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Another year is almost in the history books, and it is difficult to believe that the Christmas Season is upon us. For churches, Christmas and Easter are two of the busiest times of the year.
This is due in part to the reality that many people only attend church on these two holidays.
Because of this increased church attendance, there’s more to do and a need for help.
Many churches do special things during the Christmas season.
Some add a special Christmas production, host special events for children, or ramp up services for Christmas Eve.
Regardless, it is imperative to have a team of volunteers ready to meet the challenge of getting it all done.
The Christmas season is also a great opportunity to get new people involved.
You will want to have a clear goal for how to manage the volunteers. This focus on the value of volunteers can help you recruit new volunteers and retain those faithful ones.
10 Tips for Managing Christmas Volunteers
1. Share the Vision
Recruiting volunteers during the busy Christmas season is challenging because people have many other personal and family commitments.
Spend some time sharing the goal and vision for the Christmas season with members and volunteers.
This awareness will help people (who may not have stepped up to volunteer before) understand the importance of getting involved.
This increased involvement will help the church reach those first-time visitors or guests of church members.
2. Create a Streamlined Approval Process
Efficient and streamlined processes make it easy for people to get involved.
Create a streamlined volunteer application and approval process during this busy time.
The goal is to get as many people through the process as quickly as possible so you can increase the number of available volunteers to help.
The process should include gathering all pertinent volunteer demographic and background information.
Try to learn about the volunteer’s skills and experiences. This information will help you determine the best job placement.
For instance, if you learn that a volunteer has computer skills, you may recruit them to help with office work. Or if you find that a new volunteer does sales work, put them in a public place interacting with visitors and guests.
3. Conduct Background Checks
Volunteer background checks are an important step in managing volunteers, particularly if those volunteers work around or with children.
Churches have a legal responsibility for the children in their care. This reality makes it important to know whether a volunteer has a criminal background.
You can’t afford to miss this step.
4. Targeted Job Assignment
Consider what job you assign each volunteer, particularly when managing an influx of new volunteers.
Filling a hole with a warm body is not always the best way to get the job done – the way you want.
For example, you may not want to put someone who isn’t comfortable around children in the kid’s church for the first time when you know you will be busier than usual.
Be thoughtful in your placement and try to match volunteers with jobs that complement their interests and skills.
5. Equip Volunteers for Assigned Tasks
Volunteers give their time to help and to make a difference.
It’s up to you to make sure they have a detailed job description and the tools they need to do the job.
Whether that’s providing adequate supplies, working equipment, or a uniform, make sure every volunteer has what they need to do the job successfully.
For example, a volunteer in the parking ministry may need a working headset and radio.
Ensure you have enough of the right equipment and that it’s in proper working order.
6. Provide Adequate Training
Excellence is defined by the way you do things and consistency in practice.
People pay attention to and judge a church based on how volunteers interact and treat members, guests, and visitors.
Volunteers need thorough training on job assignments to ensure they’re completing tasks within the scope of ministry guidelines.
7. Create A Reasonable Schedule
Churches are busy with countless things to do to prepare for Christmas – often with limited help. However, it’s important to consider the way you schedule volunteers.
The Christmas season is a busy time of year for everyone. Be considerate of your volunteers and take the time to create a schedule that maximizes availability yet does not place an undue burden on your free labor force.
The last thing you want is for volunteers to hesitate about volunteering because they can’t manage the time commitment.
Remember, these people are volunteers—free labor.
8. Provide Leadership and Oversight
Regardless of the role a volunteer fills, leadership and oversight is important to ensure they feel supported.
Someone should always be available to answer questions, resolve issues, or troubleshoot the unexpected.
Make sure volunteers understand the chain of command and know who to go to with questions.
9. Always Say Thank You
Following a busy season, make sure you invest some time thanking volunteers for their help.
Share information about attendance, reaction, and success of Christmas-related events to help volunteers recognize the part they played in pulling it off.
Most people treasure a personalized handwritten note, so invest the time to put it in print to show your gratitude.
10. Ask for Feedback
The first provides valuable insight into the volunteer experience and allows you to learn from that experience.
Ask them how to improve systems and processes for next year or the next event, and you’re sure to walk away with action steps to incorporate into the planning process.
The second benefit is that sharing thoughts and ideas validates volunteers and makes them feel like a valuable part of the team – that’s what engages them and keeps them involved.
Christians Celebrate the Birth of Jesus
Christmas is the time of year when Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior. We come together to share the story and its meaning with family, friends, and strangers.
To have a smooth operation at the church, it’s vital to have an organized process to manage the influx of volunteers and those you’ve come to depend on.
A well-oiled system can not only help to get new people involved, but it also allows you to accomplish a lot of tasks that help to enhance this holy and magical season of Christmas.
Do you need help creating job descriptions for your volunteers? Check out our growing library of forms, documents, and job descriptions by clicking here.