Care more for volunteers than the empty positions

People who volunteer and stay over the long haul tend to do it more for personal reasons, not organizational reasons. This is something that I am still working on with teaching my teams. Over my years in children’s ministry I have picked up that successful recruiting efforts tend to focus first on the motivations and talents of potential volunteers and then go on to organizational mission and vision.

So to help you out (and myself as I will now have another quick place to refer my leaders to, this post, so I will not have to type up long emails or spend much time explaining each time) I would like to suggest some quick ideas or suggestions to take when recruiting volunteers from all the pools of influence each of us have.

1. Talk to them about them, and then talk to them about you. Your goal is finding alignment between personal and organizational values, mission, and vision. Remember, YOU MUST BE MORE INTERESTED IN THEM AS A PERSON MORE THAN JUST FILLING A POSITION. You will never do anyone any good in lassoing them into a “POSITION” just because you have it available, but you will do eternal good in helping people find where they would be successful.

2. Begin by explaining what you give them, not what they give you. You provide opportunities to learn new skills, channels for giving back, and richness of life. You give them an opportunity to matter. If you don’t, close the doors because your organization doesn’t matter.

3. Before recruiting volunteers know the answer to this basic question. “Why do volunteers share their time, talent, and treasure with your organization?” I am amazed that I can ask this very question to my teams or to other teams and many times I hear no response. If those of us leading can not answer this or are unclear of this answer ourselves, why would potential volunteers want to partner with us in our organization?

4. After you understand potential volunteers, always lead with organizational mission and vision. Don’t focus on tasks, focus on vision. Don’t say, “I’d like you to man the front desk on Sundays for the second service.” Do say instead, “I think you can help us invest in the lives of families in our community by being on the front line and influencing them by greeting them when they come to check in and help them find where they need to go.”

5. If you can’t clearly articulate your mission and vision in compelling ways, you aren’t ready to recruit volunteers. Compelling vision establishes your true North and fires passions to charge off in that direction.

Convincing people to perform tasks doesn’t create dedicated volunteers. Connecting values, mission and vision does.

So are you ready to recruit or are you missing some of these and that is the reason you are getting the results you have been getting? I am a firm believer that you are perfectly designed for the results you receive.

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