We’ve all been there. Looking at your volunteer list or sending out scheduling requests with the daunting thought of “we don’t have enough volunteers”. We feel this, especially at times like the holidays or the summer. So what do you do? How can you find more people to serve? We have 3 proven strategies to mobilize volunteers that you can implement to grow your teams and find more people to serve.
1. Cast Clear Vision
To paraphrase Proverbs 29:18, “without vision, the people perish.” Vision is the picture we paint for people of what could be and how they can help make it happen. When implementing proven strategies to mobilize volunteers, crafting and casting a clear vision is paramount.
What do we mean when we say clear vision? Look at the examples below to see the difference:
“Come and serve on the welcome team here at Grace Church. We are looking for people who can serve a few times a month being greeters, ushers, and serving and the welcome table.”
“Come be a part of making the best first impression possible when people attend Grace Church. They say people decide whether a church is for them within 10 minutes of pulling into the parking lot. Come be on the front lines of making that an amazing experience for people.”
What’s the difference? Example B tells the story of what could be. It doesn’t stay in the details (although those are important) instead it shows the immediate impact people can make through the ministry. When looking at 3 proven strategies to mobilize volunteers, casting a clear and compelling vision is the foundation to start with.
2. Make a Personal Invitation
Often when implementing strategies to mobilize volunteers, we look to announcements from the stage during worship gatherings. These are usually broad appeals to a large group and while this can still be effective (see #3 for how to do this well), an individual approach can often yield better results.
Think about the way you respond to invitations. When someone engages you personally with an invitation how does that feel? It feels good! It shows that we are wanted and needed, that someone believes we can help, and that we are known. This connection is a significant starting point for someone to begin serving in your ministry. Personal invitation typically sees a much higher response rate vs. broad appeal and can be an effective strategy to mobilize volunteers.
3. Use Stories to Invite
Here is how volunteer recruitment pitches typically go:
“Hi everyone! As you know, our children’s ministry works each week to serve the kids of the church and to share the love of God with them. We currently have some needs in the ministry for volunteers to serve a few times a month. If you are interested please email us – thanks.“
Now there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that approach, but sharing a need is not as powerful as sharing a story. We resonate with stories and often see ourselves in them. Here is a different approach you can take using stories:
“Good morning everyone. As you know our children’s ministry works each week to serve the kids of the church and share the love of God with them. I asked one of our awesome volunteers, Jeremy, to share his experience serving in the ministry.”
‘Hi everyone, my name’s Jeremy and I’ve been serving in children’s ministry for the last year and a half. One of the coolest things happened recently as a result of serving. One of our elementary students, Emma, decided to get baptized. I have been Emma’s classroom teacher for the last year and this was exciting. What was a wonderful surprise to me was that Emma asked if I could baptize her along with her dad. She said she learned so much from our class every week and her spiritual growth was in part because of my teaching.'”
‘I was so shocked by this and I don’t share this to boast, but to show the incredible impact that we get to have by serving in children’s ministry. If you are interested in joining us, I would love to talk with you and get you plugged in.'”
Rather than stating a need and hoping people decide to meet it, stories show the impact that is waiting for whoever decides to step into the role. This has far more power to motivate people to action and is a proven strategy to mobilize volunteers.
Using these 3 proven strategies for mobilizing volunteers can be effective regardless of your ministry context or size. In addition to these strategies, you can also use technology to help communicate and manage volunteers. Combining both proven strategies and powerful technology is recipe for fruitful ministry.
Have some questions? We’d love to connect to share more about how technology can help in mobilizing volunteers. Click here to find a time to chat.