A few years ago, I was working as a sales trainer. I would train new hires into the company over a two-week orientation. I found the difference between a good salesperson and a great salesperson comes down to their understanding of a feature and a benefit of our product. Whatever product you are selling, that product has many great features. For example, I have an IPhone, that I love, and it has some amazing features. The many features include 4.3 inch touch screen, 16 gigs of storage, 16 mega pixel camera with a flash, finger print id, full HD, 1920 x 1080 display, The LED-backlit display…these are just a few of the many seemingly hundreds of features it possesses. And all amazing features of my phone, but if I had a person that is not technologically inclined, they would not understand what those features mean nor would they see the value in trading in that old flip phone for a smart phone upgrade. So what makes a great salesperson is someone that first finds out what an individual needs, wants, enjoys, likes, dislikes, and uses then uses that information to tell them the benefit of a new iPhone. What goes from a great feature of the iPhone, turns into a great benefit that will meet their current need. I’ve found many parallels from sales to ministry recruiting. I could tell everyone under the sun that my Kids ministry has the best vision, the best core values, the best facility, the best flat screens, the best security system, the best playground, the best curriculum…which are all amazing things, But if you don’t know what people like, dislike, enjoy, maybe even what gifting’s, what frustrates them, what drives them, motivates them, fills them up. You will struggle to find the right volunteers and struggle keeping the ones you have.
I know we all struggle with finding volunteers, at least most of us. Or some of us always have a class that we cant fill with enough volunteers. The change I’ve made from desperately filling a need temperately, instead changing my mindset and direction to finding volunteers that are driven, motivated and can multiply themselves. The most successful children’s ministries are the ones that have cultivated an environment that is exciting and fun for the volunteers. And it all starts by recruiting from a position of strength. You have to know the people you are recruiting to make sure you are filling them with the right people. When you don’t do this, you may find people to fill roles, but you will be unable to find volunteers that are happy with their position and stick. You will continue to have turnover and struggle to staff your rooms.
I have found a few adjustments in my recruiting success starts with 3 things.
1.Know where you are going
People want to serve in a ministry that knows why they do what they do, and where they are going. All conversations with volunteers need to lead to your vision and direction. The vision of your ministry needs to be clear and simple. As the leader it is essential for you to constantly reminder and drive people to that vision. People can get behind a leader that has a vision and direction.
2.Know who you are recruiting
The only way you are going to get quality volunteers is to know them. Ask the right questions; get to know your people, parents and kids. If you are currently doing roles that don’t allow you to be present on a Sunday, ie programming, training, large group, small group, or anything else that keeps you busy and not in front of parents, then allow yourself to fill that role with others and make yourself available. If you are present then parents and individuals will be more open to asking questions, and expressing interest. The reason you may not be able to find volunteers is because you are too busy on Sundays and are not able to meet Parents and kids.
3.Know what’s next
It may seem simple enough, but having a process for next steps will save you a ton of trouble. When someone comes to you and asks about serving…what’s next? Where do you send them? What are the first steps? Be proactive not passive. If you have someone that expresses interest, the best thing to do is instantly engage them with the process, meet some other volunteers, maybe even have them fill out an app right then, or even observe a classroom that day. What I have found that most of the volunteers I instantly engage…stick. Others that I may not have the time to do that or that I ask to email me or just have them write down their info on a card, don’t go anywhere. The reason is I haven’t given them anything to come back to. Don’t let potentially great volunteers fall to the waist side by not engaging them right away, and helping them become a passionate dedicated volunteer for your ministry.
These are just a few of the tips that I have discovered have helped me make my recruiting of new volunteers easier and more efficient. I know there are many more…what has worked for you?