Early in my ministry I reached a point where I was ready to give up. The ministry was growing, new kids were coming, and attendance was up week after week. What a horrible problem, right?
The problem was, as kids attendance increased, the number of volunteers quitting increased just as fast.
When you’re adding kids and losing leaders, you have a recipe for disaster. I realized that something needed to change. I was beginning to doubt my abilities, worse yet; I started to doubt my calling. Maybe I was not cut out for ministry.
My problem was, I was so focused on adding new volunteers that I didn’t give much thought to the ones who were already committed, already trained, already serving in the trenches.
I was missing what I know now is the most important piece to team building; volunteer appreciation.
Following are 7 tips for volunteer appreciation.
Honor your volunteers
- Make them feel special and thank them often for serving.
- Go out of your way to greet them, thank them every time they serve.
- Know about their lives and engage them about the things that matter to them.
- Speak highly of them to the leadership above you.
- Brag about them in front of their peers and family.
Invest in your team
- Look for ways to make their job easier.
- Look for opportunities to bless them personally.
- Call them on their birthday.
- Comment on their new hair-do.
- Spend time with them outside of church.
Catch them doing right and recognize them for it
- Write your volunteers hand written notes, let them know you are praying for them and you value their contribution. Check out the post, The Power of a handwritten note.
- Call and text your volunteers. Not to ask for something, just to say thank you.
- Honor your volunteers on social media.
- Recognize them publicly.
Always assume the best
- Defend your volunteers at all costs and have their back. If you hear someone complaining about something one of your volunteers did, rise to their defense. Create a culture of having your volunteers back.
Require them to take time off
- Create a culture that allows volunteers to take vacation and take time off.
- Make sure your volunteers attend church services.
Invest in their entire family.
- If they have kids make them feel special.
- If they are married, make sure their spouse knows how awesome they are.
Hold appreciation Events.
- Hold an annual volunteer banquet.
- Create events just for the sake of fun.
- Invite your volunteers to your home, out to dinner, or to coffee just to say thank you. No other agenda other than appreciation.
By creating a culture of appreciation, you will transform your entire ministry. Set a goal that your department is going to become known for how you appreciate volunteers. If you do, you will never have a shortage of leaders.
Question: What do you do to appreciate your volunteers? What would you add to this list?
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