Leaders of all Christian ministries and non-profit organizations learn very quickly that there is always too much to do and too few resources to accomplish all they set out to achieve. Their vision and mission is big and meaningful and important. However, the funding and expertise are generally lacking. What is a leader to do?
Volunteers. They are the key to many a successful undertaking. They are talented and affordable. They bring enthusiasm and a freshness that propel any undertaking forward with gusto. They can become long-term advocates for your cause, dedicating their lives to furthering you mission. Volunteers are a critical part of any organization and without them, we are severely limited in the goals we can reach.
If they are so important, how exactly do we recruit them? How do we instill in them the same drive we have for all that God has called us to do?
1) Cast vision. Your ministry is an important part of your life. God has led you to this place and given you a task to accomplish for His Kingdom. This mission is dear to your heart and you give all that you have to making it thrive. The first and most effective way to recruit others to join you in your mission is to cast a compelling vision for them. Help them to understand deeply why you’re doing what you’re doing. Show them where you’ve come from and where you’re going and how you’re depending on God to get you there. Create a sense of urgency and communicate the deep meaningful reasons why you’re compelled to persevere in even the darkest of times. Show recruits very clearly the anticipated end result and make sure they understand why that result is important. Help them to know they’ll be involved in something significant and eternal. Put the vision out there, and then let them respond.
2) Get to know them. People ultimately get involved in things about which they are passionate. As you’re seeking out volunteers for your ministry, take time to get to know those you’re recruiting and determine how their passions can be put to good use within your organization. Offer them substantial opportunities to put their skills, abilities, gifts, and experiences to good use in God’s work. Try to avoid the mentality of simply recruiting any able bodies to fill the variety of available positions. Match the work to the individual, assuring them that God created them to fulfill a specific purpose at a specific time. Help them to know that their unique qualifications are perhaps the best fit for your ministry’s needs.
3) Be specific. In general, people like to be given a specific role and like to know that they’ll be completing specific jobs and tasks. This is no time for ambiguity. When recruiting, avoid generalized job descriptions that typically end in “…… and other duties as required.” Be precise! Let them know exactly what you’re expecting from them. Outline the time requirements. Detail their line of accountability. Communicate the objectives and timelines associated with your project. Suggest measurable outcomes that can assist them in moving forward in a productive way. When your vision is accompanied with your detailed plan on how you’ll use volunteers to bring it to fruition, people will be enthusiastic about playing their part in accomplishing important things in this world.
4) Show them you value them. Above all, people need to feel that they are valued. Yes, it’s true that they are volunteering their time out of the goodness of their hearts. They probably do not have ulterior motives or selfish ambitions. But that doesn’t mean you can’t show them how much you appreciate them. This appreciation can start as early as the recruiting process. With genuine gratefulness, make sure your recruits know just how significant their contribution will be. Make it worth their time, effort, and sacrifice. They could spend their time on a million different things. What will make them choose you and your organization? Ensure that they know they’ll be a valued part of the team and that you’ll invest in them in any way that will make them thrive and be successful.
Recruiting volunteers is not an easy task. However, with a few strategic techniques, you can build a team that is committed to your cause and that will work hard by your side in realizing the vision and mission to which you’ve been called. Volunteers properly recruited and utilized effectively will ultimately stay with you to the end and will become your champions now and far into the future.