Getting volunteers to attend volunteer training can be a challenge, but one you can overcome. Your volunteers will love attending training when you follow these tips!
When volunteers sign up to teach Sunday school, they picture themselves standing tall, Bibles in hand, guiding young lives toward Jesus. Shapers of eternal destiny. Leading the charge against darkness and evil. On the front lines.
They do not picture themselves parked in a church basement, pencils in hand, attending quarterly training meetings.
So getting volunteers to meetings and seminars may be a challenge, but one you can overcome. All it takes is proper planning, a personal invitation, relentless promotion, and training events that make a difference!
Here’s how to get all your volunteers out for your next training event.
- Go first class. Training is not the place to cut corners. You don’t need flash and fireworks, but show volunteers they’re worth the investment by providing first-rate refreshments, a comfortable setting, and an event that provides take-home items and surprises.
- Use an event theme. The best theme is one that ties in to the content of your event. Be creative — your enthusiasm is contagious! Look for something that’ll intrigue your volunteers, snag their curiosity, and promise fun. For example, use themes such as Connect the Dots, Grand Slam, or Garden Party. Just imagine all the things you could do with those themes!
- Get your team out of your church. It’s true that a prophet has no honor in his or her home. Sometimes what you need is a road trip — even if it’s down the street to a regional training.
- Deliver the goods. Fun gets volunteers out for training sessions once — volunteers will return only if you provide quality content. Volunteers will forgive almost anything except wasting their time. Have something worth hearing before you hold a training event.
- Include meetings in job descriptions. Are quarterly or monthly meetings part of the job? Tell prospective teachers up front — so meetings aren’t a schedule-busting surprise later.
- Distribute agendas before the meeting. Decide what you want to accomplish. Ask, “What problem will this training meeting help my volunteers solve?” Focus your meeting and stick to the agenda. Bonus: You’ll clearly think through the meeting in advance, and volunteers will know you’re prepared and serious.
- Watch the fundamentals. Begin and end on time. Provide dependable child-care. Serve good refreshments. Consider offering door prizes as a surprise. Schedule meetings at a convenient time, or offer two alternatives-a weekday evening and Saturday afternoon, for instance. Don’t “guilt” volunteers into attending. Talk up benefits of attendance and what attendees will get for their investment of time.
Mikal Keefer is a Sunday school teacher in Colorado.