I’ve been told the retreat I take students on is disliked by everyone. I’m not a fan of absolute statements because it makes everyone look like a...
3 Methods For Recruiting Volunteers During The Pandemic
Like many other parishes, we saw attrition in the size of our volunteer teams. It was not a surprise, and it makes sense considering everyone’s lives have been turning around. People are unsure about committing to a volunteer situation because:
- Schedules and responsibilities have changed.
- The programs they were a part of being suspended
- Physical health and safety is a high priority.
But, we still need volunteers because the only way we’re going to navigate through this tumultuous season is if we have help. It’s also essential to recruit volunteers because as you start developing new initiatives and projects, having volunteers will help you reach your goals in a timely fashion. And I think we all understand the need; however, the big question I get asked is, “How can I recruit volunteers when the interaction is limited?” While there is no silver bullet, here are three approaches that do work whether you are in or outside a pandemic:
SEEK REFERRALS FROM THOSE WHO KNOW YOU AND YOUR MINISTRY
When I first started at my current parish, I reached out to staff and parish council for referrals of people they thought might be interested in youth ministry. I was able to compile an extensive list and made phone calls. At the end of it, I got an overwhelming amount of rejection; however, at the same time, there were enough willing participants.
No one likes rejection, but that isn’t a reason to hold back from picking up the phone and making some calls. At the same time, getting referrals create leverage in your ask. It tells that person that there is someone that sees something positive in them. It helps them recognize a hidden gift or talent. A referral from another person is the encouragement someone who has doubted themselves might need to say, “Yes” to your invitation.
Reach out to your coworkers, parish council, current volunteers, and even students to ask them, “Who should I invite to serve with us in ministry?” Use that list and start setting up conversations.
COMMUNICATE THROUGH ALL PLATFORMS
While many of us don’t have the ability to make a pulpit announcement, we can get creative through social media, email marketing, and traditional mailings. Utilize video to make a pitch (Pick up your phone, record, and post to social media) and invite people to serve. Create mailings and images (I use Canva.com) to create a look and campaign. Don’t settle for one method; diversify and amplify your message. Have fun and be creative with your pitch.
CREATE AN EVENT THAT CASTS YOUR VISION
The problem with a cold call, postcard, or social media push is that people need time to process your ask. One of the best ways to walk someone through their discernment, especially if they are reluctant, is to invite them to an Open House. While in-person events are limited, you can create this opportunity online.
Organize an event where people can jump in to learn more about your ministry. In this Open House, you’ll want to communicate what you want them to do and how they can serve, but more importantly, you need to CAST VISION. To do that, invite current volunteers and students to deliver witness talks. Incorporate as much media as possible to help inspire and motivate them and, in the end, give them ample opportunity to answer questions. Lastly, give them a call to action that clearly communicates their next step.
Again, there is no silver bullet, but we shouldn’t wait around for one to be created. Building a team of volunteers takes work. However, the more consistent you are with your asks and invitations, the more results you’ll see. Take advantage of this season and invite people to something bigger than what the world is offering.
How are you inviting people to serve during this season of ministry?
Looking to build a team of volunteers or simply manage the ones you have better? Check out our Huddle Course HERE