One of the perennial challenges I’ve been told of working in a church is working with volunteers and raising up new volunteers. Here’s the thing. I’ve never had any major problems building my communications volunteer team. Here are some of the principles I’ve followed over the last few years.

Get specific

Create a job description. Describe what the volunteer will be doing, how long it should take, how often it the job is needed to be done.

Don’t be shy – Ask

If you don’t ask you certainly won’t get anyone to volunteer, so keep your eyes and ears open to appropriately skilled people and ask them to serve.

Find the right fit

Every volunteer opportunity takes a different amount of time and energy. Your success rate in developing volunteers will rise if you can put the right volunteer with the right task in respects to their talent and their available time.

Be clear about what you expect 

Just because someone is volunteering it doesn’t mean that they can turn up when they like or do what they like. Be clear on their roles and responsibilities and tell them what you expect. It sets you both up for a win on essential communication routines.

Create systems and processes

Every communications team should develop and document their communications systems and processes. If you do this then you open up the process to more people because anyone can follow a well written system if coached well. We create a weekly email bulletin. We’ve developed a written system teach a new volunteer how create the e-bulletin each time they come in. It means that when a new volunteer comes on board it is easy for them to become familiar on how to do what they need to do.

Love them

No, not some kind of crazy stalker kind of love. Show them that you appreciate their time, energy and service. Tell them why what they do matters. I love coffee and I build into my communications budget to pay for my volunteers coffee when they come in. It’s one way I can connect with them and to thank them for their service.

How about you? What do you do with your volunteer team? Comment below.

(P.S. I’m off on holiday for 6 weeks so it will be quiet on this blog for a while.)