There are many books on the market designed to teach ministry leaders how to recruit volunteers. They’ve been around for as long as I can remember. Most teach basically the same principles. We all know them.
So why do we keep hearing from ministry leaders that this is a different day and age and people don’t want to volunteer anymore?
First, today’s recruiters fail to realize that recruiting has always been hard work. It takes more than a bulletin announcement and a prayer. To recruit well, a ministry leader must make many, many contacts and be self-confident enough to hear “no” numerous times without getting discouraged. This has not changed for decades.
Second, while it is not true that people won’t volunteer today, it is true that most are pickier than ever. Today’s potential volunteer is looking for a high-impact opportunity where the leaders values his time and will assist him to make a difference.
Finally and most importantly, we need to stop whining. It’s a fact!
Psychologist Martin Seligman spent several years studying the relationship between positive thinking and sales success. Seligman developed an instrument called the Attributional Style Questionnaire (ASQ) to assess people’s levels of optimism…When scores were matched to actual sales records, it turned out that agents who scored in the top half for optimism sold 37 percent more…over two years than those in the more pessimistic bottom half. More notable still, agents who scored in the top 10 percent for optimism sold 88 percent more than those ranked in the most pessimistic 10 percent. (Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in The Power of Full Engagement, p. 95)
Whether we like it or not, recruiting is “sales.”
The good news is that as ministry leaders we have the best product ever! We are “selling” something wonderful… the chance to change lives, the chance to please God, the chance to be used by God to fulfill the calling for which he made us!
Start asking people to volunteer … with confidence and optimism!