What’s the biggest challenge most church leaders face—How do I get my volunteers to attend training? Here are some crowd pleasing ideas to help increase participation at your next volunteer training session.
1. Feed the flock. You might not want to serve an entire dinner, but finger foods should be in abundant supply.
2. Give door prizes! LuAnne Oklobzija, children’s pastor at Eagle Brook Church in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, gives out gift certificates for restaurants, video rentals, and even home improvement stores.
3. Advertise your topic, not your meeting. “Quarterly Teacher-Training” just doesn’t seem to excite people as much as “Tips to Control Classroom Discipline.” Be specific.
4. Provide start and end times. This helps people plan around your training event and keeps you on schedule.
5. Provide child care. Even if people don’t use it, just offering it will eliminate that inevitable excuse not to attend. And feed the kids too.
6. Budget for training. Don’t skimp on training. Plan for the frequency and type of training you’ll do. As someone once said, “You think education is expensive–try ignorance.”
7. Offer specialized training. There are some topics that will appeal to your midweek elementary teachers as well as your once-a-month greeter. But, the fact is, not every training opportunity will meet everyone’s needs.
8. Let someone else train. Take your volunteers to a regional or national ministry convention. Discuss a book. Watch a video. You don’t have to do it all yourself.
9. Don’t give up. Keep trying different times and new approaches. Offer multiple choices so people can attend a a time that works for them. Celebrate the people who come.
10. Train online. Online tools and social media provide alternatives to the traditional onsite training meetings. Use Google hangouts, Facebook groups, or professional programs such as Group’s Good to Go to allow people the opportunity to train from the comfort of their home.