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How to Recruit Volunteers Quickly

I feel like summer flies by too quickly. Once August shows itself, I immediately buckle down and look at what needs to be done before youth ministry is in full stride come September. One of the top items to address is volunteers. I ask myself, “Do we have enough?” The answer to that question is always a resounding, “NOPE!” We need volunteers quickly.

Summer can be a mad dash to recruit volunteers. You might be in a situation where you don’t just need one, you need 30. The idea of recruiting all of those volunteers is overwhelming. You desperately pace back and forth in your office, pondering all the ways you can recruit men and women to serve before the first day of ministry begins. While there is no perfect plan, you can start recruiting volunteers quickly by:

Sharing the Burden: Encourage and empower your current volunteers to recruit. The most successful way to get someone into ministry is through a personal invitation. Give them talking points; make sure they are casting vision and sharing their personal stories. Expand your capacity by sharing the responsibility.

Making Each Step Clear: Lay out the steps, and make them publicly available. Have someone from an outside perspective view them. Make sure people are aware of the commitment, requirements and procedures needed to get involved. If the path is clear, people will travel it. If you need volunteers quickly, you need to make the process fluid.

Recruit Low Risk: Recruiting volunteers quickly can be risky because you might pick someone up out of desperation. If you are going to recruit quickly, make sure it’s to low-risk, beginning roles (i.e. greeting). If the need is for a role with higher risk, promote from within. Make sure you put the right people in the right jobs.

Prepare For the Long Haul: To avoid the summer rush, make sure you are consistently recruiting volunteers. Create entry level positions and find a leader who will help you with the screening and training. Make it a part of your culture so that you don’t find yourself scrambling.

There is no silver bullet when it comes to recruiting volunteers quickly. It takes persistence, patience and trust that God has a plan for you if you do not reach your number. Build a strategy, make it a priority and work to prevent this from becoming an annual tradition.

What quick fixes do you have when it comes to recruiting volunteers?  

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chriswesley@churchleaders.com'
Chris graduated from Xavier University in 2003 with a BA in Communications: Electronic Media. He moved to Baltimore in the fall of 2003 where he served as a Jesuit Volunteer for a year. During that time, he was a Case Manager at Chase Brexton, met my wife Kate and felt God's calling to Student Ministry. In the summer of 2004, heI was hired by the Roman Catholic Parish Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland as a Middle School Youth Minister. Today he oversees grades 5-12 as the Director of Student Ministry.