The three other articles in the Recruiting 101 series cover common practices to avoid; the important job description, and how to invite people to serve. Many other aspect of recruiting (such as helping new members get involved, ministry fairs, parents and seniors as volunteers, etc.) can be found by clicking on the ‘recruitment’ tag at right. But here’s a baker’s dozen of miscellaneous recruitment tips.
- A satisfied volunteer is the best recruiter. Have current volunteers invite their friends to join them in serving or ask them for names of people you can invite. If one of your Sunday school teachers is enthusiastic about the ministry and great at communicating, ask him or her to help with, or lead, recruitment for the ministry.
- Write well. Your job description and recruitment invitations must first of all be honest, but they don’t have to be boring. Someone with writing or marketing skills can help you prepare interesting, engaging, and even humorous invitations.
- Respond promptly and warmly. When someone responds to your invitation or when you hear that a new member is interested in your ministry area or when someone comes to you with a question, concern or a donation, the way you respond will either grow or squash their interest.
- Let them work in their pajamas. Go virtual. If the task can be done at home, whenever the volunteer has time, you’ll attract many more volunteers. Sunday school teachers probably can’t work from home, but perhaps others, such as those who record attendance or help prepare crafts, can.
- Learn what motivates. As an ice-breaker at the first meeting of a newly-formed team, I once asked “Why did you say ‘yes’ to serving here?” All the answers were interesting; some surprised me, and I ended up with tips for future recruiting.
- “If you are . . .” The purpose of the team in tip #5 was to improve scheduling of volunteers in worship-related ministries. In my email recruitment invitation, after describing the need, I wrote, “If your mind is already churning over possible solutions, you’re probably the right person for this team!” Several mentioned that statement as the reason they said yes. The question can be adapted for other recruitment invitation.
- Share the need. Not your need for more Sunday school teachers or food pantry volunteers, but the needs filled by the volunteers’ task: the children’s relationship with Jesus; the people who won’t have to choose between buying medicine or groceries. A compelling need, clearly presented, speaks to our desire to make a difference, to contribute to something worthwhile.
- Photos. We skim text, but pictures grab the eye and heart. Include a photo of people in action on your job description and in your invitation.
- Tell the story. Don’t just inform. Seek out the stories of the volunteers and of people served by the ministry and share them in your invitations. Stories move us.
- Use the social media tools popular among your people. They’re popular because they communicate.
- Action! Most high school students can make a PowerPoint presentation, and it’s easy to capture and share video via your phone. So we have easy tools for using video to share stories and extend invitations. If you’re not proficient in their use, you know someone who is.
- Visual aid in the lobby. Technology is great, but a big something in the church lobby is a great reminder and motivator, especially if it’s interactive. A 6-foot outline of the ‘body of Christ’ on paper for people to write on; a large velcro-covered display board; or a movable white board – each of these could be creatively used as part of a church-wide invitation to serve.
- Build a culture of serving. Your church culture, “the way we do things,” affects your recruiting, for better or for worse. Leaders, the more you invest in building an equipping culture and system, one aimed at helping people figure out and do what God is calling them to do, the more effective – and fun! – all recruiting will be.
Search for Recruiting 101 in the search box at right for all four articles in this series.