Attracting Volunteers for Your Partnership


Attracting and recruiting volunteers can be one of the hardest parts of starting any kind of service program. For church-school partnerships there are many challenges when it comes to creating the volunteer pool. Some people may feel that if they’re not available during school hours they can’t be of help. Perhaps you have someone in mind but they already serve on the vestry or spend time at a local food pantry and feel they’re already giving as much time as they can. You make announcements and create sign-up sheets but still have trouble growing your program. Sound familiar? You’re not alone!

We hear this a lot, so we set out to find some tips on how to attract volunteers to help partnership leaders recruit more help.

Last week we found a great blog called Church Volunteer Central that addresses some of the unique problems church programs face when enlisting volunteers. One of their most recent posts asks: Are you a volunteer magnet?

A volunteer magnet? Isn’t that a nice idea? If only there were some kind of magnet, plucking fully formed volunteers from the congregation!
Wait…there could be one…maybe it’s you?

We like this quick evaluation by Bob D’Ambrosio to help discover if you’re a “volunteer magnet”

Give yourself 2 points for “Always”; 1 point for “Usually”; and 0 for “Never”.

  • I spend time with my volunteers in non-work related activities.
  • I set aside time each week to pray for my volunteers.
  • Volunteers approach me to enjoy personal conversations.
  • Other people see me as kind in dealing with problems and disagreements.
  • Most of my volunteers would say I’m patient.
  • I’m flexible even when I’ve planned everything out.
  • I maintain a balance between being fun and being serious.
  • I respect the opinions of my volunteers even when they’re different from mine.
  • I partner with volunteers in planning events and activities.
  • I regularly express words of affirmation and appreciation to those who serve.
  • Scoring

    Use this score to celebrate your magnetic qualities and to examine ways to improve the quality of your leadership to volunteers.

    20-30 Give yourself a standing ovation.
    11-19 You’re on your way. Keep looking for ideas to improve what you’re doing. (Hint: perhaps make some plans for Volunteer Week April 12 – 18 to show your volunteers some appreciation)
    Below 10 Taking this assessment is a good beginning. Do you know where your weak spots are in these categories? Jot down a list of 3 actions you can take to improve your score on this quiz and come back in a month or two to take it again. Has anything changed in your program?


    “It’s important for leaders to frequently evaluate themselves to see if their relationship with volunteers is affirming. We’re often tempted to gauge our effectiveness by the success of our meetings, task completion, or the program outcomes. But the real test of ministry leadership may be on a more personal level. Years from now your volunteers won’t remember the awesome meetings you led, but they will remember how your life impacted theirs.”