Book Review: The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams

DaleHudsonBook

This book has moved into the position of “Top 5 Must Have” books for Kids Ministry.  It is LOADED with information.

My friend Dale Hudson is the author of this amazing book.  This guy has tons of Kids Ministry Experience and really knows his stuff when it comes to kids, volunteers, recruiting, training and motivating.  His blog is loaded with resources and ideas on many different kids ministry related topics.  He has a humble spirit and an amazing servant’s heart.  I have visited the church many times where he was on staff as the Kids Ministry Director and my kids loved being in the kids program there.  He is an international conference speaker and trainer, and I have learned so much from this guy and his experience.  He is the author of several kids ministry books, and his most recent, The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams is one of my favourites.

Recruiting, training and motivating kids ministry volunteers is top priority when it comes to kids ministry.  The job is never complete.  New people come and go and we are always challenging our volunteers to go to a new level.  In his book, Dale talks about proven methods that work when it comes to recruiting volunteers.  He reminds us that people are drawn to vision, not desperation.  He walks us through a process to train volunteers, and to encourage them while they are serving so that they want to stay.  In this book, Dale gives practical ideas.  I like books that give you a how-to formula, and this book does just that!

Here are some of my favourite quotes from his book:

“The journey of ___ volunteers begins with one ask.”

“As a leader, your role is to be a coach to your volunteers.  As their coach, you are to develop them, bring out the best in them, empower them and release them to do ministry.”

“Invite to the WHY over the WHAT”

“How long people serve is in direct correlation to the depth of the relationships that they form with the people they serve with.”

“Encourage is how you keep volunteers motivated and excited about serving.”

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I wrote notes, highlighted and flagged great stuff throughout this book!  I pull it off my shelf regularly and have made a to do list from the things that I have learned in this book that will help take kids ministry at our church to the next level.  It has given me ideas for recruiting, training and keeping volunteers.  I have ordered this book and given a copy to each of my kids ministry staff and volunteer leaders.

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Dale has written other books which include:

If Disney Ran Your Children’s Ministry

Turbocharged!: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children’s Ministry

Turbocharged!: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Preschool Ministry

I am not being paid to endorse this book, so you know that it’s really good if I am not benefiting from telling you about it.  However, it will benefit you and your kids ministry if you order his book today!

 

 

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Finding & Keeping Volunteers – Workshop PowerPoint Slides

FindingandKeepingVolunteers

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.