I was hoping to get a little more feedback from my previous post about how you fill the gaps. If you didn’t read it or didn’t have a chance to post, I’d still like to hear some more ideas. You can post your comments with this post or the original one.

So, if you’re recruiting or you need to recruit to fill some holes, what do you do in the mean time?

Last year at the Orange Conference I heard Craig Jutila talk about this. He said, whatever you do, don’t fill the spot yourself. You’ll get stuck and if you’re the leader, how can you lead when you’re stuck in a spot that should be filled by someone you’re leading. It’s a very good point and I do the very best I can to plan for that. I’ve found that in the few times that’ I’ve gotten sucked into a spot, it was because of a no show or unexpected emergency. Otherwise, I try to follow this advise fully.

I combine if necessary. I launched small groups on Sunday mornings in elementary in September. I started with a few open spots that need to be filled. I have two groups that I had to combine. 4th and 5th grade girls during one service and 4th and 5th grade boys at the other.  They were combined for about 7 weeks. Another group I utilized one volunteer who could only serve every other week. He’s leading on his schedule and I have another leader who is pulling a double shift and serving on the weeks the other leader can’t be there. Not ideal, but it’s holding those spots until I find the right person.

Utilizing subs. If found that subs are better than once a month workers. Once a month workers seem to never remember when they are supposed to work. So, when I’m calling and recruiting and someone says no, they can’t do the job, I ask them if they’d at least be willing to serve. In mos cases, they say yes. I assure them that they won’t be called to work more than once a month. Then, when I have my subs, I call them when I know I’ll be short and they jump right in. I also have a few spots that I’ve used subs to fill. Unfortunately, when I use my subs to fill an empty spot, I don’t have my sub when a volunteer calls in sick the morning of. Then I have to combine or something. Not ideal, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Work the phones and emails. I always take care of my open spots before Sunday. I’ve had staff who would pull people on Sunday. I told them to stop it. Why? It was usually the same people every week. If we have a healthy sub list then I can work that list and get my people in place before Sunday. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t know that I could sleep if I didn’t have all the spots filled before I went to bed on Saturday night.

Trained monkeys. Always my last resort, but I haven’t had to use them yet!