If you’ve worked at a church for any length of time, or even attended a church semi-regularly, you know that volunteers are necessary. These volunteers are the ones getting to church early to set the chairs out, greeting attendees at the doors, and working hard to help first-time church visitors feel welcome and connected – not to mention all of the work volunteers do during the week following up with visitors, preparing small group lessons, and serving alongside church ministers. Volunteers aren’t optional. However, what do you do if you have people who are faithful church donors, but don’t volunteer?
Sometimes, the value of time seems to be worth more than the value of money. It’s common to see people in churches willing to tithe, but not willing to volunteer. Even though this is an unfortunate reality, it can be addressed, and in many cases, changed.
A study found that volunteers give ten times more than non-volunteers. This means that by turning donors into volunteers, you may gain more workers and more generous givers too!
Here are three ways you can work to turn your church donors into volunteers.
1. Acknowledge Your Donors
It’s human nature to want to be acknowledged for doing good things. This is true in the church, too. A simple acknowledgment of your church donors will go a long way in helping them feel appreciated and willing to take the next step of volunteering in your church.
Here are a few easy ways to acknowledge donors:
- Send a thank you note, email, or even text message. This can even be automated easily with a church management system!
- Thank church donors in person. Don’t be scared to take donors to lunch to thank them for their generosity, or even just stop them in the church hallway to say thank you.
- Reach out using a phone call to let them know that their generosity is appreciated. Consider letting them know what their donation will go towards too.
- Share acts of generosity on your social media platforms. Keep in mind that some people may not want to be recognized publicly, so be sure to either okay it with them first, or keep your post anonymous.
- Film a video that showcases how the money of church donors was used. Storytelling is powerful, so be sure to tell the story behind the generosity if you choose to do this.
- Host a fellowship or get together for your church donors. This doesn’t have to be fancy, just a simple party to say thank you!
- Give a small gift to church donors. Keep it small and token-like so that it doesn’t cost much, but still displays your thankfulness.
Keep in mind that many church donors give as an act of obedience to the Lord and not to be recognized. Because of this, they may appreciate a simple and more low-key acknowledgment rather than a big, public act. You know your church donors better than anyone, so use your discretion here.
2. Present the Volunteer Needs
The next step in turning your donors into church volunteers is to present the needs of your church. You’d be surprised at how often faithful members have no idea what the volunteer needs are. How will they know unless you tell them?
Here are a few of our favorite ways to let your church know where volunteers are needed.
- Create a “Serve” page on your church website. This page should list volunteer opportunities and have a form where members can sign up to volunteer. Be sure to keep this up-to-date with current needs.
- Design a volunteer brochure that lists areas of your church and even upcoming events where donors can volunteer.
- Host a service fair on a Sunday morning. At a service fair, have a representative from each ministry area at your church man a booth and talk to people about the volunteer opportunities in their area. This is a great way to get a lot of exposure and establish real connections.
- Use your church management software to create volunteer groups they can join so you can announce opportunities to an entire volunteer list or small group at one time. Learn how effective this can be here and is especially useful if you want to reach out to a large group of people for a last-minute volunteer request.
- Let people know about specific volunteer needs from the pulpit. This is one place that people will be sure to gather their information. Be sure to include a specific next step so donors who are potential volunteers will know how to get involved.
Lastly, the most important step in turning church donors into volunteers is simply to ask. Ask your donors to volunteer. You may just be surprised how willing they are!
When asking church donors to volunteer and to keep up their tithing, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Be specific. Don’t just ask them to volunteer in general, ask them to volunteer for a specific task, role, or event.
- Be sensitive. Remember, volunteering may feel uncomfortable or like a big next step. Because of this, be sure you are sensitive to their feelings when asking a donor to volunteer.
- Be encouraging. This goes back to the first step, but thank them for their faithfulness to your church and to the Gospel and encourage them to go even further in their involvement.
- Be personal. Notice the gifts that your donors have. The Bible is clear that all believers have been given spiritual gifts by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12), and your donors will probably be more willing to volunteers in areas where their gifts can be used.
Asking can go a long way when it comes to turning church donors into volunteers. Be bold and ask! Check out this article for great tips to use when approaching volunteers.
Finally, once you’ve worked to turn church donors into volunteers, it’s extremely important that you provide a way for them to stay connected to your church, even during the week. The easiest way to do this is to have an updated church website that lists needs, events, and more. If it’s time for you to update your church website, be sure to check out Ekklesia 360!