You have an exciting, growing ministry but filling your volunteer roster is a challenge. Despite some eye-catching incentives and advertising some fun volunteer events, the number of willing hands remains low. What’s the deal?
That’s a great question and one that many of us are familiar with. Don’t give up! Sure, sometimes volunteer signups are seasonal but did you know that there are a few other factors that flat turn off a potential volunteer? Get familiar with what they are so you can avoid them. (Keep in mind that it might not only be you turning off potential team members but current team members.)
1. Rumor has it the kids are “bad.” You (or someone else) was just kidding but that hopeful volunteer decided to pass on the opportunity to help because he heard the kids were out of control. Set an example for your current team—always talk positively about your children. If you feel frustrated, talk to your pastor or someone who can listen without being influenced negatively by what you might say. Encourage your current volunteers to keep it positive too.
2. You’re asking for an unlimited tour of duty. That’s a big turn off for someone who is thinking about helping out. Always set a limit on a “tour of duty.” For example, ask volunteers to commit for 30, 60 or 90 days. That way if the volunteer doesn’t love the experience, she can bow out gracefully.
3. Nobody supports the volunteers. It’s difficult to build a team without the support of your church leadership. A lack of support may be one of the reasons why you don’t have a trove of helpers. Take steps towards improving how you show appreciation and recognition. Talk to your pastor and ask for ideas on how you can improve this connection. Teaching kids and working in ministry can be quite scary for new folks. Show your support from day one!
4. There’s too much paperwork. Naturally, there will be some paperwork involved in volunteering. However, you can make it too difficult. Simplify the system, without putting kids at risk. An online application form could be the answer.
It may take some time to “reboot” your volunteer team but you really can do it!