Tips for Effective Volunteer Engagement

By Bonnie Andrews, Milwaukee General Synod Volunteer Corps Manager
Featured in “Wednesdays on the World” webinar on April 6, 2021
Volunteer Ministries Celebrates National Volunteer Month – YouTube

  1. Create opportunities – Deep and Wide – be clear about volunteer responsibilities and offer a variety of opportunities – short term and long term; inside the congregation and out in the community; the easy tasks and those that require specific expertise.
  2. It’s all ministry – invite people to participate in the ministry, not to “help out.” Use general recruitment and specific “asks.” Identify people with the gifts to share. We don’t motivate volunteers, but tap into what motivates them.
  3. Preparation and Communication – Good, clear, ongoing communication is key to keeping volunteers. Help them understand the big picture, new developments, and what’s changing. And be ready for volunteers when they arrive. Have a process for bringing new people into the volunteer roles, but don’t make it too cumbersome.
  4. I thank God every time I remember you. Find a variety of ways to thank the volunteers, including pointing out what they have accomplished. Consider thanking the formal as well as the informal volunteers …. those in your congregation who do ministry without an official assignment.
  5. Be flexible – it’s all changing. The “new normal” won’t be normal for anyone. There are new people only attending on Zoom – how can you include them? People are reconsidering their commitments – how can you meet their needs AND the needs of the ministry?

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