Volunteer Matters: How to respond to “I will help as long as I don’t have to work with the kids.”Posted by inumcconnect on Aug 2, 2012 in Youth Ministry Blog | 3 comments
A ministry friend recently shared that, while recruiting VBS volunteers, she was surprised when a few people said something like “I will help, as long as I don’t have to work with the kids.” My initial response to this was a bit sarcastic, but I believe there is much value in this statement that can help our approach to volunteer recruiting.
“I will help as long as I don’t have to work with the kids” can mean “I want to support the ministry but…
Working with children is not my gift.” These people value the ministry and are willing to commit to help, but they don’t feel gifted to work with children/youth. They are your valuable behind-the-scenes workers who make it possible for the people who are gifted to work with children/youth to concentrate on doing just that! Some key roles for this person could be:
Snack Master – Everyone loves the snack person! Whether they buy them or bake them – or get others to – this is a key role.
Shopper – This person loves to shop and find great deals. Wouldn’t it be great to have an extreme couponer on the team?
Crafter – No team would be complete without your crafty person! This person loves going on Pinterest (or other places) to find the coolest crafts and doesn’t mind cutting out 1000 tiny shapes to make it happen!
Thanker – Believe it or not, hand-written notes are still one of the best ways to say “thanks” to your ministry supporters. This is a valuable role and some people find great joy in making cards and/or writing “thank you” notes. (Pretty handwriting is a bonus but not necessary =)
Volunteer Coordinator – A people person, who can appreciate the importance of keeping volunteers informed and prepared to do their jobs. This person will help make schedules and get curriculum and news to volunteers, as well as be a source of encouragement to the team.
Stuff Organizer – If they have labeled see-through storage containers in their supply closets get them on the team ASAP!
Communicator – This person is social media savvy and will find it effortless to blast ministry news via email, facebook, twitter, etc. Of course, we can’t forget the importance of in person communication, and printed materials and visuals for people who are not connected electronically.
Media Master – This person can put together a great looking power-point presentation and even knows how to work the projector!
Greeter – This person just says “HI” as youth/kids enter the door. This helps boost hospitality and offers a time for adults to connect with students in a very non-threatening way.
“I will help as long as I don’t have to work with the kids” can also mean “I want to support the ministry but…
I don’t feel equipped to lead children/ I need more information about the ministry/ volunteer opportunities.” Insecurity and lack of information are top reasons why people don’t volunteer. Here are some tips to help get the information out to potential volunteers and a few tips on resourcing your team.
Create job descriptions for every possible volunteer opportunity. Think outside of the norm and include opportunities for all ages and abilities to help (cookie bakers, thank you note writers, photographers, greeters, copy makers, etc.).
Host a ministry info night. This is a time for people to come to learn more about what’s happening in your ministry. Share ministry milestones, successes and future goals. Give current ministry needs and offer job descriptions for volunteer spots that need filled. Offer a time for Q&A. Know your stuff. Be prepared. Have information ready to hand over. Share your passion for the ministry. This will help build confidence in your leadership.
Offer job shadowing opportunities. For those who want to serve but are unsure of where to plug in, offer opportunities to job shadow or visit some of your current programming. This will give an accurate picture of the program and help the person understand the job more clearly.
Offer training. Go to training together. Provide articles and books. Do what it takes to help keep your team sharp!
Meet w/ your team. Meet as a team quarterly to discuss ministry plans, go over curriculum, celebrations, issues, etc. Say thank you. Have snacks. Do something goofy. Dream together. Have fun! This should be a time of inspiration and information.
I hope these ideas help encourage you, so that the next time someone says “I will help as long as I don’t have to work with the kids” you will thank them for their support, find out why they don’t want to work with children/youth, and plug them in where they are comfortable serving. Most importantly, pray for the Spirit to work through your volunteers in ways they never dreamed could happen!
Thanks for all you do!
In His Service Together,Helene Foust, Associate Director of Student Ministries