Volunteers are an essential part of church ministry, making events and Sunday mornings run seamlessly. Here are some time-tested tips to help you fill those important spots in your church volunteer schedule.
Consider two roles for one event.
Start recruiting the "ahead-of-time" volunteers two to three months ahead of your event to make sure they have the time and tools needed to get their job done. "Day-of" volunteers can be contacted up to a month ahead to make sure they save the date and to clarify the job they'd like to do.
Keep your schedule organized.
Giving volunteers choices about when and where they want to serve is easy with an online organizing tool like SignUpGenius. Remember that some volunteers may be attending with their families or want to enjoy the event, so keep time slots manageable. Consider scheduling families for things such as set-up or clean up times so they can serve as a team.
Have volunteers that can’t be there? Organize a donation sign up! SAMPLE
Reminders are your friend.
Even if you have given volunteers the date a million times, send out a reminder right before the event. Ask a quick question that they need to respond to so you know they are still planning to attend. A tool like SignUpGenius will actually send reminders for you via text or email.
Provide a “see-if-it-fits” opportunity.
People may be more apt to be put on the schedule if they understand what they will be doing. Consider offering an interest/training session on, for example, leading a small group, or being an effective teacher, or running the soundboard. This will give both you and the volunteers a chance to see if the job is a good fit.
Keep your on-going schedule organized.
An online sign up provider, like SignUpGenius, makes it easy to manage a seasonal or yearly schedule. Benefits include:
Scheduling on-going volunteers has never been easier! SAMPLE
Maybe "no" isn't your final answer.
For a one-time event, a "no" may not be a big deal. If you are trying to fill lots of spots in an on-going ministry, you may want to get creative if you get a "no" answer.
Determine who will be finding substitutes.
Volunteers are more likely to say yes if the burden of scheduling a substitute is off their back.
Establish a "sunset clause."
This is an agreement between the volunteer and the scheduler that after a certain amount of time (it can be 6 months to a year), the volunteer will have an opportunity to either renew or be released from their commitment. It gives everyone the opportunity to go in a new direction, if needed.
Never underestimate the power of kindness when asking people to consider being a church volunteer. You will reap great rewards in your scheduling efforts if you use these tips to get the right people into the right places for your ministry needs.
Julie David is married to a worship pastor and after 20 years in ministry together with three daughters, she is still developing the tender balance of thick skin and gracious heart. She currently leads a small group of high school junior girls.