If you were looking for work, would you be interested in a job where the responsibilities were only vaguely described, where hours and benefits weren’t mentioned at all, and no one had clear answers to your questions? Me neither. Yet that’s how we recruit volunteers – with a short, general request for help in our announcements.
Every volunteer position needs a one-page job description that describes the task, the time involved (including such things as training meetings they’re expected to attend) and the length of commitment. A printed copy is a reference as the potential volunteer thinks and prays about the opportunity; it also reassures them there will be no surprises. When they see in print the name of the person who supports and supervises the position, they know someone will be available to help them. Qualifications, both skill-based (“must be comfortable using a computer”) and personal (“must respect confidentiality”) are also an important part of the job description.
Two other components of a job description, the purpose and the benefits, are easily overlooked but are valuable when recruiting. We all want to contribute to something important, so determine the ‘big picture’ purpose of the task and tie it to your church’s mission. Ushers do more than hand out bulletins; they make it easier for people to focus on God during worship. Sunday school teachers do more than teach a lesson; they help children get to know their Savior.
Volunteering has many benefits, even though it doesn’t include pay or health insurance. What are the benefits of the position you’re recruiting for? Is it an opportunity to get to know people? Have fun? Hold a baby? Add a skill to their resume? Make a difference in someone’s life? Get first pick of the donuts? Spell out the benefits; we don’t often think of them on our own. By the way, a touch of humor adds to a job description. It’s okay to have fun in the church.
If your church already has a job description for the position, have a current volunteer review it. It’s amazing how quickly things change. Don’t have time to prepare a job description? You didn’t start early enough. (See “Recruiting 101: Avoid This!”)
Make it a rule to have a job description in hand every time you recruit. You’ll greatly increase the odds of ending up with the right person for the position, and that means you won’t have to recruit again as soon!
Search for Recruiting 101 in the search box at right for all four articles in this series.