What To Do When You Need Volunteers Quickly

Are you a month out from the beginning of fall programming? Maybe its only a week? Either way that last stretch of summer before the big kickoff can feel overwhelming especially when you are short on your most valuable resource…VOLUNTEERS!

Don’t worry you aren’t alone. After 13 years of youth ministry I still panic when it comes to this time of year. Even if I have ENOUGH it never feels that way. Instead of drowning in helplessness you need to become proactive. Whether you need 30 or just 1 more volunteer your first step should be to:VERBALIZE YOUR NEEDS
It would be awesome if people could read your thoughts, sense your panic and send some potential volunteers your way. It might seem like common sense to verbalize your needs but it can’t be over emphasized. Simply saying:

I need some volunteers!!!! HELP ME!!!!”

Is not enough. You need to be able to those around you:

  • How many people you need.
  • Where you need them serving.
  • What’s required of a volunteer.
  • The characteristics of an ideal leader.

The more specific your requests the easier it’s going to be for them to help you. Just make sure you get the word out to others.


At this point there is no silver bullet. You need to be aggressive in your strategy. That means going big by planning an event where you can invite people to learn more. It also means going small by calling people up, grabbing a bite to eat and sharing with them your intentions.

When you go BIG get the pastor involved. See if he can advocate on your behalf, share his platform with you and communicate to the entire congregation. Direct people to an event where you can share the vision and have people commit at the end of the night.

When you go SMALL get a list of potential volunteers from coworkers and current volunteers. Call them up and invite them into an opportunity where you can share with them your ministry. Whether or not they say yes or no ask them to refer someone else you can chat to about serving in in ministry.


After you invite people to serve you are going to have to break it down for them. They might have given you a confident yes, but they still need clarity to succeed.

Break down what it is you want them to do and know. Connect them with a current volunteer who knows what they are doing. Take away any of the friction that might prevent them from following through on their commitment.


You might hit your goals and you might fall short. No matter where you end up with a final count don’t lose hope. Look at the situation as the opportunity God has given you. Make the most of it by using each person wisely.

That might mean changing aspects of your program and that’s okay. The goal is not to perfectly execute the agenda, its to build up a team of dynamic volunteers. Don’t be afraid to readjust what you are doing so that you can build a healthy program.


Even as you get closer to your goal it isn’t time to slow down. In fact keep the momentum going so that you can continue to build up bench strength. Not only will your capacity to reach more teens increase but so will your ability to recruit more people down the road.

Recruiting volunteers is a skill that will develop over time. The trick is not to let the need slow you down. It might be cause for some frustration at first and no one wants to be turned down; however, with each YES that you receive your confidence will grow.

Question: What’s worked for you when it comes to recruiting volunteers? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.