It’s All in the Way You Present It
Getting creative with volunteer recruiting
Spend any amount of time in kids’ ministry and you will know the real value of a solid volunteer team. Having great curriculum and inviting environments are important, but having vision-minded volunteers pour directly into the kids that your church serves is crucial to the success of your program. By raising the creative factor in your recruiting strategies, you’ll raise your chances of gaining dedicated and long serving team members.
Today’s volunteers find themselves pulled in many different directions. The hustled pace of our world and the ever-changing face of families and family life place a strain on each of us. Although people are generally extremely busy and scheduled to the max, they are still looking for meaningful ways to spend their time. Our churches are filled with members who are ready and eager to serve. It’s important to communicate the potential life-changing impact time spent in kids’ ministry can have on the next generation. When you make known the mission of your ministry, when volunteers know that they play a key role in a critical area of the church, and when they are certain about what their purpose as a volunteer is, they will be more than willing to join your team.
Spending time focusing on the creative ways your team can actively recruit should be a frequently visited subject of your meetings. Recruiting strategies should be viewed as opportunities to share the heart of your ministry. Campaign drives to fill as many spots as possible will prove unsuccessful over time if the folks in those spots don’t know the purpose of your ministry. Here are a few thoughts on how to creatively cast vision to your church family.
Marketing strategies and informational pieces should reflect an appealing image to a broad stroke of folks and reflect your ministry’s mission. Whether you’re handing out a flyer, running a slideshow in the lobby, or updating your webpage, be mindful that everything you create is a vision-casting opportunity. The colors you choose, the font you pick, the graphics you lay out all send messages about what you value in your ministry. Being creative in how you convey that message is a great chance for you and your team to show what you are all about. The creative elements of your projects will draw people to your team or turn them away. If pieces are too complicated or busy, your message will be lost. Being inclusive regarding race, gender, and age will convey that you value all of God’s kids. It’s important to take full advantage of each of your marketing strategies. Be sure to allow you and your team enough time on your calendars to get the most out of each event or print piece.
Kids and families seem to always get excited about holidays. Using holidays as a tool to recruit sets you up for a year of creative ways to share your ministry with new team members. There is virtually no limit to how creative your team can be when you turn them loose with this idea! You will also generate interest from the church as your members look to see what great things your team creates month to month, quarter to quarter, or biannually! Decide on a location that sees high traffic to help get the folks talking. Using the same spot each time will help folks know where to look when you are ready to showcase a new holiday! Purchase color neutral items that you can use month to month (black tablecloths, clear containers, and simple frames to hold your print pieces). Meet as a team to decide which holiday themed material you will use to flex your creative muscles! For example, plastic eggs in a basket can help identify how many volunteers you need for your Easter services. Set up one basket for each of your services and then fill them with eggs—one for every volunteer you need. As volunteers stop by and sign up, hand them an egg with their scheduled service time as a reminder of when they serve! Modify this idea for as many holidays as you like! Candy canes or Christmas ornaments add a festive flair for December recruiting. As one month leads to the next, your team has the opportunity to really create a buzz for your volunteer roles.
Family Flex Team
This is a great way to provide an on ramp for people wanting to see what your ministry is all about! For each month of the year, assign a range of letters—January A-C, February D-F, etc. Using the first letter of their last names, your members will be encouraged to serve during their assigned month. Create postcards, posters, an area on your website and post the monthly last name letter assignments. To let parents know of the current month’s assignments, hand cards to kids as they check out on Sundays, and maybe pull email addresses and phone numbers from your member database. Your team will then work with that member to find a Sunday to serve and an area for them to be temporarily placed. The great thing about this strategy is that you always have a group of folks to share your vision. Every month a new letter group gets to hear your heart of why kids’ ministry is so important. By taking full advantage of this yearlong program, you are always sharing the heart of your ministry with a new set of possible long-term recruits!
Hall of Fame
Pick up some inexpensive frames from your local dollar store or craft center. Use these frames to hold pictures of your volunteers working with kids or celebrating special events. Pictures of your volunteers praying with their small groups, assisting new families navigating your building, or worshipping with their large groups all send a message about what matters in your ministry. These pictures will serve as great silent ads capturing the heart of what your team is about without saying any words at all! Catch them in the act of active participation that potential volunteers could see themselves doing. Hang these framed photos in a Hall of Fame hallway. Be sure to include photos of mission work or photos of family events. These pictures will highlight your mission and vision, showcasing the winning team that your ministry really is … and everybody wants to be a part of a winning team!
Cleanliness and Godliness
Okay … so it may not be the most exciting thing to get creative about BUT cleanliness is sometimes overlooked and we can forget that every part of our ministry sends a message, including our environments. Calming paint colors, door frames that are in good condition, clean windows, organized toys, and the absence of bad smells relate our commitment to excellence for families as well as potential volunteers. A great budget is always nice but getting creative on how to store materials or how to highlight ministry news can be a great challenge for generating creative solutions. When our rooms are busy and disorganized and when volunteers aren’t comfortable in their rooms, they won’t be great recruiters. By giving your volunteers the best possible environment, they will be ready and willing to share their experience with their friends, thus adding to your volunteer team.
Spend some time actually thinking through your recruiting plan and what that looks like for an entire year, instead of grabbing someone by the sleeve and pulling them into a room full of kids at the last minute. Communicate in an enticing way the vision you have for reaching kids and the critical importance of the investment each volunteer makes. You’ll soften hearts with your creative approach while helping new recruits see what they can be part of.