5 Creative Ways To Engage First Time Volunteers
By: Jeff Gilmer July 23, 2018
Recruiting volunteers is a big part of many ministry leaders' roles. Whether for student ministry, special events, or any other ministry, recruiting volunteers who are engaged and excited to serve is crucial to a ministry's success. Often, making a bulletin post or a mention in the services closing message is not going to cut it in terms of recruiting high capacity and willing volunteers.
With that in mind, here are five ways you can attract and engage with potential volunteers.
1. Make Volunteering a Part of Your Assimilation Process
If your church has an assimilation or on-boarding process, make sure one of the steps is getting a short term volunteer commitment from your new members. Even if it’s just a once a month commitment, it is vital to get them in the habit of serving and so they will feel like they are involved and contributing to the church.
2. Create a Video Highlighting Service
If you make it apparent that volunteering can be both enjoyable and impactful, more people will desire to be involved. Make sure you are sharing personal stories from current volunteers to show how volunteering has affected them, and what it means for them to serve in the church. In the same way, you might show how your church’s missions team is impacting a community in another country and how your volunteers in the church are making an impact in your home church.
"If you make it apparent that volunteering can be both enjoyable AND impactful, more people will desire to be involved."
3. Give Volunteers Immediate Ownership
If someone has given you one of their most valuable resources, their time, make sure you are using it wisely and taking advantage of the opportunity. Nobody wants to feel like they volunteered for two hours just to do some seemingly meaningless busy work or task. They want to feel like they are making a real difference in the growth of the church – that is what’s going to bring them back time and time again.
"If someone has given you one of their most valuable resources, their time, make sure you are using it wisely and taking advantage of the opportunity."
4. Hold Volunteer Fairs or Mixers
Host an event like a career fair where people can come and learn about all the different volunteer opportunities with different ministries in your church. You can make it casual like a mixer, or even design booths that highlight pictures and people the ministry is directly helping.
Show potential volunteers that there are various ways to serve. Whether it’s driving and delivering meals to people in need or coaching a team in your sports ministry, there are multiple ways to serve. In fact, there are so many opportunities and ways that people might not know exist that might better fit their passions and gifts.
5. Recruit for Short-Term Projects
Having someone volunteer to be a part of a ministry indefinitely can be daunting for a first-time volunteer. That’s a huge commitment! Consider having some short-term volunteer opportunities. It doesn’t have to be a one-time event, but by emphasizing the fact that your church needs volunteers for the high school ministry just for a short amount of time, you'll allow potential volunteers to mentally set their commitment expectations.
Volunteers make most ministries possible. Finding creative and new ways to engage them can feel like a difficult task, but because of their valuable impact, it's worth the time and effort.
What are some outside of the box ways your church is engaging with first time volunteers?