How to Manage In-Person and Virtual Volunteers Post COVID-19

As COVID-19 regulations keep changing, let's consider how volunteers might continue to serve.
5 min read

It’s a new day. We’ve addressed it in our recent posts, and we all know and are living in it. Church is different, and it’s changing once again. We’ve gone from physical gatherings, to digital only, to a merging of the two.

Whenever or however you decide to meet in-person again, there are some logistics to think about with volunteers. You may find that you’ll have some who are not ready to meet in-person, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to help.

Whenever or however you decide to meet again, there are some logistics to think about with volunteers.

Here are some ideas for managing both in-person and virtual volunteers during this time—and some ideas for what their roles might look like.

One of the best things you can do is ensure that none of your volunteers feel guilt or pressure about serving during this time. Making sure they are comfortable is important.

Managing and Engaging

Still encouraging, engaging, and connecting with volunteers.

Female Neighbor Helping Senior Woman With Shopping
Image Credit: Daisy-Daisy/iStock/Getty Images Plus

It’s more important than ever that you’ve been connecting, engaging with, and encouraging your volunteers during this time—especially as we’ve not been meeting together for a few months.

Even if volunteers haven’t been able to serve during COVID-19, it’s important that they still feel connected to your ministry and your church’s mission.

This doesn’t have to become more work every week, because you can make touchpoints with volunteers as you would if things were still normal.

Remember, this doesn’t have to just come from you. You can have a team of people who are willing to help you out for the sole purpose of keeping up with one another!

Asking the Big Question

See who is willing to meet in-person. Find out who isn’t.

And you will have those who can’t or who aren’t comfortable just yet. And that’s okay. Let them know they are loved and remember that their ability to volunteer does not impact their value to the kingdom.

Create and keep a running list of who is willing to meet during this time, and who isn’t. Send a survey!

Why? Because that will be your starting place for finding out who your in-person vs. virtual staff of volunteers will be.

And some people may have the ability or desire to do both! But start with the list first, and then go from there. You’ll want to figure out what new roles you’ll need people to take part in, as ministry will look different than it did pre COVID-19.

Remember that someone’s ability to volunteer does not impact their value to the kingdom.

As part of this list, see who is comfortable with leading online or even leading socially distant touchpoints with families. These people might be willing to drop-off supplies at a family’s house—like for a fun scavenger hunt or Sunday school supplies!

Communicate, Then Communicate Again

Although ministry is different, our communication strategies should look very similar to what they did pre-stay-in-place.

Get your message across with smart technology
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  • Give them a call.
  • Send an encouraging text or email.
  • Set up a bi-weekly or even monthly Zoom to check in on them as a group.
  • Send them a card or small gift in the mail as appreciation. (Ideas for appreciating volunteers can be found here!)

As your church begins to look at re-entry, you’ll want to communicate the plans and ideas to your volunteers sooner than later. This will help you gauge their availability, willingness, thoughts, and more as you look to reopen.

It will also let you know what gaps you need to fill in the meantime, because it is likely your adult to child ratio will be changing with the new regulations for opening back up.

Communicate What to Expect and New Policies

As you look at reopening, you’ll need to cover basics around safety and policies for your ministry. You can find ideas for these by checking your current policies, as well as these resources from the CDC and White House.

  • Churchwide policies (how many people in a room, which people in a room, mask policy, etc.)
  • Wellness policies (when to stay home)
  • Appropriate physical contact
  • Children’s church, Sunday school, and nursery policies
  • Limiting volunteer rotation, having a back-up in case you get sick

There will be more! Make sure to communicate these policies and any changes to your volunteers before you reopen your church doors.

Reimagine your volunteer roles and make sure to communicate often.

Quick List of Additional Volunteer Jobs to Consider

Take a look at your church’s mission and reimagine what volunteer roles will look like as we move forward. Here is a quick list to get you started as you dream.

In-Person-at-Church Volunteers

  • Sanitation and cleaning
  • Hallway monitors and additional security
  • Additional in-room volunteers: managing doorways, bathroom, etc.
  • Check-in/out: managing stations, having a walk-flow, temperature checking (you’ll want to check with your legal sources on this one)
  • Someone to keep the roster and be contacted for notification purposes (in case someone gets sick, etc.)

In-Person-at-Home Volunteers

  • Dropping off supplies
  • Leaving encouragement on doorsteps
  • Small group leaders or facilitators for at-home

Virtual Volunteers

  • Touch base with families and children in your ministry
  • Lead virtual groups or classes
  • Helping run virtual services
  • Leading training classes
  • Creating online games and activities for engagement
  • Innovating behind-the-scenes
  • Praying for children, families, and other volunteers

As you reimagine your volunteer roles, make sure you communicate often. Remember that each volunteer is facing their own worries and battles during this time and their value is not based on a ‘yes’ to returning just yet.

Let’s encourage one another in this new season of the church and give grace to one another as we move forward!

Ministry volunteer cards montage

Volunteer Thank You Cards

Volunteers bring energy and heart to your ministry. They give of themselves freely and intentionally—so it’s important to say THANK YOU as often as you can. Download these 5 cards and give all the warm fuzzies away!
Free Cards
Ministry volunteer cards montage

Volunteer Thank You Cards

Volunteers bring energy and heart to your ministry. They give of themselves freely and intentionally—so it’s important to say THANK YOU as often as you can. Download these 5 cards and give all the warm fuzzies away!
Free Cards
Ministry volunteer cards montage

Volunteer Thank You Cards

Volunteers bring energy and heart to your ministry. They give of themselves freely and intentionally—so it’s important to say THANK YOU as often as you can. Download these 5 cards and give all the warm fuzzies away!
Free Cards
post article end mark
  Updated on May 22, 2020

About the Author

  • Your Ministry Spark Team is made of ministry volunteers, leaders, and experts who work with David C Cook. We’re passionate about helping others know, love, and follow Jesus. And, we have a big heart for those who serve the kingdom—that’s you. Together, we can do this!

© 2020 David C Cook. All rights reserved.
© 2019 David C Cook. All rights reserved.
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