What NOT to Do When You’re Desperate for Volunteers

What NOT to Do When You’re Desperate for Volunteers
May 21, 2013 Dale Hudson

Building a volunteer team is a never-ending process, especially if your ministry is growing. When we’re desperate for help our natural tendency is to resort to desperate measures—but this will only make things worse.

Here are four things not to do when you’re desperate for volunteers. These tactics may seem like quick fixes, but they’ll only hurt your team-building efforts in the long run.

Don’t use the words “need” or “help“.  You may be desperate, but you don’t want to appear desperate. People aren’t drawn to desperation, and they won’t line up to get on board a ministry that appears to be in 911 mode. Vision is a magnet; desperation is a repellent.

Don’t rely on bulletin ads. Bulletin ads won’t bring the people you need, and if you run them often, people will train themselves to ignore them.

Don’t ask your pastor to make a tearful plea from the pulpit. Do not put your pastor in the awkward position of begging for volunteers. It’s your job to build your volunteer team.

Don’t place people where they’re not gifted. Don’t throw people into a ministry position  just because you need a warm body. If you don’t take the time to place people in their sweet spot, they’ll burn out and quit.

The bottom line:  The proven way to build a volunteer team is one-to-one invitations. It takes intentional effort to personally ask people week in and week out to join your team, but you’ll build a solid foundation. We’ve added more than 1,200 volunteers to our team in the last four years. They didn’t come through desperate measures; they came through personal asks. Try it; it works.


This CVDaily shared from Children’s Ministry Magazine, March/April 2013.


  1. jlcioper 11 years ago

    I agree that personal conversation is the only way to treat people. Each of God’s children are loved and VALUED by Him and they should be made to realize this by our efforts. Building ministries is building up the body of Christ. They are gifted for their purpose – if they know their spiritual gifts.

    • Bob 11 years ago

      You are right on! Seems the challenge is in helping people discover and use their spiritual gifts!

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