Three Things Every Volunteer Wish You Knew (Part 2)

We are in a three part series, click here to read Part 1.

Blurry-face “Every year at our church, the pastor teaches a message about why people should volunteer.  And they make it very easy to serve; I’ll say that for them.  Well . . . they make it very easy to sign-up to serve.  Every ministry presents a list of serving options within the church, they make a booklet out of it, and then give us a serving card to fill out and turn into the offering plate. Lots of people usually sign-up to serve on that one day, me included.
I signed up to serve, but after a week, when no one called me about serving, I called them.  They said they really needed me; they just hadn’t gotten through all the hundreds of cards they’d received yet.  They said someone would get back with me soon.  When two weeks went by and still no one called, I thought I’d give it one more try.  The person I spoke to told me just to show up on Sunday and they’d get me plugged in. (They added they were REALLY excited I was going to serve!)
When I arrived, I knew right away they didn’t really know what they wanted me to do.  They’d made a big appeal to get us to serve, but they didn’t seem too prepared to plug in all the new volunteers. It was chaos, and I think they lost a lot of potentially good volunteers. I know they lost me.”
I Wish They’d Been Organized Before They Recruited All Those People.
It seems like a good idea; the idea of signing up hundreds of volunteers all at once on one big Serving Sunday Morning. What church wouldn’t want to have tens, hundreds, possibly even thousands of people sign-up to volunteer all at once?
Mass appeals are not a bad idea. They are a great idea, and something your church should do at least once a year.  But executed poorly, they will cripple your volunteer ministry. Yes, cripple.
So before you plan your next Volunteer Recruiting day or event, you need to make sure you’re ready to manage the sudden influx of large numbers of eager and untrained volunteers!
Best Practices for a Successful Recruiting Day 

1. Stick with the basics.  Mass recruiting days are not the time to dream up and recruit for a large number of new positions.  When this happens, these new positions are not usually well thought out, they require tons of training time on the part of your staff, and they often leave volunteers feeling uncertain about their decision to serve.

2. Have an intake team assembled.  An intake team is responsible to personally contact every single person who signed up to serve within 24 hours.  This initial contact is critical to the retention of those who signed up.

3. Begin the serving process within 48 hours. Ministry leaders must contact their new volunteers within 48 hours and start the process of interviewing and training. (Email job descriptions, set up interviews, provide opportunity for new volunteers to observe, etc.)

4. Provide a “first serve” within one week of signing up. This means that within 1 week of signing up they will have been contacted, interviewed, received initial training and in place to shadow an experienced volunteer.

5. Follow Up immediately after a first serve.  Someone needs to contact the new volunteer within 24 hours after their first serve opportunity.  This contact is also critical to the retention of your new volunteers.

When it comes to mass appeals (big recruiting days) if you’re organized, and you execute them like a well-oiled machine, you’ll have new volunteers excited and serving passionately.