It seems like businesses aren’t the only ones who need help! The pandemic impacted more than church attendance and giving. It’s also hit our volunteer pool. Most groups within your church or parish are probably feeling the pain. And even if you aren’t feeling the pain, it would be great if you had more than the same few folks helping out with youth ministry, homebound visits, VBS, greeters, festivals, and other events, not to mention prepping for Easter. Unlike businesses, want-ads in the local paper or online don’t necessarily attract the best candidates. So how can you attract volunteers from within your church effectively? A Volunteer Fair is your answer.
By organizing a volunteer fair, you’ll enable all the groups in your church to meet and talk with potential volunteers about their passions, schedules, unique abilities, and experiences, allowing them to find the best and most eager volunteers. It’s as easy as adding tables to your coffee and donut hour post-service one week in the Spring and Fall.
How to set up your volunteer fair
1. Make sure you plan your Volunteer Fair a month in advance.
2. Be sure to reserve the church hall for the weekend and hold the fair after every Mass or Service. This is important so you’re not overlapping with the annual Girl Scout Cookie sale, Sunday School signups, etc.
3. Contact all the groups using volunteers in your church about the event. Talk to staff as well as the various group leads and get commitments.
4. Encourage them to promote their volunteer opportunities at their assigned table.
- Give each group a list of ideas to promote their volunteer opportunities.
- Recommend they do a signboard for their group explaining their ministry.
- Include pictures of volunteers in action.
- Have a few volunteers staff the booth so they can discuss their experiences.
- Remember to have a signup sheet/online form and capture contact info and any special skills they may have, like licenses, certifications, talents, related business experience, etc.
- Don’t forget to have each group show the benefits of their volunteering activities! For example, how many families are fed weekly by the food pantry, the companionship of a homebound church member, or X dollars raised for VBS through the Christmas pageant and concessions.
- Have an extra table for various opportunities – painting, decorating committee, pallbearers, spring garden clean up and planting, musicians for events, chaperones, and more.
5. Start promoting the event on your church website, bulletin, social media channels, announcements, and through the Realm® communications tools.
6. Plan for extra refreshments – coffee, OJ, and donuts.
7. After your event, evaluate the results and make notes on improvements for your next fair.
8. Now is a good time to update or add a volunteer opportunities page on your website or in your bulletin/newsletter
9. Most importantly, thank everyone the following weekend for attending and offering to serve!
Don’t forget to follow up
Now that the hard work is done remind your groups to follow up with their newly recruited volunteers. Nothing is worse than volunteering for something and never being followed up with. Also, talk up your volunteer opportunities to new members so they don’t fade into the background.
RAISE YOUR VOLUNTEER NUMBERS
Nothing at church would be complete without volunteers. They help your parish thrive.
In this guide, you’ll learn How To:
- Place your members into the right volunteer role
- Know your volunteers
- Create strong relationships with your volunteers
- Help your volunteers develop an ownership mentality
Help your ministry thrive by growing a strong volunteer community.
Carol has worked in the ACST Marketing department and managed most aspects of marketing over the last 20 + years. Before ACST, she spent many years handling marketing for companies across the US, including Novell, WordPerfect, Purolator Courier, ArtToday.com, and U.S.News & World Report. Carol is a cradle Catholic who has been active her entire life (a long time!) and has served in volunteer positions within her parish, including formation instructor, lector, code red responder, and numerous other volunteer roles.