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Events, Ministry Organization

Organizing an Easter volunteer recruitment system

Easter is coming!

This year, our campus is doing seven services Easter weekend! We have two Good Friday services (for the first time), and five Easter services (two Saturday and three Sunday). Needless to say, we are looking for many people willing to serve!

Easter is a big deal at Saddleback. Saturday night we are serving meatball sliders, and Sunday morning we’re having a pancake breakfast. Both days we also have funnel cakes and snow cones. In addition, there is an Easter egg hunt, a chance for kids to make toy planes, a balloon animal training tent, a fun photo booth, many photo opps, and balloons everywhere.

The only way we can pull this off is by having many volunteers with servant hearts. In all, we are looking for a minimum of 330 volunteers!

Over the years we have developed an effective volunteer recruitment system for our events (and we have a lot of events). For a large event like Easter, things are a little more complicated, but all events follow a similar system.

Promotion

We promote everywhere:

  • Bulletin announcements
  • Verbal announcements
  • Video announcements
  • Digital screens
  • Pastor’s email newsletter
  • Email previous event volunteers
  • Staff talk to existing volunteers
  • Lobby table with board (see below)
  • Social media
  • Personal invitations
  • Talk to volunteer ministry leaders to recruit ministries to oversee certain areas (for example, in the past Men’s Ministry has handled BBQs and Women’s Ministry oversee baked goods donations).

Sign-up System

The sign-up system is a bit complicated to set up, but we find that the many hours spent ahead of time mean that volunteers have clarity and confidence going into the event. It also makes the sign-up process really easy for volunteers.

Ministry leaders submit the numbers of volunteers needed in their own areas. We compile these numbers into a spreadsheet, including

  • Category
  • Position
  • Time shift
  • Number of people needed

We create a paper sign-up form. This year, for the first time, our form is double-sided. Here’s the first side to give an example.

Then we create a board full of circles. Each circle is one person per shift.

This board was created in Adobe Illustrator. It is 4′ x 8′ and printed on Coroplast. The beginning shift time is printed on each circle.

We then staple the board onto a stand and wheel it to the lobby. The stand is very utilitarian and we will be working to improve aesthetics. It is made with 2×4’s and gets the job done.

As people sign up, they turn in their form. They write their initials on 2″ circle labels and stick them to the correct spot on the board. (You can see one on the picture above.) The more people who sign up, the more circles get filled up on the board. It’s fun to see more and more circles with initials appear as the weeks go by.

For those who prefer digital means, we have a web page that lists all the opportunities. It’s nothing fancy, but people can peruse it easily to see what roles are available.

At the bottom of the page is a link where they can go to our online sign-up form and select where they would like to serve. This page gets updated with real-time headcount as people sign up. Unfortunately we currently have to do this manually.

We’ve also created a QR code so that people can scan with their phone and go immediately to the sign-up site.

An alternative to using this online signup method is to use a site such as signup.com, which we used to do. It is a lot easier and eliminates the creation of these multiple systems. But because we now use a volunteer scheduling system for our other teams, we use this method to tie into the existing system.

The Hand-Off Process

  1. When people sign up, we enter them into our scheduling software.
  2. The receive a confirmation that they have been signed up.
  3. We ask them to attend a New Volunteer Orientation, where we cover big picture views of serving at Saddleback, including mission, values and tips for creating a welcoming environment.
  4. Their name is sent to the leader of the team that they signed up for.
  5. The leader communicates directly with that volunteer about details.
  6. A few days before the event, we send out a reminder and any last-minute details.
  7. At the event, we have a check-in table where volunteers stop by first. They get an events volunteer name badge that they wear, and report to their leader.
  8. At the end of the event, the volunteer checks out and gives feedback for further improvement. We are always thrilled when they say they had a good time!

The Team

Our Ministry Mobilization Team is an awesome team of volunteers that are involved in every step of the way:

  • Table staffing coordinator arranges the schedule to make sure there are people at the table. Other members of the team step in and stay at the lobby table to answer questions.
  • Data entry people pick up the form and enter it into our scheduling system. They also send out emails to the volunteers confirming their sign-up.
  • Connectors call people or email them if they express interest but don’t designate a particular role.

Yesterday and today, we started Week 1 of recruiting. Week 1 is always a little slow because it’s the first time people heard about it. As the weeks go on, momentum picks up. We’re praying the Lord brings the army of volunteers that we need!


Angela Yee is author of The Christian Conference and Event Planner, a comprehensive guide that covers the nuts-and-bolts of designing, leading, coordinating and executing an effective event. This 376-page resource has step-by-step instructions and and sample forms and documents of events of all shapes and sizes. Learn how to take stress out of planning an event of any size for your church or organization.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Organizing an Easter Volunteer Recruitment System | The Visual Church Leader

    […] to recruiting volunteers at my church. I wrote a blog about our system, complete with visuals. Click here […]

    March 25, 2017 at 8:31 pm
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