This is part 9 in our Series on "Creating a Volunteer Plan" . And by this time, the factors are compounding on themselves to lead you into a culture of volunteer multiplication.
In science laboratories, they observe bacteria in something called a "culture." In the right culture, bacteria will spread and multiply like wildfire. When you create the right culture for volunteers, they will multiply naturally.
As we mentioned in post 7 about "Encouraging Volunteers," what you Celebrate is what gets repeated. Not only repeated in the lives of the individuals, but in the lives of others. In 9 years of youth ministry, I was privileged to see 17 young people accept a call into ministry. Whenever this happened, I always made a BIG deal out of it. Other young people saw their peers desiring to enter ministry, and that opened the door in their own heart for asking God about that path.
As you celebrate and recognize volunteers, others will see not just the accolades being made, but the difference being made. One thing I try to do from the pulpit is recognize servants who are typically behind the scenes. Some organizations struggle to get volunteers because most don't know how many other people are actually serving. By recognizing the vast amount of people who are doing things that would otherwise go unknown, you are informing the rest of your group to a culture of service that is already there.
Here are a few simple ideas to start the process of Volunteer Multiplication:
- Have Volunteers share testimonies of their time involvement during your service
- Invite Volunteers to an after party celebrating a successful event
- If a guest or visitor tells you about being impacted by a volunteer, most definitely share this in newsletter, bulletin, or publicly.
- Delegate Volunteers to find 1 or 2 people to serve for the next event.
I would like to spend a few moments touching on the last idea. If you have not heard this before, there is a good bit of truth to it; "Sheep reproduce sheep, not shepherds." The most effective recruiters of volunteers will be from your current volunteers themselves. Yes as a leader you are to promote vision, you are to encourage, and you are to guide, but once you start training your own people to start duplicating themselves awesome things start to happen.
To give you an example, this year our church had it's first Easter Egg Hunt event for children. We prepared for 50 children which would have been huge for our church. We enlisted enough volunteers for 50 children. The only problem is that 92 children showed up. We didn't have enough prizes, enough hot dogs, or enough eggs. But next year we will know better. Many people did not see how successful the event was and how much fun it was to minister to those children and families, but the volunteers who were there did. Next year when it comes time to recruit new volunteers, this would be the successful formula to help you out as the leader: If each person that served would find 2 or 3 people to serve in their ministry area, the need would be taken care of. So then you as the leader equip your people to cast vision to others, and become duplicators.
This completely makes sense with our last post of "Releasing Volunteers" because you are creating a system that could and will carry on without your presence.
In conclusion, the best way to multiply volunteers is not simply release them to serve, but release them to reproduce themselves. Good sheep produce good sheep.