Below are 19 ideas to help you with recruiting and keeping your volunteers.

Vision for Recruiting Volunteers

A Vision for Volunteers

Julia Bettencourt

Posted June 28, 2011

What's your vision for your volunteers that participate in your women's groups and activities?  Do you look at them as helpers only?  How valuable are they to you?

Volunteers are special people.  Each one has their own responsibilities, families, and things that take up their time but yet they volunteer some of that time to contribute to their church and women's group.  Never take them for granted.  See what their contribution can help you accomplish for the Lord!

1  Participation

You can't have volunteers without having them participate.  If you have a call for volunteers or a meeting for them to show up at then have something for them to do or have jobs or tasks ready to be assigned.

Also, if someone volunteers, allow them to participate.  I personally think if someone volunteers, there's a reason for it.  You may have people volunteer who you'd personally not hand pick yourself, but God might have chosen them.  Allow that person to be used.  Find something for them to do.

Also you may have ladies who've just started attending your church or maybe that doesn't even know the Lord personally.  Don't turn them away if they volunteer.  Of course you would not want to put them in a leadership position to head a team, teach a lesson or something like that.

There are other things like they can be involved in like allowing them to sit with your ladies and make favors or decorations for an event or even to help with set up for an event.

This is a great time to allow these ladies to spend time with Christian ladies.  Make them want what you have in Christ!  You may have all the "spiritual" reasons in the world for not wanting them to participate in some way, but they will not see that.

If you tell them no, they can't be a volunteer, they will only see a church that doesn't want their help.  A church that doesn't reach out and care for them.  Most likely, those ladies will probably end up going away, never coming back, and never accepting Christ.

2  Positions

Recruiting volunteers can be done in a lot of different ways.  It probably mostly depends on your church size.  Smaller churches you may just have to open it up to any volunteers.  When you have a larger group of ladies to choose from, you can hand pick some volunteers to head up a team for a certain task and then make a call for all volunteers.

However you get your volunteers be sure to place them in positions that they can most use their gifts and talents in.  You may even want to give out volunteer surveys and ask particular questions about areas they are the most comfortable working in or which they have talents in.

Be sure to consider personalities and temperaments when putting teams in place.

3  Prayer 

Make prayer a part of your planning with your volunteers.  Pray for your volunteers as well as have regular prayer time with your volunteers.

4  Passion

Share your passion for your women's ministry or whatever event or task that is at hand with your volunteers. Be enthusiastic!

There's several things listed on the Promotional Page to get your women's ministry before your church.  You'll need that exposure to enlist volunteers.

5  Purpose

Be sure to share what specific purpose your event or task has. Is there special meaning to it?  Is there a special message that you are trying to get across?  What do you see God doing through your event or task?  Let your volunteers get motivated and encouraged by those things.

6  Possession

Allow your volunteers to take possession of the event or task.  When someone feels like they take ownership, it will give them an extra desire to do their best.

7  Planning

Be sure that you as a leader takes charge of planning.  When you are organized, your volunteers feel more comfortable in the tasks that they will be doing.

Set regular times for planning meetings with your volunteers before an event.  Check up on progress, deal with any problems, and assign individual tasks.  Everyone should know what their particular job is and when it should be finished.

8  Preparation 

Be sure your volunteers have everything they need to accomplish their tasks.  Let your volunteers know ahead of time what the chain of command is, the policy for requesting checks, and any information they may need to accomplish their part.

If they need supplies for a task be sure it's on hand for them or that they have the money to purchase their supplies.  There's nothing worse than for volunteers to show up at a working meeting and not have the supplies they need to move forward.

9  Power

Give your volunteers the power to finish their tasks.  It's nice as a leader to be able to have the final say but don't stifle your volunteers.  Allow them to use their talents and gifts.

Sometimes it requires not having things your way or just as you envisioned.  There's always going to have to be some give and take.

There are some things you may never want to compromise on because you feel it's too important an issue and want it handled a certain way, but there are times when you are going to have to allow your volunteers some decisions on their own.

If you find yourself constantly in "need" of having to have things your way, you may want to step back and take another look at things.  Volunteers don't work well under overbearing leaders.

10  Provision

Take care of your volunteers.  If you schedule a workday and it goes through lunch be sure to feed your helpers!  Sandwiches and salad or a big pot of chili or soup, along with crackers and the fixings are great meals for this as it doesn't require a lot of clean up.  Take-out is another option if it's in your budget.

Remember to have bottles of water or a place to get water to drink and the coffee pot going.

If you only need snacks, think about using something like nuts and dried fruit or some type of trail mix.  Use something with protein as a booster for your ladies.  Get to know your volunteers and find out what they like to snack on.

Set bowls of M&Ms and nuts on the table for your ladies to dig into if you'll be meeting around a table such as for a planning meeting.

Be sure to have the air or heat on ahead of your work time if needed.

11  Peace

Keep the peace!  Don't allow arguing to creep in.  Sometimes when you get together and everyone has a lot of ideas going in a lot of directions, it can become difficult.  Make sure everyone is getting along and working with the right people.

Hopefully, when you put your teams together you've put together people that work well together but there may be times when everyone is working on a big project all together or times when a team can hit a road-block.

12  Patience

As a leader you will need to be patient with volunteers.  Remember, they will not always be working on your time schedule.  They each have their own issues, families, and responsibilities.

Expecting each volunteer to be at every meeting you hold is great in theory but remember things will not always work as you intended.

13  Practicality

Don't expect your volunteers to work miracles, even though sometimes it may seem like some of them do!  Be practical and have a reasonable vision according to time-frames and what they have to work with.

14  Please

Don't forget to use that "please" word constantly with your volunteers.

15  Praise

Be sure to praise your volunteers.  Not just in private, although that's important too, but be sure to acknowledge them in public from time to time.  Have your pastor recognize them in your main services after an event.

If you have a screen in your church which projects announcements and such, add in a thank you to your volunteers from time to time.  If you have a church website, see about making a page to honor your volunteers.

See the Candy Notes Volunteer Ideas

16  Pats

Give your volunteers those little pats on the back that they need from time to time.  Sometimes it is the little things that make a big difference.

Give cards, emails, and even smiles to your volunteers.  Sending thank yous is a must but also remember special days such as birthdays and anniversaries.  It shows you care on a personal level.  What a great pat on the back.

Make it a point to ask volunteers about their children, family, and work.  Show your concern for them in a personal way.

See the Motivation and Encouragement Page for ideas.

17  Perspective

Remind your volunteers Who they are ultimately serving.  Gentle reminders that this event or project is for the Lord helps give perspective.  A volunteer's service is not just to you as a leader or to their leadership team but it is for the Lord.

18  Play 

Have some time to get together with your volunteers that doesn't involve making 300 favors, decorating 20 tables, building sets for an event, and above that doesn't require clean up.  Have some play time!

Invite the volunteers to your home and have a chick flick or take them all out to coffee and don't discuss work but rather blessings and have a genuine time of fellowship.  It's a great way to get to know them better in a relaxed atmosphere.

19  Presentation

From time to time honor your volunteers in a big way by presenting them with the thanks they deserve.  Have either a banquet just for them or honor them during one of your big events such as your yearly ladies retreat or even at Christmas.

Having your banquet at a restaurant is usually a great choice for a Volunteer Banquet because that way no one has to "volunteer" to make preparations for it.

Your church may decide to have a presentation for your volunteers during a main service.

Copyright ©2011 Julia Bettencourt

Permission given to print this material for personal and local church use with copyright information and website url in tact.  No reprinting of this material online in any way.  Please share the page url instead.  See the Terms of Use for more information.

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