× Christmas Easter Summer Special Events Encouragement Volunteer Recruitmen Volunteer Retention Out-of-the-Box Ideas Faith at Home Must-have Resources Tips & Tricks WOW! Lessons

Three Common Mistakes in Volunteer Recruiting

Do you struggle to attract motivated, excited, and fully committed volunteers? And when you do, is it hard to keep them long-term?

The fact of the matter is, it’s going to take more than free food, a cute video, or an awesome t-shirt to get them on board (although those things might help too.)

Even though every person in your church wants to do something significant and feel they’re part of something important, and children’s ministry is a perfect setting to accomplish both of those things, why does it seem that we never have enough volunteers?

Isn’t serving children one of the most exciting and life-changing ministries inside the church? Isn’t it a perfect place to have an impact and make a difference? I mean, we’re talking about raising the new generation of Christ-followers.

So, what’s the problem? Why the disconnect? Perhaps the answer lies in one of these three common mistakes that children’s ministry leaders make when attracting new volunteers.


There's a popular Chinese proverb that says: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

In the context of volunteer recruiting for the new school year, the second best time to start is NOW. (June was the best time to plant your volunteer tree.)

Successful volunteer recruiting doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a lot of thought, energy, planning, and creativity.

You need to give yourself plenty of time to get through to potential volunteers. One email blast, bulletin announcement, or Facebook post simply won’t do.

As a rule, give your recruiting campaign at least 75 days.

The sooner you start the more chances you’ll have to catch people’s attention. Once you have their attention, you’ll have something to work with.

Hopefully, the attention will turn into curiosity, then interest, and eventually commitment.

The longer you wait to plant your volunteer tree, the slimmer your chances of getting all the volunteers you need before the new school year begins.

Don’t wait another moment. Start today!

If you’re not sure where to start, or feel like you’re late in the recruiting game, START HERE.


Nothing drives away willing volunteers like a mountain of paperwork and a long to-do-list.

And let’s be honest, the entry point into the children’s ministry can be too intimidating for someone who just wants to give a hand and make a difference.

  • A sign-up form needs to be filled.

  • An application needs to be submitted.

  • A background check needs to be completed.

  • A Volunteer Handbook needs to be studied.

  • An orientation meeting needs to be attended.

  • A Volunteer Commitment needs to be signed.

And on, and on, and on.

All of these steps are important and can’t be skipped, but a wise leader would spread them out.

Do whatever you can do to make each step appear easy and doable.

Signing up for children’s ministry should be like eating an elephant — you have to feed your potential volunteers one spoon at a time.

Otherwise, you run the risk of scaring many wonderful people away.

It might be helpful to start seeing the onboarding process like a dance.

You make a move by making a recruitment announcement.

They make a move by stopping by the information booth.

You make a move by giving them additional information.

They make a move by picking an age group to work with and filling out a sign-up form.

You make a move by giving them an application.

They make a move by filling it out and returning it to you.

You get the picture, right?

Just like a dance — one move at a time.

Just like a meal — one bite at a time.

Want a powerful recruitment campaign with clearly defined steps? Click here.


The very first thing you need from any potential volunteer is their attention.

And the only way to win someone’s attention is to give them something extraordinary.

Every moment of every day there’s a battle going on for each and every ounce of our attention. Emails, Facebook messages, Instagram stories, YouTube videos, news on the TV, our children, our boss, our spouse, co-workers, billboards, and radio stations.

Everyone wants a piece of attention.

That means that your recruitment campaign cannot be boring.

You have to stand out.

You have to be heard.

You have to be seen.

You have to be memorable.

You have to leave an impression.

You have to give people something to think about. Something to talk about. Something to pray about.

Every piece of your recruiting campaign — your email subject, your bulletin announcement, your posters, slides, and social media — should command attention. And that won’t happen by accident. You have to make it happen.

For an example of a clear, creative, and compelling campaign go here.

If you are serious about getting all the volunteers you need before the new school year starts, get TROUBLE.

Click HERE to see how TROUBLE could transform one of the most dreaded jobs (chasing after volunteers) into a joyful delight.

The time to start recruiting volunteers for the new school year is NOW.

With TROUBLE you'll have everything you need to host your most successful recruitment campaign yet.

It will also be your easiest and hopefully, most exciting campaign.


Leave a comment