Ten Immediate Strategies for Recruiting Volunteers

  • 6 March 2015
  • Randy Wollf

Volunteers working togetherHaving recruited many volunteers over the years, I know the importance of immediate recruitment strategies. Yet, before I share these short-term strategies, I want to emphasize the importance of having a long-term recruitment strategy (see my blog on 10 Long-Term Strategies for Recruiting Volunteers). The following immediate strategies work best when combined with the long-term strategies.

1. Pray for God to raise up workers

We must never underestimate the power of prayer when it comes to recruiting volunteers. Prayer is both a long-term and short-term strategy for mobilizing people to serve.

2. Approach former program participants

Who are the people who have served in your ministry in the past? They may have taken a break from volunteering in your ministry, but that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t come back if asked.

3. Ask current volunteers to approach others

Ministry leaders sometimes think that they’re the only ones who should recruit people for their ministries. A better approach is to encourage everyone on the team to recruit within their networks.

4. Look for people who have an affinity with your ministry

When I agreed to chair the Missions Committee at my church, I asked the church staff and the former chairperson for a list of people in the church who had gone on missions trips. I knew some in this group would be excellent candidates for a missions-focused committee.

5. Approach people in person

In most cases, a face-to-face invitation to participate in a ministry is much more effective than an impersonal public plea for help.

6. Create short-term volunteer opportunities

Most people will not jump into a long-term volunteer position right away. They are much more likely to help with a one-time event or to participate occasionally. In fact, Helen Little in her book called Volunteers: How to Get Them; How to Keep Them, says that 75% of volunteers in a member organization like a church will be occasional volunteers.

7. Expose people gradually to your ministry

A youth pastor that I know has regular banquet nights for his students and youth ministry leaders. However, he also invites potential leaders as a way of exposing them to the ministry. The idea is that people are much more likely to volunteer if they see what’s happening in a ministry and begin to feel a pull towards it.

8. Build volunteer opportunities around people

As I mentioned in my blog called 10 Long-Term Strategies for Recruiting Volunteers, we need to help people serve according to their calling. This may mean creating opportunities within our ministries that capitalize on peoples’ passions and gifts.

9. Follow-up quickly with those who express interest

A quick follow-up response communicates to potential volunteers that you are organized, responsive, and interested in them―behaviours that may be important factors as they decide about volunteering in your ministry.

10. Look for great people

Even though I have focused on immediate strategies, it is important to remember that we should always look for great people who love God, have a heart to serve, and who possess the kind of calling and gifts that can add to our ministry.

What are some other immediate strategies that you have found helpful?