I was reading through a Megachurch Attender Survey a while back and was not shocked to read that, in the Megachurch anyway, 45% of attenders never volunteer to do anything. I can’t say that I was surprised because this is consistent with our experience.
Needless to say, this ups the stakes when it comes to your volunteer recruitment strategy. We know a few things to be true when it comes to motivating an attender to volunteer. One of those is “specific need.” You can’t stand on stage and say, “Hey everyone, we need some volunteers. Please sign up.” Well, you can, but you probably won’t get much response :).
People need to really see a specific need. Enter the importance of the “Big Event.” The theme, cause, or purpose behind a big event (such as Kids’ Camp) is usually enough to compel lots of people to sign up to volunteer. I guess it’s not only that the need is specific and compelling. It’s probably also because it’s a one-time thing. In other words, attenders who sign up to help make a big event happen are only committed to a few hours once, or in the case of our Kids’ Camp, a few hours over 3 half days in July.
But what happens when the new volunteer serves at the big event? They actually enjoy it and even find out that volunteering isn’t really that big of a time commitment and that “serving” is a major, rewarding part of growing spiritually.
So, over time it’s important to view the big event as a major part of your overall volunteer recruitment strategy. In other words, view the big event, in part, as a “tool” in the volunteer recruitment toolkit. Much like the “Event-Based Growth Strategy” leverages the big event to grow average weekly attendance over time, the “Event-Based Volunteer Recruitment Strategy” grows volunteerism over time.
Over the ministry year, your church does a number of big events. Each big event is an opportunity to get lots of attenders involved as volunteers. Here’s the important part. Immediately following the big event a well thought out recognition/follow up process maximizes the number of first-time volunteers who go from the big event they just experienced to volunteering once per month on Sunday morning.