Any church will tell you that finding the right volunteers is a difficult task. On top of that, the heartache it causes church leaders when volunteers don’t return to their serving roles. If there’s any single truth about volunteerism, it’s that it’s all about supply and demand; your church almost always needs more volunteers than you currently have today. So what does the future of volunteer recruitment look like?
Though some truths about volunteerism may never completely change, there are aspects of finding and placing volunteers that are forever different. In a world where your congregation lives on their mobile phones, what tools do you have in your toolbelt to meet new or seasoned volunteers where they are? How can your staff and volunteer leaders work together to find the right volunteers so they’ll serve longer and make a greater impact on your ministry?
Collect Skills and Interests
At the center of any successful volunteer ministry, you’ll find church and volunteer leaders who truly know their volunteers. They know where their heart for ministry lies, as well as what tangible skills or talents they offer different ministries. Traditionally, this information is found reactively; the church waits until the need arises. At that time, it’s usually too late to find the most qualified person to serve in that role.
Churches that use Realm can proactively empower their congregation to communicate their skills – talents they have such as cooking, carpentry, or medical experience – or their interests – ministries they’re passionate about, such as children’s nursery – to the church at any time. And as your congregation changes and grows as individuals, they can update those skills and interests as needed.
Realm allows staff to simply search for individuals that have desired skills or interests needed for serving opportunities. They can communicate with them directly, which adds a personal touch to your ministry outreach.
Communicate your volunteer needs to your congregation
If your church is like most churches, you might communicate your serving needs from the pulpit during worship service. There’s a place for this kind of communication; however, you’re doing a disservice to your future volunteers – and your church as a whole – if this is the primary way you’re communicating these needs.
First, your congregation is only informed if they’re watching your service online or attending in person. On average, due to vacations, sickness, and life in general, roughly half of your total membership will attend (physically or remotely) any given Sunday service. This means the other half never heard your pastor mention those opportunities!
However, churches that use Realm can communicate with their congregation at any time, helping them stay on top of what’s happening in your church. By simply creating a Realm account, congregants can log in either through their web browser or on the Realm Connect mobile app, the Realm app built specifically for your congregation. From there, they can view the posted volunteer opportunities. And if you have a congregant who’s new to the church or doesn’t have a Realm account yet, not to worry – they can still be notified by email any time your church posts new information.
Match volunteers with new opportunities
When a congregant is looking for opportunities to serve in your church, where do they normally go? Though it’s different for every ministry, you might have some type of corkboard-style “job board” where they can view all the upcoming volunteer opportunities. If that’s not your style, you might have serving opportunities scrolling on your televisions throughout your church on a continuous loop, one serving opportunity after another. These aren’t bad solutions, and if they’re working for you, keep it up.
However, there just might be a better way. Using solutions like you saw above are, again, a very reactive approach to doing volunteer ministry. For a congregant to see that information, they’d have to stumble upon that job board or those television screens just at that perfect moment…and you don’t want to chance the success of your volunteer ministry on a “perfect moment.”
Churches who have moved to Realm don’t have to rely on these reactive ways of communicating their volunteer needs. They’re proactive about their volunteer ministries, and they know how important they are to the success of their church.
Realm allows staff to simply create their serving opportunities in Realm. For congregants that have matching skills or interests needed for the opportunity, Realm automatically serves up those opportunities to them. Your congregants can even specify when they’re available to serve so they won’t be shown opportunities that aren’t conducive to their schedule.
Finding the right volunteers is an age-old problem and it’s probably not going away any time soon. However, when your church uses Realm Volunteers, you’ll be able to better match the right volunteers with your opportunities.
To find out more about how Realm Volunteers can help you empower your new and seasoned volunteers alike by growing your ministry.
David is an Associate Product Marketing Manager and has been an ACS Technologies team member since 2011.