In this series of articles, I am addressing the difficulty that some of our leaders are having in recruiting or enlisting volunteers.
Fortunately, the vast majority of our ministries and programs are well-staffed, with competent, dedicated personnel. Praise God for that!
Nevertheless, to be short-staffed (even on the margins) can be frustrating for our ministry leaders.
In last weeks’ article, I suggested that ministry leaders need to change their recruiting tactics because the culture has changed with respect to volunteerism.
People today are bombarded with opportunities to volunteer and, as such, are often no longer responsive to general pleas for help. They are also wary about getting into something that they’ll find nearly impossible to get out of (the church can be notorious for that). Finally, they don’t want to waste their time doing something that they perceive as having little value or significance.
With this in mind, here are some “keys” to effective recruiting:
§ Advertising & general announcements can be useful for “priming the pump,” but should always be worded positively. Instead of “we need help in such-and-such area” (which conveys desperation), word it positively as an opportunity to serve.
§ If it’s an ongoing role or task, prepare a simple job description, including expectations, to whom accountable and the term of service. Prospective volunteers typically want to know these things before they say “yes.”
§ Make a prospect list and approach your prospects personally! This is the most effective recruiting tactic by far, especially if the recruiter and prospect know each other.
§ Explain how the role or position fits into the big picture. For example, serving in the nursery not only enables young parents to attend worship & grow spiritually, but it’s an opportunity for the church to begin nurturing their child in the faith, which goes to the heart of the church’s reason for existence.
§ Offer to give the prospect time to prayerfully consider the opportunity. I’ll usually offer to call back in a day or two to get their answer. I think this conveys respect to the volunteer prospect.
As I said last week, recruiting is definitely harder today than it was in generations past. Still, if you follow the above suggestions, you’ll be an effective recruiter and will probably even find it rewarding.