Ten Long-term Strategies for Recruiting Volunteers

  • 25 February 2015
  • Randy Wollf

VolunteersHaving 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, but over time, it will help you develop a ministry that attracts volunteers. After you have developed a volunteer-friendly culture, these short-term recruitment strategies will be much more effective.

Here are 10 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're 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. His long-term success is based on his commitment to mobilize 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

People want to be part of something that is going somewhere. A strong vision with accompanying strategic action will convey the message that your ministry is making a difference.

8. Connect with people outside your ministry

It’s easy to become absorbed with the people and tasks associated with our ministry area. Yet, if we’re not making new connections, how can we hope to expand our volunteer base?

9. Encourage current volunteers to recruit others

You probably can’t do all the recruiting by yourself. Ask your volunteers to look for people in their networks who might be a good fit for your ministry.

10. Communicate what God is doing

If people hear good reports about what is happening in your ministry, they will be more likely to get involved.

Can you think of additional long-term recruitment strategies that you have found helpful? 

Please note that you can watch my full presentation on Mobilizing and Serving Volunteers if you're a current MinistryLift member