Finding & Keeping Volunteers – Workshop PowerPoint Slides


I have taught several workshops/classes on how to find & keep volunteers.  Here is a PowerPoint Presentation that I used at a recent event. (link at end of page)

When it comes to Recruiting Volunteers, here are few ideas:

Strategy – Write down the positions you need.  Then make a list of all the people you can think of to ask.  This is where people get stumped.  Sometimes you can’t think of anyone to ask, or all the people you have asked have graciously declined.  So now what?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Pray.  Ask God to give you names of people to ask.
  • Connect with other people.  So maybe you don’t know who to ask, but you can ask other people to help you come up with names.  Ask another pastor or leader.  Ask the person who leads the ladies or men’s group.  Ask the person who leads the youth group.  You get the idea.
  • Go to events to meet new people.  Go to the outreach events.  Go to the Christmas Events.  Be a greeter at the door for a Sunday morning or two.

Raise the Awareness – Tell the story about your ministry.  Tell the good things!  No one wants to be part of a sinking ship.  Of course there are going to be things that are less than ideal about your ministry, but you need to tell the story of things that are going well, and lives that are being changed.  Make a video, post pics, make a display in a high traffic area at your church.  You can see an example of a video that we made for our Special Friends Ministry here.

Ask – Many people who recruit volunteers will tell you that the most effective way to get volunteers is to personally ask people!  That can be done in person, via email or a phone call.  The key is to call someone by name and ask if they would be interested in helping with a specific role. (vs. hello parents, please help us)

You Get What You Ask For – Instead of asking people, “How often can you help?”  Ask them if every week or every other week will work better for them.  It gives them some options, and it gives you the commitment that you need.  If you are just asking people to help once a month, they are not there often enough to reap the rewards of volunteering.  They will probably not see life change in the kids they are helping with, and they will almost always be less invested and treat their role more like “let’s just get this over with” instead of “how can we make this hour be the best it can possibly be while I am volunteering here with them”.  And, if you are asking for people to help once a month, you are going to need 4x the number of volunteers.  If you are already short on volunteers, why multiply the number of people that you need?

Have a Back Up Plan – So you have personally asked someone to help you, and they tell you that they are not able to do what you are asking.  What are the things that are stopping them?  Not the right role?  Not the right time?  Not what they love to do?  Then have a back up plan.  If they can’t do the thing you are asking them to do, would they consider a different role?  Maybe they can help with admin prep or photocopying.  Maybe they can check references for you.  Maybe they can be a substitute helper on call.  If you do your homework before you ask the person, there is probably something that would work for them.  It gets them to see the bigger picture of your ministry & maybe they would be willing to move to a more committed role in the future.

Hopefully these ideas will help you on your journey to finding volunteers.  And remember, it’s a journey.  Constantly recruit.  It’s not a one time event!

You can view the PowerPoint Presentation here.



Kids with Special Needs Ministry – Recruiting Video

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Special Friends is the name of the ministry that we have at our church for a one-on-one buddy system for children with special needs.  This fall we have an increased number of children with special needs.  We want to do everything we can to help them learn in a way that works the best for them while they are in our Kids Program.  Their Special Friend connects with them & builds a relationship with them like no other volunteer in our Kids Ministry.  I love seeing the Special Friends Teams together!

We created a video to help raise awareness about our Special Friends Program at our church.  Hopefully people will realize the huge impact a Special Friend has on a child.  We are showing this video in our Sunday Morning service & then will share it on social media.  You can view the video we made here:

Whether you are creating a recruiting video for special needs or another ministry in your church, you should include the following:

  1.  Real people.  People want to hear about things that are actually happening in the lives of real people.  That’s why reality TV is so popular in our culture.
  2. Tell a story.  Tell about the challenges the person is facing & the impact the ministry is having on them.
  3. The difference.  Tell about the difference in their lives.  Without this ministry, this family’s life would be drastically different.
  4. Ask for help.  Once you tell the story, ask people to come and be a part of making a difference, so that more lives can be impacted.
  5. Next step.  Provide a way for people to respond.  A website, an email or a contact person.

With an Iphone and movie editing software, you can create a recruiting video that will tell the story of the ministry you want to highlight.

How Gru (from Dispicable Me) can teach your Small Group Leaders how to “OWN” their role instead of “RENT” it

despicable-me-GruGetting volunteers to “OWN” their ministry can sometimes be difficult.  Sue Miller & Adam Duckworth talk about this in one of the chapters in their book, “Not Normal” which can be found here:

Basically, it’s about caring more about what they do.  It’s about doing the best they can possibly do, for the maximum impact.

WingClips is a website that takes clips from movies, and categorizes them by theme.  This is helpful when looking for a video clip to illustrate a point.  On this website, there are two clips from “Despicable Me”.

Clip #1

Gru reads a bedtime story to the 3 girls who come to live with him.  He basically doesnt’ want to read it to them, but he agrees to read it, just to get them to stop bothering him.

Clip #2

Gru has had a change of heart.  The children have had an impact on him that he wasn’t expecting.  He has grown to love them.  This time he reads a bedtime story to them with a whole new attitude.  It’s a story that he wrote himself and shows how much his heart has changed towards them.

These two clips are a great illustration of the difference in the approach a Small Group Leader can choose to take.  One approach is basically doing the job to get it done.  The other shows what can happen when a leader takes the time to care for their kids.  Both the kids & the leader are changed.

Many thanks to one of my amazing volunteers on my kids ministry team who came up with this idea.  Way to go Anne!

Are Your Volunteers Going in Circles?

Concentric Circles for Volunteers

When I think of volunteers, this is the picture that I have in my head.  Volunteers are in different stages.  Some are new, or come occasionally while others are the committed people that do the majority of the work.  As I look at these circles, here are some thoughts:

1.  Always be recruiting to your outer circle.  Ask people to be helpers.  Ask them to help with admin work, or organizing stuff.  Ask them to help with shopping for supplies.  Ask them to help at special events.  Ask them to help as fill-ins or floaters.  Ask them to serve once a month.  When you find you have only a few leaders, and can’t think of anyone to ask to fill leadership roles, it is probably because you haven’t been recruiting to your outer circle on a regular basis.

2.  People need to spend time in the outer circles before moving towards the inner circle.  It gives you time to get to know them, and find out what they are passionate about or what they are gifted at doing.  It also gives them time to learn about your culture & what you value in your ministry.

3.  Help volunteers move towards the inner circle.  Help irregular volunteers become regular volunteers by providing opportunities that will fit their passions, gifts & availability.  Help regular volunteers become leaders by showing them how their influence can be multiplied as they lead a team of people.

4.  To help people move towards the inner circle, you will need to personally ask them.  Go for coffee with them, share your vision & help them see how the shift towards the middle will be a win/win for them & for the people they are serving.

5.  Spend time with your inner circle.  Encourage them & appreciate them.  Motivate them & challenge them.  Invest in them.  Take them to conferences & visit other churches to help them grow.  Remind them why we do what we do.

3 Weeks of Recruiting Ideas


Sometimes when it comes to recruiting volunteers, you need to think outside the box.  Bulletin announcements & mass emails are just not working.

That’s when you do a BIG Recruiting Event.  Here are some things that we did to make our Recruiting Event Successful:

1.  Make your events BIG!  You need to do things that will catch people’s attention and get them to notice you.

2.  Be visual!  Make a display & use media, posters or stuff to show people what you need.

3.  Show people that Kids Ministry is FUN!  Give them a taste of what you do in your program.

4.  Do more than one Sunday.  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  Families do not necessarily come to church every week so you need to have your BIG recruiting event take place over multiple Sundays.

5.  Be prepared with sign up sheets, applications & police check forms.  Get people’s contact info (email) so that you can connect with them.  Don’t leave it up to them to connect with you.  They probably won’t.

We did 3 Sundays and this is what we did:

Week 1: (yes, all of this happened during the Sunday morning)

  • Video Announcement on the big screens in the main auditorium during the service.
  • Bulletin announcement – casting vision about what a difference volunteers make in the lives of kids
  • Flyer in the bulletin
  • Kiosk in atrium in high traffic area for people to sign up
  • Person (Kids pastor or other highly invested leaders) at the kiosk to personally talk with people
  • sign up sheets  with 3 options to choose from (summer help, vbs help or help in the fall)
  • TV with power point presentation running.  These slides included volunteers in action & titles of positions where we needed help
  • Music.  It’s gotta be upbeat & fun.  We played the instrumental version of the LEGO movie.  Everything was awesome!
  • BUBBLE MACHINE (see picture below) – this definitely caught people’s attention and created an element of fun.  It attracted a crowd of kids who wanted to catch the bubbles & the adults had to walk through the tornado of bubbles on their way out after the service.

Week 2:

  • Kids wearing posterboards with signs.  (see picture below) 5 kids walked around places that were populated with people with sandwich board signs on their front & back.  Many people commented on how effective these were.
  • Power Puppet (we purchased this from Little Mountain Productions).  We only bring this out for special occasions and this was one of them.  The puppet basically said things like, “we need your help”  “sign up today to help with the kids”.  You can see a video of this in action here:
  • Kiosk in atrium in high traffic area for people to sign up
  • Person (Kids pastor or other highly invested leaders) at the kiosk to personally talk with people
  • sign up sheets  with 3 options to choose from (summer help, vbs help or help in the fall)

Week 3:

  • Kids wearing sandwich signs again.  Once again, very effective.
  • Dance Party – we had flashing colourful lights & a projector with Kids Worship DVDs.  I will admit this wasn’t as big of a WOW factor as we were hoping, as our atrium has a lot of windows and it was a beautiful sunny day.  Dance party lights & projectors work much better in a darker room.  FYI.  However, we played the DVD on a large screen TV, cranked the volume, and people noticed the great music so that helped to catch their attention.
  • Kiosk in atrium in high traffic area for people to sign up
  • Person (Kids pastor or other highly invested leaders) at the kiosk to personally talk with people
  • sign up sheets  with 3 options to choose from (summer help, vbs help or help in the fall)

Here are some pictures that we took of our Big Recruiting Event over 3 weeks

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DIY Volunteer Board


I am always on the look out for new ways to remind my volunteers how thankful we are for each of them.  Recently, I created this board to help encourage them & celebrate the wins.  It includes the following:

  • a spot to post a notice about the free giveaway for that day
  • 3 spots to share success stories & thank you messages
  • photo wall – volunteers love to see other volunteers in action
  • a spot to post volunteer quotes & Bible verses
  • a spot for announcements or special messages


I picked up the denim themed stuff from Michaels for 50% off.
The background fabric was from a fabric store.


I keep a file of success stories & thank you’s that I can pull from to post on the wall.


I take pictures with my phone almost every week of volunteers in action so that I have lots to chose from.
Printing them on the photocopier & cutting them to look like Polaroids are oh so cute!
Tiny clothes pins are also from Michaels.


I created these chalkboard drawings by downloading free fonts & chalkboard graphics.  Check out Pinterest for ideas.


I bought the hanging chalkboards from the dollar store.




Look for people in your church who can donate things to give to your volunteers.
It helps keep the cost down of saying thank you.

Family Event – Lego Party


Four times a year we do an event that is meant for families to do something together.

Gingerbread Party – to kick off the Christmas Season
Princess Party – in the winter
Family BBQ – during our EPIC kids summer camp week
Lego Party – in the spring

Here are some pictures of our Lego Party and what we did.

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  • I had someone build this lego wall using a 4×8 sheet of wood & 15 base plates.
  • I found some lego masks online that kids could cut out & put on.
  • We had a photobooth where people could take their family photo.
  • Lego Coloring Pages for those who like to sit and color.
  • Yummy treats are always very popular.
  • I made Rice Krispie squares and added food coloring.  Then I put Smarties to match on top while they were still warm.  We cut them in rectangles and they looked like lego blocks.  (Smarties are only available in Canada).  Don’t worry, we had healthy snack options available too!
  • Families could pre-order a lego kit (I gave them a choice from 6 different kits that I ordered and they paid for) or they could bring their own lego kit.
  • Then together, they built their lego kit.
  • We had some blocks that they could build with at an activity center.
  • We had a bouncy castle so they could burn off some energy.
  • Our Indoor Playground was open for kids to play on.
  • Our Lego Decor was made from styrofoam blocks & styrofoam circles.  We painted them with regular wall paint.

We had 350 people come to this event.  It was a great opportunity for families to spend time together.  It was also a great opportunity for people to invite their non-church friends to come to visit our church.