No matter what size the church, one question permeates every single media ministry across the country: How do we recruit more volunteers?
It sounds so simple.
If you want to learn more about volunteer recruitment, check out the upcoming WFX Conference in Expo, held in Orlando this November, and this session, "Simple Ways to Turn Volunteer Tech Teams into All Star Production Teams."
Tell the congregation there’s a need, and people will readily stand up and come to the rescue.
In reality, there is a depth to this issue that we need to delve into. Iit starts with asking a few questions:
• Does your media ministry have an identity (mission statement, core values)?
• How does your team operate?
• How are you keeping track of prospects?
• What would you do if 25 people came to you, and said they would like to help?
These questions are vital, but let’s back up for a moment and talk more about the tactics for adding to your volunteer team. Most of us probably know various ways to get the word out to the congregation, but let’s list some here, in case something new gets your attention.
Just like every other ministry in the church, it’s easy to think that video is the best answer to getting people’s attention. However, for the media ministry, it certainly makes a lot of sense! These videos can play in the service at the announcement time, on social media, or in Sunday school classes, and they are a great way to show off what awaits potential volunteers.
As much as I hate to say it, there are still people who read printed material, so it’s worth putting your ad in the bulletin or weekly mailer. In addition, get a slide put into the looping announcements that go on the screen. You create those things anyway, so go ahead and use your power to help your cause!
At many churches, people simply do not listen to an announcement unless it comes from the pulpit, and many times only if it comes from the pastor’s mouth. Find the right weekend to get your need included on the pastor’s list, and you’ll be amazed at the response!
Open House/Ministry Fair
Try having an open house a couple of times a year, where you offer tours of the media areas immediately after services. Make a big deal of it, by advertising three or four weeks ahead of time, then have your current volunteers available to talk to folks. Also, get with other ministries that are in need of volunteers, and put together a ministry fair where people can come to various booths or tables and learn about the multitude of available volunteering options at your church.
One of my favorite recruiting grounds is Sunday school classrooms. These people have already bought into the church and are committed (to some degree) to meet together as a group, so make an appeal to them to take it to the next level, to see if they’d be willing to serve once or twice a month in the media area. Better yet, send your volunteers who are a part of that class, but never get to go - they can personally plead for assistance, so they can come back to class more often!
Volunteers as Advertising
In addition to sending your volunteers into the Sunday school rooms, go ahead and brand those people! Create T-shirts, jackets, and lanyards, all with a specific media logo. Not only will it show the congregation you’re serious about the media ministry, it will make your team look more professional.
And don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and get super creative. I once did a recruitment announcement where we interrupted the service and took over the announcements via a camera from the control room. It got people’s attention, and we acquired quite a few new folks from that one Sunday.
In general, people don’t know what the media team does, so you have to educate them and make them feel like they can be a part.
Keep in mind who your congregation is, demographically. If they are a financially-minded people, lean on the idea that we are saving the church thousands of dollars a month by using volunteers. If they are community-oriented, talk about the amazing team aspects of serving in media. If they are missions-minded, then you have a great platform to talk about the effectiveness of using technology to further the Gospel, and they can be a part of that!
Now, back to the importance of the first questions - let’s say you were successful at the recruitment process, and now you have people wanting to join your team.
Does your team have a clear identity? It is imperative that people know exactly what it is you are asking them to be a part of. A mission statement puts into words exactly what the Media Team exists to do. You should be able to create a statement of one or two sentences that clearly explains the “why” of the media ministry. In addition, core values ensure that the team gels together, and agrees on common standards.
Get your current volunteer team together and determine four or five core values that define the kind of team you create. Too many times, we focus on the “how” and “what,” instead of the “why.”
Again, I’ll ask that really scary question one more time: If 25 people came to you today and said they want to help in media, what would you do? I believe there are two keys to this.
First, have a system in place for keeping up with new recruits. Your church’s people management software might be appropriate. Alternatively, Planning Center People is a fantastic way to keep up with new recruits, and it is already part of your Planning Center subscription. Check it out. Tools like this help keep people from slipping through the cracks, and it shows them you really care.
Also look to have a training program ready to go, so that these new folks have a plan for learning their newfound endeavor. You need a way of reliably teaching each position in order to maintain consistency and excellence, as well as to ensure the volunteers learn properly so they are comfortable to execute what you are asking them to do. This training program can be simple or robust, but it must be well thought out. But that’s another article…
So, while volunteer recruitment tactics will vary from church to church, it may not be quite the mystery we make it out to be.
I believe successful volunteer recruitment begins with answering questions that define the heart of our ministry. Everything else simply builds upon that foundation.