At Orange, we have a core belief. The scope of your influence is determined by the success of your volunteers. If you agree, the most important thing you can do as you prepare for the Fall is to empower your team so they can lead. While this requires a lot of intentional planning, it’s not impossible with the right team and mindset! The last thing you want is to limit both your influence and the ministry-at-large, so here are five words to consider that will start your new ministry year and your volunteers off on the right foot.
Your ministry most likely has some core values already established – like serving the community, making disciples, or deepening community. Consider using these as a framework to set some team goals and clarify your win for the new calendar year. What were some wins and learnings from the past year? Where are you going? What will you do this year to put feet to each value? How will you know if you’ve accomplished a goal?
You might also plan out how you will equip, empower and encourage your team throughout the year. Will it be through monthly volunteer huddles, seasonal virtual book studies, or weekly thank-you cards? We think all of the above are great places to start. If you subscribe to Orange Curriculum, we have developed our first monthly volunteer training resource that will give you a focused topic each month and the resources you need to ignite confidence and purpose in the hearts of your volunteers all year long.
Resource Link: Volunteer Training Scope & Cycle
In our current reality, it’s not uncommon to start off the new ministry year with holes on our teams. Families are often not fully recovered from vacation, the back-to-school frenzy has begun, and many are not thinking about how else they might fill their time.
Collaborate with your staff to plan one or two Recruitment Sundays early in the Fall to make people aware of where there are still opportunities to serve. Create a large, colorful display of open positions with copies of detailed job descriptions and contact information. Invite your current team of volunteers into the recruitment process with you so they can experience the joy of seeing new volunteers find their place and purpose.
Resource Link: Recruitment Sunday Event Kit
The beginning of any new ministry season is always exciting. There are new team members, kids and students are oftentimes in new classrooms or environments, and the energy is generally high. Leverage the momentum of the season by planning a celebratory volunteer kick-off event to cast a compelling vision and launch your team well. This is your chance to help your teams see the big picture goals for your ministry, equip them to feel empowered in their role from day one, and delegate responsibilities to your key leaders.
Attendance will be crucial so consider offering this both in-person and virtually. Record it and post it as its own event on social media so that you can capture as many people as possible. Brainstorm ways to get this information to the entire team in order to reduce the amount of “sideways energy” spent in the coming weeks training the folks who missed out.
Resource Link: Volunteer Kick Off Event Kit
It’s one thing to develop a well thought-out plan and quite another to know whether it was effective. Building a strategic evaluation and follow-up process in your ministry can be an absolute game-changer. When you give your volunteers clear directives, occasions to rise to, and a plan of action, it helps them lead with intentionality and thoughtfulness. And gives them the potential to grow and develop into better leaders.
Encourage each volunteer to come up with 2-3 goals of their own that they would like to see accomplished before the end of this ministry season. Help them determine how they will evaluate their effectiveness and set a date together to follow-up on how they’re coming along. Be sure to share your own ministry goals to make them aware that this is a team effort. We’re all on a mission to grow and become better leaders for the sake of those we lead.
Resource Link: SGL Fall Goals
In today’s tech world, it’s not enough to train our volunteers weekly, seasonally, and annually – we have to ask what it looks like to train them digitally. One of the most underutilized resources for training and inspiring our volunteers is social media. We have the opportunity to show up and drip-feed vision directly onto a device that every volunteer is going to engage with every day!
With limited time, the best plan of action is to schedule your social media in advance each month. While there are now countless publishing tools available online, perhaps the easiest option is to use Facebook’s Meta Business Suite. This free tool has the ability to schedule and publish directly to both a Facebook group and an Instagram account you have set up just for those who serve in your ministry. You might also consider how you can utilize an app like Zoom to host prayer gatherings, book studies, or simply play games through an app like Houseparty to build trust and community among your team.
Resource: Fall Social Media Kit for Volunteers