Why Enlisting New Volunteers Isn't Enough

It's vital to enlist new volunteers for your ministry.  Without new volunteers coming in on a regular basis, the ministry will plateau and get stale.  New volunteers bring new life, energy and growth.  But enlisting them is not enough.  That's just the first step in building a healthy volunteer team.

Once you enlist a new volunteer, the next step is to set them up for success by equipping them for the role they are entering.  This should first include an orientation, where you cover big picture need-to-knows.  It should also include providing a job description, resources needed and hands-on training with another experienced volunteer.

Think about it like this.  If I am the quarterback in a football game and you are the receiver, it is my responsibility to throw you a catch-able pass.  Ideally, I would put the ball right between your jersey numbers.  The better pass I throw you, the better opportunity you have to be successful in making the catch.  Yes, you might still be able to make the catch if I threw it high above your head or at your feet, but it would be more difficult. 

It's the same scenario when it comes to your new volunteers. you want to "throw them a catch-able pass."  The better pass you throw them, the better opportunity they have to succeed.  Shoving a new volunteer in a room of 30 preschoolers on their first day is not setting him or her up for success.  You're throwing the ball at the person's feet.  And this will lead to volunteer frustration, burnout and turnover.

Here are some questions to think about and discuss with your team...

  • What steps do we have in place to equip new volunteers?
  • Do we provide new volunteers with hands-on training with an experienced volunteer?
  • Are we keeping our new volunteers long-term?
  • Using the comparison of throwing a player a ball, how good of a pass are we throwing to our new volunteers?
  • What are some areas we can improve in with equipping new volunteers?
You can get a complete, proven plan for equipping new volunteers and setting them up for success in my new book The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams.  Here's more info