All Posts /

How to Recruit Volunteers for Your Ministry: 3 Deceptively Simple Secrets

How to Recruit Volunteers for Your Ministry: 3 Deceptively Simple Secrets

Does your church dream of launching more ministries? You will need more volunteers. Does the pastor dream of having a more effective ministry? You need more volunteers. Does the board dream of growing as an organization? You need more volunteers.

Looking for good volunteers? Start with your current volunteers.

  • Five people recruiting is better than one assigned to the task.
  • Happy volunteers love their area of ministry and tell others.
  • Prospective volunteers seeing your current volunteers in action is the best recruiting tool you have.
  1. Five Recruiters Are Better Than One

When more people are recruiting, more volunteers are found. So how do you go about getting people you know to help you recruit?

  • Send an email to all of your connections with a description of the role you are looking to fill and ask for names of all those who might be interested.
  • At your next meeting, give all of your volunteers slips of paper and ask them to write down the names of potential volunteers.
  • At meetings, talk with your team about potential volunteers and empower them to go after others.
  • Distribute role descriptions to use when talking with prospective volunteers.
  • Pray with your current volunteers for new ones to join the team.

Talking about recruiting new volunteers should be a regular part of your conversation with current team members. Help them see themselves as part of the process. Let them know they “own” the ministry as much as you do. Let them know it’s a team effort, and cheer when new volunteers are brought on board.

  1. Your Best Advertising Is Satisfied, Happy Volunteers

The best advertising any ministry area can have is its own people. They are the most trusted source of accurate information and enthusiasm. When your volunteers love their ministry area, they will tell their friends.

Do your volunteers love their ministry? If so, do you encourage them to share stories about what they do with others?

  1. Give Them a First Look

Those who might be interested in “signing up” to help are often worried about it. They ask themselves questions such as, What if it doesn’t work out for me? Do I have the time? Is this a lifelong commitment? What if I hate it? What is the group I will be working with like? What will I actually do? Who is the leader? When does the group meet? How often?

A lot of these questions can be answered by simply inviting the prospective volunteer to see the ministry in operation.

A small warning here: take a moment to assess how your ministry area looks, feels, and sounds before others come to visit. Do you need to clean up? Do things need to be more organized? Take a look around to see whether it’s volunteer-inspection ready. If things just don’t look that appealing, you have some work to do to get ready for visitors.

So what do you need to do, practically, to set up a good first look?

  • Have a web address designed so people can sign up for a first look. Provide a space where they can put in their information and check off what areas they might be interested in enough to take a first look. Make it easy so all they have to do is hit Submit, and you’ll do the rest! If you don’t have website capabilities, put together a card with the same information request, and then follow up quickly.
  • Talk with a volunteer or staff member and give instructions on how to give the prospective volunteer a tour of the ministry area that’s of interest to him or her.
  • Print out a copy of the role or job description to give to the volunteer or email it ahead of time.
  • Schedule an opportunity for the person to talk with current volunteers and ask questions.
  • Send a follow-up email or make a phone call to find out what they thought, answer any further questions, and find out whether they are interested.
  • Educate all your volunteers to employ this first-look approach in their recruiting. It’s an effective way to invite potential volunteers to find out firsthand whether the ministry is a fit for them.

Recruiting is Just the Beginning

Volunteers make the impossible possible. They are “the hands and feet of Jesus,” and we need to make sure we are doing our best to develop them, training and strengthening those hands and feet so they can be effective in the work of God. We should acknowledge that there is always room for improvement in this. Need new ideas for how to recruit, train and retain volunteers? Check out The Volunteer Church.

—Leith Anderson and Jill Fox, The Volunteer Church.

How to Use This Book

The Volunteer Church is your practical guide for training, inspiring, recruiting, and retaining volunteers. Share the companion book, Volunteering, with each volunteer to equip them for effective, enthusiastic, and fruitful service in the church.