If I were to survey all the great organizations, including churches and nonprofits, and ask them what the key to their success has been, there is no doubt in my mind the majority would focus on the dedication and commitment of their volunteers. Volunteers play a key role, especially when starting a new organization. Unless you have an incredible amount of funding from the beginning, you will need volunteers to help you in many key areas where you lack experience or simply don’t have enough time. So how do you get volunteers interested enough to start working for your nonprofit or serving at your church? Here are some simple things to think through as you begin to try and attract volunteers for your organization.
People are attracted to organizations that exude honesty, integrity, humility, and service to others. As a leader of the organization, your personality and speech become a part of its reputation and identity. I believe there needs to be a delicate balance between accomplishing tasks and encouraging the people around you. Generally, as you make a conscious effort to “do the right thing,” people will be willing to volunteer with you based on your character long before their purpose within your organization becomes clear.
2. Define Roles
As you establish your organization, there will be many aspects that contribute to its success. Make a list of all the areas where there is a significant responsibility. Don’t worry so much about who needs to fill the holes. Just try to map out a general description of the roles. Then try to be clear on what you think this job description entails so you have options available when people ask what they can do to help. You can use Aplos‘ database to enter people’s information and roles. You can then define a field called “volunteer” or even define a field based on someone’s area of responsibility.
Communicate volunteer opportunities and upcoming events. You might be surprised how communicating a bit of information and the expectations will give individuals clarity about their ability to commit. A website will likely be your primary way of communicating, but you can also email your supporters and contributors about events and status updates. You can also use social media to keep people aware of what you are doing and the goals you are trying to accomplish. Information is valuable to those around you, and sharing it will only help with the success of your organization.
Volunteers are vital to accomplishing the mission of your church or nonprofit. Be responsible in how you go about attracting volunteers, and you will quickly find a team of people surrounding you and supporting your endeavors.