The Best & Worst Ways to Recruit Volunteers

You don’t have to be a pastor to realize that a church needs volunteers. Whether it’s to play music, watch kids, or mow the lawn, you have to have volunteers. Most of the time you need a lot of them, but how do you go about finding them?


Chances are they’re not going to be lined up outside your office door, so you’re going to need to recruit them. There are several ways to do this. We’ve tried just about everything, and in my experience here are some of the best and worst ways to go about it.

  • Website – Success Rate 0-5%. I don’t believe we’ve ever had anyone sign up to volunteer through our website. We provide a lot of information about volunteering. It just doesn’t translate into people taking that step.
  • Social Media Posts – Success Rate 0-5%. “Hey, if you’d like to start serving at our church, comment below.” This is about as effective as the website, yet I keep trying it from time to time.
  • Stage Announcement – Success Rate 10-15%. Slightly more effective than a social media post, this has diminishing returns meaning the more you do it, the less effective it becomes.
  • Facebook Message – Success Rate 15-20%. This is a direct message to the person you’re asking to volunteer. I’ve used this method several times in the past year with decent results.
  • Face-to-Face (from a staff member or volunteer) – Success Rate 25-40%. Having a staff member or volunteer leader ask a person face-to-face is one of the most effective ways to recruit volunteers, however there is one better way.
  • Face-to-Face (from a friend) – Success Rate 50% or better. Having someone who’s already volunteering invite their friend to volunteer with them is the single most effective way to gain volunteers.

So, with statistics like this, why do some many churches rely on stage announcements to recruit volunteers? I think I’ve figured out the answer.

There’s no chance of rejection with a stage announcement. Sure, maybe no one signs up, but you don’t really feel the rejection, not like a face-to-face conversation.

A no face-to-face stings a little. A no face-to-face can get awkward. But face-to face-conversations have the best chance of getting a yes, and here’s why.

As worried as you are about them saying no, they’re just as worried about disappointing you. The closer you are to a person, the more they don’t want to disappoint you.

This is one of the reasons why a face-to-face between friends has the best success rate. Neither wants to disappoint the other.

So, the next time you need to recruit some volunteers, I hope you’ll do it face-to-face.

What would you add to the list? Do the percentages seem accurate for your church? Let me know in the comments below.

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