Do you have a group of positive volunteers or ones simply going through the motions?

Recruiting volunteers for your church or religious group is a time-consuming process, especially if only one person has taken on the responsibility to do so. Recruiting and maintaining a good group of volunteers can make things much easier when you hold community events, church services, fundraisers, and other occasions that require the help of others.

Here are some tips that can help you recruit and hold on to volunteers for the long-term:

Start By Advertising
Most people won’t know you’re actively looking for volunteers unless you make it known. Advertising your need for volunteers can be as simple as a reminder during normal church services, a request in your church newsletter, or an advertisement on a bulletin board that’s viewable when people walk in or out of the building. If you’re actively recruiting for new volunteers, make sure you take advantage of all three right off the bat.

If your church has a website, post an advertisement that you’re looking for volunteers on the home page. Place it in a noticeable spot so it’s one of the first things your visitors see when they visit your website. If your local community has a website with a free classifieds section, try posting an advertisement. The same goes if you have a sign at your location that’s visible from the street. Make it well known that you’re actively looking for and recruiting volunteers.

Ask People for Their Help
Advertising that you’re actively recruiting volunteers is a great place to start, but you may find that people just aren’t responding. In addition to advertising as much as possible, get out there and ask people in your community or congregation if they’d be willing to volunteer on either a short- or long-term basis. Don’t push for an answer on the spot - give them a chance to think about it by scheduling a follow-up conversation after a few days.

It may be a good idea to get to know people before asking for a commitment. You’d be surprised at how willing people are to volunteer once you get to know them on a more personal level.

Don’t Recruit By Yourself
After you have a few volunteers committed to helping the cause, ask for their help with the recruitment efforts. If all the recruitment efforts fall back on to you or one other person, it’s most likely not enough. Take a few minutes to train your current volunteers on how to effectively recruit others. Ask them to reach out to their personal network, like family and close friends who may share some of the same common interests.

You’ll find it’s much easier to maintain a group of volunteers if you share the same morals, values, and goals.

Don’t Limit Yourself to Word of Mouth
Take advantage of technology to reach out to people and ask for their help. If you have a community newsletter or email, send a quick message to your list of subscribers asking for their help in volunteering or passing on the message to those who can.

Social networks are a great way to spread the message, as well. If your group has a Facebook page or Twitter profile, advertise your recruitment efforts on these social networks to get the word out.

When you hold local events or community service, try to recruit others to join you during the event itself. Don’t be afraid to use prayer as a way to recruit others and bring your current volunteers closer together.

Start your recruitment efforts by advertising during service; on your website; and via local bulletins, newsletters, and emails. Reach out to people individually and ask for their help once you get to know them. Bring your faith into the events you hold—prayer is a powerful tool for yourself and those around you. Recruiting people that share the same values as you can help maintain them in the long-term.

Brian Flax holds a master’s degree in education technology and a bachelor’s in entertainment business.

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