Volunteers don’t usually just show up at your door. You have to seek them out. While this can be difficult, your efforts will not be fruitless and the work you put into finding good volunteers may be richly rewarded.
Here are seven ways you can recruit volunteers:
- Help parishioners discover their skills, talents and innate abilities
Perhaps it sounds counter-intuitive, but taking the time to help parishioners and visitors understand their strengths will be a tremendous aid in helping connecting parishioners to the right service opportunities. Vatican II emphasizes that as baptized Christians we have been baptized into the mission of the church. For many, this mission will be lived out in a significant way through our service at our parish. Helping parishioners discover their individual gifts will honor their unique call within the Body of Christ and help them to become more effective ministers and witnesses.
- Utilize stewardship, service, or volunteer fairs
This may include hosting a mini-fair after each Mass on a given weekend, or a larger parish event. Ministry fairs are a way to build excitement and strengthen the sense of community on mission. According to World Volunteer Web, we need to “sell” ministries and programs, meaning we need to make our ministries and what they are doing appear as interesting and valuable as possible. It helps to demonstrate (such as having stories) about how a particular ministry has an impact, and connect it to positive volunteer experiences.
- Make challenges on social media
Social media can be a powerful tool for reaching out to people. If you need something specific done, make a challenge to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers and see if they can complete it for you. Say you need a logo or a flyer designed for a new event you’re hosting. You can put out a call for submissions on social media and provide a small reward, such as a gift card to a local restaurant or store.
While this isn’t necessarily a good way to find long-term volunteers, it is a smart way to get specific work completed. Also, it’s a effective way to engage with people through social media.
- Reach out to your parish (including regular visitors)
Parishioners or regular visitors to the parish are likely our biggest supporters. If they aren’t volunteering already, reach out to them and ask for their help. Many will happily help with an event, small issue, or ongoing service. Reach out in announcements after Mass, or through email or phone calls.
- Tap into the network of faithful givers
The people who donate money may also donate their time. While we don’t want to ask too much of our donors, consider sending out a personalize email calling for their help. One way to recruit donors as volunteers is to show them how their time as well as their money will help the ministry, according to SignUpGenius. Donors are often encouraged by results. The more we can show them their impact, the more likely they are to continue helping.
Also, encourage donors to recommend others who would make good volunteers. Our donors are generous people, and they probably know other people who have similar values and tendencies. Because of this, our donors can be extremely helpful when it comes to volunteer recruiting.
- Encourage volunteers to bring a friend
Tapping into our current volunteer network can help us recruit more people. Talk with ministry leaders and teams and see if they have any friends that are interested in serving. Encourage them to bring a friend with them to the next event. When they do, make sure to get the contact information of the new volunteer to be able to reach out to them at a later date.
- Send out a call for volunteers online
If struggling to find people willing to help, consider sending out a bigger call for volunteers. Utilize bulletins and media channels, or even flyers at local businesses that might be frequented by parishioners or people on the margins of our communities. When making a call for volunteers, make sure to set up volunteer registration form online on the website. That way, even if people don’t follow through and volunteer right away, we have their contact info for a later date.
As a note when recruiting, make sure to have a way to record volunteer data such as contact information, special skills, and available times to help connect our generous volunteers with the right opportunity.
How does your parish engage volunteers? We’d love to hear from you!