How to Retain Volunteers

Growing your church's volunteer force is important. You need them for many reasons. Your ministries can often do more with more people. Plus, serving on a team is the easiest way to feel like part of the church community. This article will examine several ways to recruit and grow volunteers over time.

Over the past few months, I noticed quite a few articles about increasing the size of your volunteer staff. You will need to do this as you increase the size and scope of your digital ministries. Yet I learned in a previous job that growth also requires a strong focus on retention. I was a recruiter for an ROTC program. I soon learned that bringing in people on the first week was important. But having a large group at the end of the semester was even better.

Skills Training

Offer ways to expand your volunteers' skill sets. This can be as simple as having your senior members host training sessions for the junior ones. But how can you get your senior members trained? This is where you might have to spend some money. Online lectures and webinars are probably the best. This is because you can train your entire team at one time. Plus when you invest in your people this way, you show many things. You are willing to invest in your church teams. You are also investing in your people. They can use these skills both inside and outside your church.

Project Management Opportunities

As your volunteers become more skilled, offer them ways to expand their leadership skills. Yet you may often want to retain control over your people. Remember that project management is an invaluable skill your members could use. Coach your teammates on how to monitor project progress. Show them what church leadership would like reported. Demonstrate how to remove roadblocks for the rest of the team so they can focus on their tasks. Then let them run with a small project. Run a post-mortem meeting afterward to provide them valuable feedback.

Excellence Recognition

Regular recognition reminds your teams how valuable they are. You may want to recognize individuals for their passion and accomplishments. Another route is to celebrate your team as a whole. Have a small party to celebrate new levels of success. Even better, celebrate your failures. Encourage your teams to try new things and learn from their mistakes. Lastly, you can share your statistics with your congregation as a whole. Showcase the team that has been steadily driving your digital ministry's success. This is certainly one of those "behind the scenes" jobs that needs your help to shine a spotlight on.

Action Item

Do more than just get new volunteers. Retain the years of experience you already have. Use one or some of the methods I mentioned. Also, if you want to recognize accomplishments, you need data to support your claims. Begin gathering various statistics from your social media campaigns and website today. If you are leading your communications group, start training your replacement now. Next year's leadership role needs to begin training now. Give your team members the opportunity to learn more and lead projects. They will give you all the great statistics you need to celebrate in the coming months.

Photo courtesy of Keira Bishop

Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.