Many church leaders ramp up recruiting efforts this month as they launch new programs in September. To make sure your volunteers aren’t ready to quit by October, follow these guidelines for greater retention:
1. Offer regular training sessions. Once volunteers have been placed in a serving role be sure to provide ongoing training. Too often we focus only on getting people to serve and neglect equipping them to serve. Plan your calendar to include individual touch base sessions and continuing education.
2. Regularly honor your volunteers for their efforts. Encourage volunteers… a lot! Be sure your appreciation includes personal expressions such as cards and thank you notes as well as official volunteer appreciation events. By letting them know how important they are, volunteers will get the pat on the back they deserve, but rarely get.
3. Plan community building events. Volunteers will walk away from a task much faster than they’ll walk away from a friendship. Plan opportunities for your volunteers to develop relationships with members of their team. Encourage fun, laughter, and casual conversation—no shop talk or problem-solving allowed!
4. Make sure volunteers work in teams. It’s stressful when ministry falls on the shoulders of just one person. Schedule people to work in teams, or have back-up workers, or sub lists available. People will stay longer in their ministry role when they share the load.
5. Pray, pray, pray. Jesus prayed for his disciples. Enlist people to pray for those who serve at your church. Let volunteers know they can submit requests as needs come up. Just knowing a team is praying for you is an encouragement to continue serving.