What to Say and Not Say When Recruiting Volunteers

What to Say and Not Say When Recruiting Volunteers
April 21, 2015 Amy Nappa

Looking for people to staff your summer ministries? Think about how you’ve been invited to serve in a recent volunteer experience. What methods have worked the best with you?

Here are some approaches to try, and some to avoid!

What NOT to Say:

“You’re the last one on my list.” People don’t feel valued or inspired when they are begged to jump on board a sinking ship! If nobody else wants to help, why should they?

“Oh, there’s really nothing to it; it won’t take much time.” The message that’s conveyed with this approach is that “any dummy” can do it! And it might not be the truth. Don’t minimize time or talent commitments to manipulate people to volunteer.

“I’ve helped you before.” Using the quilt/ought/should approach doesn’t motivate people with the mission or vision of the ministry. It motivates by guilt. And that’s just yucky.

What TO Say:

“You have great skills and talent. Would you be interested in using them in our ministry?” Be personal! A personal invitation and validating the contribution someone can make to your ministry are the most effective ways to inspire and encourage people to volunteer. An ad in the bulletin just can’t connect with someone the way you can personally.

“Let me tell you what happened at our last event.” Share stories! People will be inspired to volunteer, and to keep volunteering, when you share and celebrate the success of the mission of your ministry. When a person’s life is changed through those who serve, talk about it!

“We have so much fun together.” Have fun! Serving in ministry should be fun and fulfilling. The same thing people are looking for from your ministry is what they should experience in your ministry—friendship, faith, and fun. Make serving in your ministry the most fun place to be at your church.


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