Having spent many years recruiting volunteers as a pastor and lay leader in the church, I have learned that adopting a long-term approach to recruitment is essential. It may not produce results immediately (I will look at some of those strategies in a future blog), but over time, it will help you develop a ministry that attracts volunteers. When you have this kind of volunteer-friendly culture, the short-term recruitment strategies will be much more effective.
Here are ten long-term strategies for recruiting volunteers:
#1 - Pray for God to raise up workers
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of prayer in the recruitment process. When God begins to tug on someone’s heart to serve, it’s pretty hard to resist.
#2 - Help people discern their calling and strengths
A long-term approach to recruitment moves away from filling spots to helping volunteers understand their God-given calling. When people serve in their areas of passion, they are often much more satisfied and productive (check out my blog on personal calling to explore this further).
#3 - Serve your current volunteers well
If your current volunteers feel appreciated and supported, word will get out to others that your ministry is a great place to serve.
#4 - Build a strong sense of team
One of the primary reasons why people volunteer is to experience community. Strengthen your existing team of volunteers and the team dynamic will draw in others.
#5 - Start mobilizing early
One of the most successful High School basketball teams in British Columbia, Canada is from a small private school. They play at the very highest level in their age category and consistently win. One of the reasons for their success is that the coach starts training players for the team when they are as young as seven years-old. He mobilizes early. If we can mobilize children and youth to serve, we are much more likely to have capable adult volunteers in 5-10 years.
#6 - Grow in your own leadership capacity
Volunteers are often attracted to ministries whose leaders are growing closer to God and who are becoming more effective as leaders (check out my blog on the Seven Dimensions of Christian Leadership to see how you can grow in each leadership dimension).
#7 - Have a strong ministry vision that produces results