Tips for recruiting volunteers

The UU Growth Lab in Facebook recently featured an article by Karin Hurt titled “How to Recruit Leaders in Your Volunteer Organization.”

Among Hurt’s tips:

• Create “bite-size” roles so volunteers won’t feel overwhelmed.

• Set term limits so people know when their service ends.

• Don’t micromanage once someone has accepted a role.

• Communicate volunteer opportunities widely, not just among a select few.

There are also useful observations in the many reader comments to the article. The article, dated January 13, 2014, also can be found on Hurt’s blog, Let’s Grow Leaders.

The UU Growth Lab is a useful place to find and discuss a range of topics relating to growth issues in congregations. There is also a UU Young Adult Growth Lab. Both can be found by searching for “UU Growth” in Facebook.

Tips to recruit and retain volunteers

On the blog Growing Vital Leaders, the Rev. Renee Ruchtozke, leadership development consultant for the Central East Regional Group of the Unitarian Universalist Association, offers some tips for recruiting volunteers. In brief, find out what each member’s gifts and passions are and help them find a role that feeds them, notes Ruchtozke, drawing on information from Bonnie Blosser, the director of lifelong learning at the Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, Kans. See the blog entry “Your Trash, Another’s Treasure.” Also read the comments for more information.

If someone is being fed, say Ruchtozke and Blosser, they are less likely to burn out or fade away. And if you find a volunteer who seems to be struggling, make it possible for them to give up part of that job to someone who might enjoy it more. Or leave it empty to see if someone will step into it. It’s important, Blosser says, to “walk beside” the volunteer. “Sometimes just knowing you have someone you can turn to helps you to plow through.”

Growing Vital Leaders is a blog of the Central East Regional Group that focuses on ideas, tips, and tools on leadership formation. Recent blog topics have included congregational communications and management issues.

Many other articles and several webinars on volunteer recruitment are here.