5 Ways to Recruit Volunteers for Christmas

5 Ways to Recruit Volunteers for Christmas

If you’re looking to increase your church’s volunteer involvement, Christmas is the perfect opportunity. There are plenty of ways people can serve others during the holidays, and the season makes them exceptionally open to pitching in.

Once they discover the joy of your Christmas service, they’re more likely to make themselves available to volunteer all year long.

Here are some tips to get people more involved this Christmas:

1. Invite them in on the planning

Instead of coming up with service ideas and then looking for people to fill the roles, why not include them from the outset? Set up a pitch meeting one Sunday after church to come up with some ways that the church could serve the community during the holidays.

People are more willing to get involved when they feel a sense of ownership over the task. Including them in the planning (even if you don’t go with their idea) can be a way to increase their buy-in.  

And you’ll be surprised by the number of great ideas that you may never have considered.

2. Consider ways to appeal to different personalities

A lot of Christmas volunteer opportunities require busy work. It’s usually stuff like packing boxes, wrapping presents, or preparing and serving food. This work is important, and you shouldn’t overlook it just because it isn’t glamorous.

But if you can brainstorm ways to bring in more creative elements, you’ll provide more opportunities for different personalities to feel like they’ve truly contributed. When you’re serving meals for low-income families, make sure you’re getting input and help on decorating tables, planning the menu, and even interacting with the families.

These kinds of elements can make your event pop while making everyone feel like they can make a real personal contribution.

3. Give the volunteers the best tasks

Too often, churches come up with service ideas that require a lot of hands-on work. The paid staff divvies up the most fun and interesting tasks, and the remaining grunt work gets left for volunteers to do.

Why not flip that on its head? As you put together your Christmas service projects, set aside the most enjoyable and fun tasks for the volunteers. This not only helps people enjoy the act of serving, but it’s a way that the staff can serve the volunteers.

4. Make volunteering meaningful

The first time someone volunteers, they come in with certain expectations. Maybe they volunteered after hearing a sermon about how being more involved gives life more meaning, or maybe they expect a powerful team-building experience.

Then they show up in a kitchen, are handed a spatula, and receive a small amount of instruction before they end up working for hours in isolation. In the end, they go home kind of deflated about the whole experience.

Sometimes, the kind of work that needs to be done isn’t fulfilling, so if you can find ways to make volunteering meaningful for the volunteers, do it.

This could include praying together, giving them a small gift of some kind, or just working to create an environment that reminds them that they’re doing something significant. Anything you can do to help volunteers feel like they did something worthwhile will make a big difference in how they end up thinking about the experience.

5. Throw a volunteer bash

Set aside some of your budget to throw an end-of-the-year volunteer thank-you party. And pull out all the stops—you want this to be a real event. Have t-shirts made, take a lot of photos, and make this annual tradition a big deal for your church.

If you can pull it off, your volunteer bash should be one of the year’s most significant events. Not only do you want to celebrate and thank your volunteers, but you want to create a fear of missing out on everyone else’s behalf. You want people to feel like volunteering is one of the most exciting opportunities for church members.

Volunteers: Your Most Precious Commodity

The church is a volunteer-led revolution. The more people you can get involved in service, the more you can accomplish. If you’re deliberate and intentional, Christmas can be a fantastic opportunity to onboard new volunteers for the coming year.

Jayson D. Bradley

Jayson D. Bradley is a writer and pastor in Bellingham, WA. He’s a regular contributor to Relevant Magazine, and his blog JaysonDBradley.com has been voted one of the 25 Christian blogs you should be reading.