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There are many hands and hearts that go into a children’s ministry throughout the year. When you consider the great reward of seeing children responding to God’s love, it can be hard to imagine why anyone would walk away from this type of ministry. Yet, from year to year volunteers can get burnt out. How do you get the right people into the right roles and keep them there? See our tips on ways you can recruit and keep your volunteers:
1. Target the right people. Start your search by talking to parents, teens and others who you feel would enjoy teaching and serving children. Look for those that set a good example of God’s love and those that understand the importance of building a good foundation in the church’s youth.
2. Help volunteers envision the big picture. Set a mission statement for your children’s ministry and then provide clear examples of how individuals can be a part of that mission. Make sure your mission statement is visible in your children's area and review it regularly with your staff and volunteers.
3. Don’t be afraid to make an ask. Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes a person you’d least expect turns out to be the most committed, wonderful volunteer. Don’t limit yourself by sticking to the obvious choices.
4. Define expectations from the start. People are more likely to commit when they know exactly what they are getting into. They may not mind bringing snacks or craft materials, but they will want to know upfront that it’s part of the commitment.
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6. Honor each volunteer’s time commitment. Ask each volunteer what they feel comfortable giving time-wise. They know what they can handle best. Some truly feel “called” to Children’s Ministry, while others just may want to help periodically. Set proper parameters and honor each individual's commitment.
7. Be organized. Prepare FOR your volunteers so they are not kept guessing.
8. Provide quality curriculum with options. Using quality curriculum helps to set your volunteers at ease by offering many suggestions, tips and ideas for lessons. It will also free up your time so you can focus on managing people and progress instead of planning every little craft and activity.
9. Always have good supplies and resources on hand. Stock your supply cabinet with plenty of supplies so that volunteers aren’t stuck without the necessary tools while they're serving. Raise money to purchase supplies using SignUpGenius Payments.
10. Match volunteers appropriately. Not only should you make sure that a new volunteer has a seasoned person to learn from, but it also pays to consider the match between the volunteer and the age of the group they are helping with.
11. Communicate! Be thorough, caring and efficient in your communication with volunteers. Send weekly emails and encouragement. Make it easy for volunteers to know when they are scheduled. Say thank you.
Build a weekly schedule on SignUpGenius.com so volunteers can check in at ANY time. View Sample!
13. More people means less work. Your volunteers may get burned out if you ask too much of them, so it’s important to divide the workload into smaller portions per person. And make sure to overstaff for larger events like Vacation Bible School. You will need extra people on hand so your team can take necessary breaks.
14. Plan for back up assistance. Develop substitute lists so people feel like they have back up in case of an emergency, or simply a change of plans. Volunteers will be more comfortable making a commitment further in advance if they know they have an option for back up.
15. Uplift your group. Pray for your teachers and pray with your teachers. Encourage your church to pray for and thank your children’s ministry volunteers regularly.
16. Be present. Sure, you are delegating responsibilities, but don’t hide behind the scenes while the others carry the workload. Make sure volunteers know that you are an active part of the team. Step in in a pinch. Make sure to visit the classrooms to say hello to the children and volunteers. Your presence will be noted.
17. Make changes as needed. Is one of the teacher matches just not working, or do you not have enough subs on the substitute list? Recognize the need for change and do what you can to resolve the issue at hand as soon as possible.
18. Show Volunteers how they make a difference. Circle back to the mission statement and offer examples of how your team is making a difference in the lives of children. Encourage your volunteers to share stories (did a child say something funny?... insightful?... encouraging?) and then share those stories with the group.
19. Ask for Feedback. As much as you may not want to hear about the things that did NOT work, it’s important to gather feedback from your group so that you can improve upon upcoming events or classes.
20. Celebrate a job well done. Find a nice way to say “thank you” to your group. Organize a potluck meal at the end of the school year for your Sunday School teachers or a Ice Cream social after VBS. You team needs to know how much you appreciate their help! It's easy to plan an event for your group with SignUpGenius.com! Here's a SAMPLE.