Recruiting and Taking Care of Volunteers This Holiday Season

holiday volunteers

With the holiday season in full swing, capable volunteers are in high demand because it is no secret that churches rely on volunteers to run efficiently and effectively. Particularly in December, volunteers are vital for successful church services, Christmas programs, food banks, and toy drives to take place. In order for this holiday season to be impactful to your community, it is important to ensure that your campus has a healthy culture of service and volunteerism.

During this time, it can be difficult to recruit and retain volunteers as families often go on vacations and need rest from their daily responsibilities. Here are some ways to invite volunteers to be a part of your team this holiday season, along with several ideas on how to take care of current volunteers so that they enthusiastically return in other seasons.

Grow your volunteer culture and recruit lasting volunteers by following these simple and effective steps.

  1. Encourage current volunteers to invite others to join them. Church members who are hesitant to volunteer will often consider a fellow congregant more relatable and approachable than a staff leader. Current volunteers can also provide thoughtful insights into the realities of the volunteer ministry and share the benefits of becoming a part of the team.

  2. Make ministry volunteering easier. If your volunteer sign-up process requires several elaborate steps, many people will often fail to complete the lengthy process. Your campaign to encourage members to volunteer will be more successful when members aren't required to sign documents or commit to a long period of volunteer time. Simplifying the sign-up process will ensure that many more church members follow through and ultimately gift their time and energy as soon as possible.

  3. Get to know church members on a personal level to discover what they are good at. When you know your church members not only by name but also by vocation and predispositions, you can suggest an area to plug them into that aligns with their interests and talents. They will be much more inclined to volunteer in a ministry that they feel connected to. Members will also likely know someone in their close circle that has similar likes and talents that they can invite onboard.

As your organization begins to capture the attention of church members and bring in additional volunteers, it is important that you keep the well-being of both current and new volunteers at the forefront of your endeavor. Here are some helpful tips on how to take care of volunteers.

  1. The easiest and most cost-effective way to show your volunteers appreciation is to encourage them by sending handwritten thank-you notes and making phone calls to express gratitude. Church leaders can send personalized Christmas cards that include a $5 gift card to a local coffee shop. In this day and age where technology is prevalent in most areas of life, a gesture that involves a tangible, customized card or a genuine phone call can make a world of difference.

  2. Provide a special dinner where volunteers are asked to dress in their Sunday best. Offer a banquet on campus where volunteers are invited to simply show up and enjoy a hot meal with their families. Instead of serving others, this is an opportunity for volunteers to be served by leadership. Take it a step further and offer childcare or send volunteers home with a thank you award or small gift bag. This memorable gesture of gratitude is sure to be a crowd-pleasing event.

  3. Offer coffee or a small continental breakfast for volunteers to enjoy before their work shift begins at community outreach events. Events like food banks and toy drives are long and often tiring. Offering coffee and breakfast before these occasions can perk up volunteers and remind them that their time is both valuable and appreciated.

  4. Fight burnout with a healthy schedule. Avoid overworking volunteers by developing a schedule that is respectful of their time and cognizant of their necessity for rest. Be sure to create engaging tasks and set clear expectations to avoid confusion. Make sure communication is clear and consistent so that everyone knows what their duties and allotted work times are. One of the best ways to combat burnout is by ensuring that everyone’s energy is spent on the task at hand, and not on resolving incertitudes.

Volunteers are vital to your ministry year-round, so it is important to acknowledge, appreciate, and nurture them in every area of ministry. This holiday season, make it a priority to be invested when you recruit volunteers and to be intentional as you encourage them. For more ideas on how to uplift your volunteers this holiday season, check out 21 Ways to Encourage Your Church Volunteers This Week.