Impacting lives to make the Bride more beautiful
The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. — MATTHEW 20:28
Our mission is to create a wonderful experience for volunteers at Perimeter Church. We hope to equip volunteers in such a way that they grow in their relationship with God and with others. We hope to do this by recruiting new volunteers, effectively training and equipping them, and finally celebrating and retaining volunteers. Therefore, Perimeter’s ministries are strengthened, families and individuals within the congregation grow spiritually, and we expand our outreach to the local community and our global partners.
STAGES OF VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT & BEST PRACTICES:
Below are some best practices to help accomplish our mission and vision for volunteers at Perimeter Church in the six different stages of volunteer management. When staff implement these practices well, ministries will operate more effectively and volunteers will thrive.
The first step in volunteer management is to recruit them! Before you recruit volunteers, be sure to clearly define your volunteer needs and volunteer job descriptions.
We must first identify potential new volunteers within our congregation. Below are some ideas on how to do just that:
- Bless Cards – Congregants can express interest to volunteer via our bless cards, which are located inside the bulletins each week.
- Membership Appointment – During the membership interview, interviewees are given the opportunity to sign up to volunteer in the various ministries at Perimeter.
- Announcements – Verbally announce your need for volunteers at your ministry specific meetings such as orientations or kickoff parties, etc.
- Email Announcement – Communicate needs with the people in your ministry via an email announcement, either in your newsletter or a stand-alone email.
- Perimeter Pulse – Announce your need for volunteers in the Perimeter Pulse newsletter.
- Website – Include a section on the Perimeter website with volunteer needs as well as a form for future volunteers to express interest.
- Network – Network with those already in your ministry to gauge who may have the skills and interest to meet some of your volunteer needs.
- ‘S.H.A.P.E.’ Test – Given as a part of Membership or Discover U classes, this test identifies giftedness and will help potential new people learn how to best use their gifts for volunteering in ministry. (https://www.freeshapetest.com/)
- Pray – Finally, continually pray that God would provide the right volunteers to serve in your ministry! He desires to see our ministries thrive.
Once a volunteer has been identified, follow up with them in a timely manner and properly vet (screen) volunteers. Below is a suggested gameplan. However, we recognize there are specific needs for each ministry:
- Contact Volunteer
Ministry contact should follow up within 48 hours with a phone call, email or text. Describe available opportunities, times, commitment level, etc. and see where the best fit is.
- Ministry Visit
If applicable, let them experience or observe the volunteer opportunity to be sure it’s a good match. Allow them to observe the ministry in action. For children’s ministries: allow them to serve one time with experienced people. However, be sure to put safety parameters in place (i.e. no diaper changing, no going to the restroom with the kids, never being alone with a child or having access to name & phone numbers etc.)
Set up an interview with the future volunteer to hear more about their experience serving in the church, as well as to tell them more about the ministry and volunteer expectations
- For Family Ministries:
Have volunteer complete Ministry Safe steps.
Make sure to communicate with the volunteer in a timely manner that they are approved to serve, and include clear next steps to get involved.
Once you have your volunteers, now it is time to onboard and train them!
- Orientation – Put together a short video or electronic volunteer manual to send volunteers to review before they begin volunteering OR conduct an in-person training. This manual or training should include:
- Mission and vision of your ministry.
- Cast vision for the volunteer’s role in your ministry. Be clear about how important volunteers are to the success of your ministry and the furtherance of God’s Kingdom!
- Clear volunteer job descriptions.
- Expectations for volunteers including time commitment, required a commitment to serve, what to expect regarding the volunteer experience and ministry culture.
- Any other important details that volunteers should know regarding your ministry.
- While onboarding, set up a system to get know your volunteers so they feel known and you can celebrate them throughout the year. For example, find out what their favorite candy bar is and be sure to note when their birthday is so you can recognize them with their favorite treat on their birthday.
- Shadowing – The first time volunteers serve, have them shadow an experienced volunteer before jumping in. If they aren’t able to shadow, connect them with a current volunteer to hear more about someone’s personal experience serving in your ministry.
- Annual training for current and new volunteers – Gather current and new volunteers once a year to refresh them on best practices and any new expectations that are being implemented, as well as reminding volunteers of their importance to the success of the ministry.
- Communicate clearly – Be sure to communicate details such as timing, location, schedule, expectations, preferred attire, etc. with volunteers in a timely manner.
It is our job as ministry leaders to care for our volunteers and make sure they feel loved and supported as they are pouring out to others.
- Be their friend – Again, know them. Treat them as you would one of your friends. They are a person! They do not just merely fill a logistical role for your ministry.
- Assign a staff member to each volunteer – Make sure there is a sta member who is clearly assigned to each volunteer to ensure they are being communicated with and cared for. Make it clear who that person is to the volunteer so that if questions come up, they know who to contact.
- Team Leaders/Coaches – If you have more volunteers than your sta can manage well, consider raising up team leaders/coaches. A team leader/coach can be someone who is a committed volunteer who has been serving for 1+ years and is able to handle a handful of volunteers. Make sure a sta person is pouring into (shepherding/equipping) the team leader.
- Small groups – Consider gathering the volunteers you oversee throughout the year to get to know one another so they can support one another and feel like they are a part of the team.
- Meet with volunteer 1:1 – Dependent on the number of volunteers you have, set a standard for how often you are meeting with volunteers one-on-one throughout the year and stick with it. Get to know them beyond their volunteer experience. Make sure they know you are a resource as a ministry leader.
- Receive feedback – Create a feedback loop for volunteers so that you can continually improve your ministry and make sure volunteers feel heard and valued. Often times, volunteers are on the frontlines and have a clearer understanding of how the ministry is doing than you do as a leader.
- Staff Prayer – look out for your volunteers in the Sta prayer list and be sure to reach out if their needs come up.
- Print a photo directory from Ministry Platform to help you learn names and faces. Again, make the e ort to help ensure that the volunteer feels known and cared for.
- Church-wide events – Make sure volunteers are aware of church-wide events that they can come to together as a group and continually be spiritually equipped.
- Provide resources – provide resources that will help equip volunteers in your particular ministry area. You can post articles, recommended reading, videos, etc. on the website as well as via email. Create a stronger culture of care by creating an environment for volunteers to get to know each other. Consider having all volunteers wear name tags.
APPRECIATE & RETAIN VOLUNTEERS
The best way to retain volunteers is to make sure they feel appreciated. Here are some ways to show your appreciation:
- Host an annual celebration party – Host a party each year to honor volunteers and consider providing a gift. This should be focused solely on celebration and more special than the group-wide annual training.
- Send birthday cards – Keep track of your volunteers birthdays and favorite candy to send them a card and treat on their birthdays.
- Recognize volunteers – Write a shout out in your weekly or monthly newsletters to recognize volunteers who go above and beyond or who have been volunteering for some time.
- Have an intentional conversation – Meet with your volunteers at the end of the year to see whether they would like to continue serving. If they do, ask how you can come alongside them in the coming year. If they don’t, make sure to receive feedback about their experience as a volunteer and point them in the direction of other volunteer opportunities if they so desire. No matter what, be sure to emphasize the tremendous impact they have on Perimeter’s ministry!
A NOTE: This guide is meant to elicit a culture change amongst the volunteers at Perimeter. Don’t let this list overwhelm you. Don’t think that you need to implement all of these immediately. START SMALL!!!