Last week we discussed a few methods to increase the excitement and number of volunteers in your ministry. The topic was popular and we wanted to expand on a few more ideas that will allow you can increase your helper numbers.
1. Make it easy.
If you want to take a step, you’ve got to make it simple and small. Too many steps are grand-canyon sized, so they scare people off before they get started. Church leaders tend to make it easy on themselves or their team, when what they should be doing is making it easier on the people. Here’s a simple example from the world of church giving. Obviously, the church wants people to financially support the mission and vision. But in so many churches it’s so dang complicated to give. The first option is a plate or a bucket passed during a service. But 7 out of 10 people don’t have cash or checks with them. It’s literally impossible for them to participate. It’s easy for us to pass the plate, but it’s not easy for people living in a digital age to participate. So we tell them to go to our website, where they need to go through a 10-step registration process, get a username and password they will later forget, and click through a bunch of screens. We make them register because it syncs with our church database software so our paid financial assistant won’t have to manually enter any information.
What we should do is work to provide people an easy to use mobile giving option, a registration-free online option, and a simple way to give. Can people sign up from their phones? Could they text in a registration? Can they do it online? Do you really need that info on the card? When you’re planning your program, event, or trip – spend a significant amount of time planning the sign up process. Think through how you’re going to get people TO this thing, not just what the thing is.
It might sound like this:
In just a couple of minutes, we’re going to receive an offering. Ushers are going to pass plates down the rows and you can drop donations in there if you like. For those of you who would like to donate with your phone, you can go to yourchurchwebsite.com and make a no-registration donation…it takes about 60 seconds. And if you’d like to give later, you can visit that website anytime.
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2. Create scarcity.
Let’s go back to those infomercials you’ve watched on TV. Have you ever seen a ticker in the corner of the screen? Something that counts down how many are available? A lot of times those are fake. They do it because they know scarcity is a powerful motivation tool. People don’t want to miss out.
Again, you don’t want to manipulate people, but you could use the power of scarcity to call people to action. You could point out there are only 12 spots on the mission team. You could say there are three new small groups starting this fall. Whenever you create a limited number of people, it makes it a little more special in people’s mind.
You can also create scarcity combined with price. If your church event involves money, like the youth camp example above, you can create a certain number of registration spots at a lower price. You can raise the price at a certain date or after a certain number of sign ups. That creates scarcity.
It might sound like this:
If you’re brand new to Grace Church, I wanted to invite you to an informal gathering where you can meet some of our staff and hear a little bit about our story. I’ll be there to answer any questions you have. Now we keep these small and informal – just 12 families. There are usually people on the waiting list. So if you want to claim your spot at the next one – it’s December 6 right after the service – go to yourchurchwebsite.com from your smartphone or stop by the info table today.
3. Give them a reason.
This next tip is the most important of all. When you want to give people a reason to do something, first think of a reason that’s important to them. And remember, what is important to you isn’t necessarily important to your audience.
In fact, it’s probably not even on their radar. Remember…you’ve been working on this for a while, you know what the Bible says, and you know it’s important.But the people hearing this are thinking about work, bills, kids, sports, lunch, family and all sorts of other things. Their world is not the church. So make sure you step into their world and give reasons that make sense to them. Secondly, when you give people reasons, talk about the deep benefits. Most of the information you share is about your program, your vision. It’s a classic example of talking about the features when you should be talking about the benefits. Features are about you and your program. Benefits are about them and their life.
- Jimmy Danger is the camp speaker.
- Blue Ocean Scarf is the worship band.
- It’s July 16th and costs $300.
All of those statements are features – they describe the event well, but they are about the event not the person. You need to cover the basic info, but you can’t stop there. Think about parents and their children and dial into the real benefits.
- Your student could make long Christian friends.
- Your high school student will learn how to make wise decisions.
- Your son or daughter will develop a relationship with an adult who loves Jesus.
Those are benefits of a summer camp. They are focused on the person and not the event itself. They tap into much deeper reasons for signing up. If you want to reach people at a heart level, talk about how programs, events or opportunities will benefit them.
I am Michael Lukaszewski from michaellukaszewski.com. I write on leadership, church, and occasionally on random topics that don’t fit nicely into any of these categories, mostly for church leaders. If you work in a small business or non-profit organization, you’ll find the information here helpful too. Follow Michael on Twitter