Getting Everyone In The Game
A common question we hear from leaders is “How can we increase the number of volunteers who get involved?” Simply put, what’s the best way of getting everyone in the game? If you are depending on volunteers and teams to grow your impact, this question can keep you awake at night. You may be spending long hours thinking through strategies on how to recruit and how to create incentives for others to get involved and stay involved. In our experience, you can come up with the cleverest messages and incentives, and you may still fall short.
We would like to suggest two simple steps to help you in getting everyone involved …
Make opportunities clear
One of the biggest mistakes we can make is to assume that people know and understand what our needs are.
We have a friend who leads music at a church. He needed a bass guitar player for his team, and week after week he was feeling frustrated that people weren’t volunteering. He asked people to help, but no one stepped forward. One week he grabbed a bass guitar and set it out on stage during the service, knowing it would sit un-played. He again announced that he was looking for someone to play the bass but no one stepped forward. He decided to leave it there and after a few weeks he was approached by a few people asking if they could learn now to play and if he would teach them. That one simple change helped people to clearly know there was an opportunity.
Think about the opportunities you have. Have you made them clear? Do people know how to get involved and what they can do to contribute? Are these opportunities present in all your forms of communication (social media, website, newsletter, announcements, etc.)?
Don’t fill slots
This may sound counter-intuitive but, Joseph Meyers explains in his book Organic Community: Creating a Place Where People Naturally Connect, that when you are recruiting someone the number one question they want answered is not “what’s the role?” or even “what’s in it for me?” The question they really want answered is “why me?” They want to know what you see in them and how they fit. They hope that the answer is tied to who they are as a person and how God can uniquely use them to fulfill some special role in His mission. How disappointing would it be for them to learn that the reason was really just about you filling a slot, and that they are simply the nearest warm body to you?!
As you meet with them, tell them why you believe they are the right person, why you believe in them, and why you believe God wants to empower them in this way.
Often, our temptation is to quickly fill roles or holes in our leadership but this can also backfire and quickly cause burnout or lack of commitment. What are you doing to get people involved?
Are you asking for volunteers from the general audience and hoping people “stick” when you give them an opportunity?
Let’s Get Started Getting Everyone In the Game in Your Setting!
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What would it look like for you to help identify people and opportunities according to their gifts and passions?