One of the most valuable assets of every church is its volunteers. Think about your church and its programs. It’s hard not to see that without volunteers, we wouldn’t have enough staff to support most of our programs, activities, and even some administrative duties necessary to run a church. So how can we recruit and motivate volunteers so they’ll stay?
Passionate volunteers are a must!
Obviously! So recruit volunteers that fit the role. For example, having an introverted greeter will most likely make them uncomfortable. Or someone without experience with children may not be the best choice for the nursery. Clearly, unhappy volunteers won’t stick around. So find their passion! What do they like?
One way to help is to make sure you share details about your volunteer positions. What is expected of this role? What are some traits that would be helpful? And what type of commitment are you looking for (frequency and duration)? Be clear so you are attracting people who are passionate about what you’re doing and understand what you’re asking for. A happy volunteer will ensure a longer commitment. They may also be a good recruiting tool for other volunteers!
Overworked and underpaid!
Remember, your volunteers are giving their time and talent for free. So don’t overwork them. This is the quickest and easiest way to lose volunteers. Put more emphasis on recruiting volunteers if you’re experiencing this. It isn’t unusual to have a few people volunteering for everything; you don’t want to turn them away. But recognize not all your volunteers have unlimited time or availability. So next time you need help, ask your volunteers to invite their friends.
Volunteering using the buddy system.
Having a partner or friend working alongside you makes it more fun! It’s also an easy way to train your volunteers. New volunteers get to see how it’s done without the pressure of handling it independently the first few times. Starting your volunteers off this way will make them comfortable and helps the experienced volunteer feel needed, valued, and helpful.
Get your pastor, priest, and church leaders involved in your volunteer programs.
You’ve heard of leading by example. Well, it applies to volunteering too! Having your church leadership involved in volunteer positions is an excellent way to show the congregation and parishioners their passion for the programs within your ministry. This interaction is a great way to experience another side of fellow leaders and worshipers. We often interact with our church leaders in their church roles. But flipping burgers with the church administrator puts them in a different light. Especially if the burgers are overdone. Sometimes we forget we’re all human!
Thank you, thank you!
A must for volunteers is showing them your appreciation. Say “Thank you.” And do it often – during your events, on social media, in your bulletin, and even with a personal note! Showing your appreciation makes your volunteers feel like their efforts are recognized and appreciated. These are just a few ideas for recruiting and motivating volunteers at your church. Leave suggestions for ways your church recruits and motivates its volunteers.
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WHAT CAN YOU DO TO GET VOLUNTEERS FOR YOUR CHURCH?
Ahhh…don’t let Fall activities sneak up on you. Before you know it, school will be starting. Leaves will be changing. Cooler air will be just around the corner, and your ministry’s volunteer opportunities will likely be greater than ever.
So now is the time to engage with your congregation to prepare for all the ministry events that will be taking place. Don’t wait to get the volunteers you need to make them thrive!
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.