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The Key to Keeping Church Volunteers

Meredith Mahon Morris June 13, 2012

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The following is an excerpt from our monthly ACS Technologies eNews, written this month by a dedicated church volunteer and intern at ACS Technologies, Kaitlyn Grooms.

Volunteers can come and go pretty quickly in ministry. Most volunteers who keep coming back do so because they feel a sense of belonging and ownership to the congregation and their position. When volunteers feel that responsibility, they will work to the best of their ability and may even draw others to volunteer as well. However, poor planning and other issues can cause volunteers to become frustrated and leave their position.

So, what can you do to keep your church volunteers coming back? The key to keeping your volunteers is having a strong, structured program that supports your church volunteers. Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating or revising your volunteer plan:

Construct a Plan Based on Your Needs

  • Define a Mission Statement — A mission statement helps identify an overall goal and vision that your volunteers should strive to accomplish. Distinguish a purpose for your volunteers.
  • Assess Your Needs — Determine how you will use volunteers within your ministry. Differentiate between volunteer positions and paid staff positions to maintain pleasant associations between the two groups.
  • Describe Volunteer Positions — Descriptions of the positions allow interested volunteers to screen themselves. Each description should include a position title, a purpose, responsibilities, time commitment, qualifications (if applicable), and benefits.

Recruit and Train Selected Volunteers

  • Find Volunteers — You can find volunteers in a number of ways. Use current, committed volunteers to recruit others. Make announcements at your congregation’s services, meetings, and social gatherings. Send personal, hand-written letters. Just ask.
  • Select Volunteers –– If you have a large volunteer pool, you can use volunteer applications to select volunteers. You want to look for good organization and leadership skills, interest in your cause, a positive attitude, flexibility, and a desire to serve. Be sure to plug the right volunteer into the right position.
  • Let Your Volunteers Choose — Use online tools such as Access ACS to let your volunteers choose a position they want based on their skills, passion, experience, and qualifications. This is a good way to get your volunteers involved right from the start and to make sure they are happy with their position.
  • Conduct a Volunteer Orientation — Introduce your selected volunteers to your staff and, if possible, give a tour of the facility they will work in. Focus on the policies and procedures of your church as well as the duties that any of the volunteers may perform.

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