Volunteer Emphasis: Assimilating New Volunteers

Can I confess that follow-up is always the very hardest?  Maybe it is just me, but this rings true for everything big: camp, VBS, big events, etc…  There is always something coming up next and it is difficult to be effective in following up from the last thing.

One of the members of our leadership team pointed out the importance of making sure we had a good plan of what to do with all the people who signed up to help during our volunteer emphasis. We also used this as a catalyst for a new system for on-boarding volunteers.  Here is what it looked like:

  1.  Every volunteer got a personal email from me and a phone call from a volunteer heading up the process.
  2. They were invited to an orientation on a Sunday morning.  We had two time options to fit their worship schedule.
  3. We had them fill out their background screens on the spot and handed out the volunteer handbooks.
  4. I walked through our ministry philosophy and core values as well as high level basics about child safety and our processes.
  5. We took a tour of the kids’ hall and I explained programming.
  6. Volunteers picked a role to shadow for 3-4 weeks, with the understanding that we would follow up to determine if it was a good fit.  They were not yet signing anything in stone. 🙂
  7. We provided the teachers who were being shadowed with a short checklist of items to make sure their “shadower” learned while there.
  8. True to our word, at the end of 3-4 weeks we checked in with each volunteer and the teachers they were shadowing to see if it was a good fit.

The key in this to me was an amazing volunteer leader.  Administration and details are not my favorite, but they are my sweet friend, Jeanna’s favorite.  She owned the process from beginning to end.  By recognizing my big weakness and allowing someone else to use their strength, we were able to work together to create a much healthier assimilation process.

We added 15 volunteers in one day and so far they are all sticking!

What does your assimilation process look like?

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