Wanda F. Pruitt

Convention Planner
California United Baptist Convention Inc.
Los Angeles

“I send out a letter to the churches in our state convention requesting help for our August convention. There's a form to mail back, and it has my phone number and e-mail address. Most replies are by phone; most of my volunteers are older people who are not into computers. I try to make my selection from all areas of the state. I also try to get all age ranges, including youth or young adults. When you can see a cross-section of the convention in the volunteers, it gives attendees good rapport with the volunteers.

“I have a luncheon for volunteers on the last day. I get picture frames and do a color certificate, signed by me and the convention state president. At the luncheon, they're recognized individually by the president. One year, he and his wife presented each of the volunteers with a CD or tape of his singing. The volunteers really loved it.”

Robert Burchell

Meeting Planner
Sonlight Wesleyan
Church Bluffton, Ind.

“I've used honorarium and expense remuneration, and free registration. I've used perks. For example, apparel with the convention logo, a nice engraved pen-and-pencil set with their names on it — things they could take with them for years after the convention. Every volunteer on our steering committee enjoys being part of the process because they enjoy the work. It's a built-in reward.”

Patricia B. Spear

Associate Director
Youth Department
Diocese of Buffalo
Buffalo, N.Y.

“We run a high school youth conference, so youth come with adults who are volunteers in their parishes. We usually have about 1,050 youth and 250 adults.

“The volunteers act as floor monitors in the hotel 24/7. Each has to take two shifts of hall duty, which may mean overnight hours, so we provide pizza for them in the evening and have coffee and treats available in the security room. Each year we try to do something a little different for the volunteers. One year they had T-shirts with “chaperone” printed on them. This year we decided to make goody bags, and put in candy, Advil, Tums, puzzles, and threw in a pen to keep them occupied. At the weekend's end, volunteers were in a drawing; the hotel we used donated an overnight package with a free breakfast, and there was also a local cruise on the Miss Buffalo.”

Alicia G. Brown

Office Manager/Events Coordinator
Calvary Community
Church Hampton, Va.

“What works for us in recruiting is one-on-one contact. We know the people in our congregation and the gifts they have. We go directly to the people and ask them to help. It's more personal. It takes more time, but it works. Volunteers are rewarded by being part of a big, successful event. It's a reward in itself. We also inundate people with appreciation and thank yous during the event, and have a get-together afterward with refreshments.”

Alison Anca

Meeting Support Manager
Florida-Bahamas Synod
Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America Tampa, Fla.

“Over the last couple of years we've had an increased number of people wanting to volunteer and we've had to turn people away; that's because we've made personal phone calls and made sure what we ask volunteers to do is what they can do.

“We typically advertise for volunteers in our publications. We get few calls from those. Where we have success is calling pastors, getting names, and calling and inviting them to serve. We do not charge registration fees for volunteers. Often, we have a banquet, and we give them discounts or free meals. They also receive vouchers for their meals while on-site. For a few of the volunteers who have been with us for a while, we pay lodging. We also have a hospitality room for them with food and refreshments — all within a small budget. Post-event, our volunteer coordinator sends [each volunteer] a personal thank you, and the staff team sends personally written thank yous, not form letters.”