complete an exit interview that asks for things they liked, didn’t like, and areas that could be improved. This will help you to make changes to reduce churn in the future.
14. Stay Connected With Current Volunteers
By taking the time to communicate with your team often, and make them feel appreciated, they’ll be much less likely to leave. Simply writing a thank you card or sending a quick text can go a long way. Not only does staying connected keep your team members from leaving, but it also means that they’re more likely to refer friends and speak positively about serving to others.
15. Resolve Team Conflicts Quickly
One of the quickest ways to discourage someone from serving is knowing that there isn’t a sense of comradery. Seek to resolve conflicts quickly among volunteers. This will not only keep your team healthy but will make recruiting easier. A bad team reputation will make recruiting much harder and will lead to high volunteer churn.
16. Ask Your Current Volunteers How They Think You Can Recruit Better
Chances are your current volunteers have picked up some ways that you can recruit better. Ask them why they started serving and see if they have any ideas for recruiting new volunteers. By doing this, you may even find someone who wants to help lead the recruiting charge.
17. Create A Volunteer Page On Your Website
Having a simple place for people to learn about volunteering and sign up is an easy way to find new volunteers. Create a page on your website that casts vision, gives a look behind the scenes, shares some testimonials of current volunteers, mentions current needs, and has a simple call to action with a form to get in touch.
18. Send Out A Church-Wide Email
Send an email through your Church Management System about volunteer needs. Keep it short and simple with a single call to action. By emailing everyone, you’ll have a better chance of finding people who are interested in serving.
19. Post On Social Media And Encourage Volunteers To Share
Don’t forget about social media. Post a regular social media update about current areas that need volunteers and encourage your current volunteers to share and comment. This is a great place to use a personal video from one of the pastors sharing the vision behind why you should serve. You’ll find new volunteers and you’ll also communicate to those on the sidelines that your church is a place to connect.
20. Highlight Current Volunteer Stories Once Per Month
Speaking of social media, highlighting the story of one of your current volunteers is a great way to encourage new volunteers to get involved. This story can be shared from the stage on Sunday, in a pre-recorded video, or could be a blog or social media.
21. Record A Behind The Scenes Video
Show people what it’s really like to serve at your church. You don’t need a bunch of camera gear. Chances are you can find a volunteer with a knack for video production that would love to spearhead this project. Use the completed video during service, on your volunteering page, and on social media to help recruit new volunteers.
These are a few ways that you can try to recruit new volunteers at your church. What have you used in the past that has been successful? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
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