Every salesman will tell you that getting turned down is a fact of life. It is the same with volunteer recruitment. However, you don’t have to give up immediately. Over the years, I have developed these responses to the most common volunteer objections.
1. My student doesn’t want me to be a regular volunteer.
Offer to move them into a “behind the scenes” support role. Always respect the student’s wishes, but see if you can clarify what those wishes prohibit and what they do not.
2. My student doesn’t want me to go on a trip with them.
When we need more volunteers and the only ones left are those who are wiling but their students are not, we offer a “release of parenting” contract. Basically, the parent signs a funny contract saying that they will be a volunteer, and not a parent that weekend. They will let the other volunteers deal with their kids if there are problems. You would be surprised how successful this funny contract is at breaking the volunteering ice between parent and student.
3. I’m too old.
Remind them that kids already live in too much of a teenage bubble. They need those who are older and wiser to help. Sometimes this is a way of saying that they are uncomfortable around teenagers. Try and clarify if that is the case, and use your judgement to discern whether or not they will be able to deal with seeing what your kids wear and hear what they say without losing it.
4. I don’t know the Bible/church/God well enough.
Let them know that they do not need to have all the answers. Students do well with seeing the reality of adults who are still growing. However, some people are actually too young spiritually, and are not ready to lead others until they grow up in the faith a bit more. If you or they feel this is the case, let them off the hook for the teaching role and help them find a support role that fits better.