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10 Ways to Set New Volunteers Up For Success

How you bring new volunteers on your team speaks volumes about the serving experience they will have with you.

It's extremely important that you have a specific plan for on-boarding new volunteers. Let's walk through some specific steps you can take for bringing new volunteers on board with excellence.

Share the vision. Help them understand "why" they will be serving. Move beyond the tasks and share with them how they will be making an eternal difference in the lives of kids and their families. Always share the "why" before you share the "what."

New volunteers want to be part of something that is bigger than themselves. Show them how they can do this by serving in the ministry. A volunteer who knows "why" he or she is serving will serve with passion and commitment.

Give them a job description. Once they know the "why," you should give them specifics of the area they will be serving in. What will the time commitment be? How often will they be serving? What will the tasks be for the position? What time should they arrive? What training opportunities will be available to help them grow?

You can't hold someone accountable if they don't know the specifics of what they will be doing.

Share with them what the "wins" are. Keep this list short. Preferably just give them 3-4 things that constitute a "win." Here are a couple of examples.

Preschool wins:

  • Kids listen during the Bible lesson.

  • Kids learn the Bible verse of the month.

  • Kids participate in the activities (crafts, games, etc.)

Elementary wins:

  • Kids know the key truth for the month.

  • Kids know the Bible verse of the month.

  • Kids participate in small group time.

Make sure they understand the safety and security procedures. This is to protect the children and them as a volunteer. A few examples are:

  • Never be alone with a child.

  • There must be 2 volunteers in a room before opening it.

  • Parents must present matching security tag when picking up their children.

Orientation. Have an orientation class that each new volunteer goes through. Cast vision. Cover safety and security "big picture" details. Give them their team badge. Get them excited about serving. Help them find their "sweet" spot. Don't place volunteers where you "need" them. Place them where they need to be. You can help them find their sweet spot by asking this simple question - "What is your dream volunteer role at our church? Normally, the new volunteer will share with you the position they are interested in. When you place volunteers in their sweet spot, they will thrive. Find out what they "like." Have them fill out a list of their favorites. What is their favorite candy bar? What is their favorite drink? What hobbies do they have? What is their favorite health food?

Then you can purchase one of these to give them on their birthday or serving anniversary. Pray for them. Add them to your prayer list. Pray God will use their service for His glory. Ask God to bless their lives for His glory. Provide them with hands-on training. Place them with a seasoned, experienced volunteer who can mentor them and provide them with the training they need. Being a great volunteer is more caught than taught. The time spent with the seasoned volunteer will vary depending on what the new volunteer's role is. Conduct a personal interview with them before they start serving. Ask them questions so you can get to know them better. What is their story? How did they come to Jesus? Ask about their family? What are they the most excited about when they start serving? (you can get a free copy of the interview questions I ask at this link) Your turn. What are some other ways to set new volunteers up for success? Share your thoughts and insight in the comment section below.


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