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.

31.39% of church volunteers serve in order to grow their relationship with Christ. So in order to make their work more fulfilling, teach them about service and spiritual gifts in a short volunteer training. Show them how their work is indicative of and contributes to their own spiritual growth. Maybe they are flipping burgers at an upcoming community event, but it’s all Kingdom-building work.

Remind 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 and whether or not they volunteer in the new year.

5. Recruit in teams

A focus on the recruitment and training of entire teams is a mark of churches with a flourishing volunteer experience—and it’s an effective strategy for recruiting volunteers. Focus on the belonging aspect of serving and not just the doing. For volunteers, it’s not just what is happening, but who they’re doing it with that can make serving extremely attractive. People want to do things together with others of like heart and gifting.

Let your community know that you’ll be recruiting in small groups and that will try to match people of similar life stages and personality types. If people know that they can walk away from volunteering with the knowledge that they got to serve their church and volunteering becomes an appealing use of their time and talents.

“We recruit in teams or to teams. Thus, we assure people will not be ‘alone’ in any role. We try to have the volunteers be part of a TEAM…and they do life together. They know their ROLE in the vision for that department or job.”

—Doug T., Redwood Chapel Community Church

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. 

To discover the 7 hidden factors to creating a healthy, sustainable volunteer culture and thrive this holiday season, download the free ebook, The Definitive Guide to Finding, Training, and Keeping Church Volunteers, today!

volunteer ebook cta

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.