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9 Questions to Ask When Needing Volunteers

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How can we get more volunteers?

When asking that question, it seems as though everyone is looking for that perfect resource or idea that would cause people to step up in droves to volunteer. What we often miss is all of the other things in our ministries that are negatively affecting volunteerism. Those other things could be a barrier to everything else we do to recruit volunteers. Here are some questions to ask when figuring out if something else is negatively influencing volunteering in YOUR ministry.
  1. Are our mission and vision clear and compelling? A clear mission and compelling vision will motivate people toward action or help them see how they don’t fit.  A lack of clarity breeds confusion, which leads to inactivity.
  2. Do most people know our strategy? If they don’t know the plan, it’s harder for them to see where they fit in.
  3. How many volunteers would it take to staff every role on every team and ministry? Do an inventory of the places you have filled and the places your need filled.  Do you have job descriptions that are easy to read and that are inspiring?
  4. Is our leadership made up of doers or leaders? We need to be both, but leaders who lean toward doing everything themselves will be a barrier to volunteering.
  5. How do we communicate about opportunities to serve? If we don’t share the opportunities, people won’t know to step up. If we talk too much about need, they may run for the hills. It’s also important to remember that the stage is not the only way to communicate; some people need to be asked in person. THE best way to gain volunteers is having volunteers personally recruit someone to ‘work with them’.  This has the potential to DOUBLE your ministry immediately.
  6. Do we really encourage students to serve? Have you thought about talking with Pastor James about activating students in your ministry?
  7. How do we talk about serving? If we do not talk about serving as a critical part of discipleship, then we are missing out. Sharing stories that celebrate volunteers goes farther than talking about needs.
  8. What do our environments look like? The reality is that many people will not serve if their first impression of the environment is a bad one. Their mind may already be made up.
  9. Does serving in your ministry mean that I am stuck for life?  Think about setting ‘seasons’ of serving. Ask for a certain amount of commitment that allows volunteers a way to change to other ministries is needed.  Also, think about offering ‘time off’ for some volunteers that are near burn-out or struggling with other areas of life.  It could make a huge impact if a leader told a volunteer to ‘take off for a couple of weeks or even a month’.
Volunteering is influenced by far more than we realize sometimes. There is no magic bullet or quick fix. Creating a great volunteer culture involves every aspect of the church.
I encourage you to meet with your team in a CheckPoint and discuss these questions.  Figure out how to create a culture where gaining volunteers is normal and healthy.
+Pastor Robin
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