If you work for any type of church or Christian organization you know that church volunteer recruitment can be a challenge. People are busy, have limited time, and often already have commitments in other areas of their life. In this post I will show you through the lens of a church consulting firm how you can recruit more volunteers by casting wide and reaching deep in your church volunteer recruitment efforts.


2 Elements of Casting Wide in Church Volunteer Recruitment

1) Ask Individuals With Any Skill Set

When casting wide (and shallow) in your church volunteer recruitment, you are asking for people to help you with events that need lots of volunteers. As church leaders, you can utilize untrained volunteers. This is especially true for basic work that does not require specific skills or training. Examples include holiday events or crisis needs.

2) Recruit Individuals All Year Long

Because you are looking for mostly untrained volunteers, you should be recruiting people all year long. People in unskilled volunteer roles usually have a high turnover rate, so you will want to spend the entire year recruiting new volunteers. Because of the high visibility of pastors, if you make a personal invite or ask one of your church leaders to invite someone, you are likely to see better results.

Additionally, you are not looking for a specific type of volunteer with a specific skill set. Because almost any person can do the work you are recruiting for, you can use a variety of methods to recruit these volunteers. Use a large variety of methods to recruit diverse people and abilities. This is what I call casting your net wide.

In order to recruit volunteers, you need to attempt different approaches to church volunteer recruitment. Determine which ones work. Then, stick with those methods. Here are a few “wide” methods used in church volunteer recruitment:

  • Print media
  • Audiovisual presentations
  • In-person interactions
  • Social media
  • Digital communication

2 Elements of Reaching Deep in Church Volunteer Recruitment

1) Ask Indiviuals with Specific Skill Sets or Training

  • Focus on recruiting just a couple of volunteers.
  • Be specific with your requests.
  • Look for individuals with special skills.
  • Interview them to get a feel for their strengths.
  • Conduct background checks, if needed.

2) Recruit Individuals Deliberately 

Find people and groups that have similar values, interests, and priorities to your church’s mission or the specific volunteer position you need filled. Consider individuals in the fields below for the specific roles needing to be fulfilled:

  • church workers
  • service clubs
  • education
  • advertising firms
  • accountants and attorneys
  • specific businesses based on their philanthropic focus areas

Actively seek out these people for a specific role that fits their needs. 

When you are doing “deep” church volunteer recruitment you are looking for people with specific skills and credentials. You might want to seek out someone you already know. These people will often respond favorably to an invitation to volunteer. If you have someone in mind you want to contact about volunteering, consider one of these ways to ask.

  1. Need-based: “I need someone to fill this important role, and I think you would be a great fit.”
  2. Relationship-based: “I know you enjoy helping and serving others, and this volunteer position would allow you to do that.”
  3. Significance-based: “You have some of the skills and strengths that I need for [volunteer position].”
  4. Vision-based: “As you know, our vision is [share vision]. Would you consider serving with us to make that vision real?”

Remember that “No” doesn’t mean “never.” If someone does say “no,” ask why he said “no” and get permission to follow up at a later date. Then, make sure you follow up!

Take some time and evaluate your given situation regarding casting wide and reaching deep in your church volunteer recruitment. Which approach do you need to use? What other suggestions do you have?

Checkout Christopher’s other posts in his series on volunteering:
4 Elements of Casting Wide and Reaching Deep in Your Church Volunteer Recruitment
4 Ways to Use Vision to Recruit Volunteers
Creating Simple and Effective Volunteer Descriptions for Your Church


Source: This post originally appeared on on Christopher Scott’s blog on January 5, 2015.

Christopher Scott has managed volunteers at the United Way for nearly 10 years and holds a degree in Christian Ministry and Leadership from Fresno Pacific University. As leader, weekly blogger, and student pursuing a master’s degree in Christian Leadership from Dallas Theological Seminary, he has a passion for lay leader development and church volunteer recruitment as a means to increasing the impact in and through the local church.