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7 Ways to Appreciate Volunteers

Leadership / Volunteers //

Volunteers are the most important part of your ministry. You are only capable of ministering to so many kids. The larger your volunteer base, the farther your ministry can reach.

I believe the best thing you can do for your team is appreciate the volunteers you already have. You have taken the time to identify, train and release an existing volunteer into ministry. You have invested countless hours instilling your heart into them, why not take the necessary steps to appreciate and retain your volunteers?

It’s easier to appreciate and retain an existing volunteer than it is to recruit, place, and train a new one. Here are some suggestions on how to appreciate volunteers.

  1. Honor your volunteers.
    • Make them feel special and thank them often for serving.
    • Learn their name.
    • Greet them every time you see them.
    • Remember what’s happening in their life and ask about it.
    • Speak highly of them to the leadership above you.
    • Brag about them in front of their peers and family.
  2. Invest in them.
    • Look for ways to make their job easier.
    • Look for opportunities to bless them personally.
      • If one of your leaders is going in for surgery, schedule meals for their family.
      • Call them on their birthday.
      • Comment on their new hair do.
    • Spend time with them.
  3. Catch them doing right and recognize them for it.
    • Every week I mail out several hand written notes with a $5 coffee card.
    • I call and text several more volunteers just to say thank you and to ask how the weekend went.
    • Periodically, I choose a couple or a key volunteer and I bless them with a date night for them and their spouse.
    • I honor them on social media.
    • I recognize them publicly. (In training meetings, in front of my pastor and senior leadership, in the main service, in front of their family.)
  4. Assume the best.
    • If someone is late, assume they have a good reason.
    • Defend them 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.
  5. Require them to take time off and to go to church.
    • Create a culture that allows volunteers to take vacation and take time off.
    • Make sure your volunteers attend church services.  They can only minister out of the overflow of spiritial growth. If they are not growing they have nothing to sow into the kids.
  6. Invest in their entire family.
    • If they have kids make the kids feel special.
    • If they are married, make sure their spouse knows how great they are doing.
  7. Hold appreciation events.
    • An annual volunteer banquet.
    • Events just for the sake of fun.
    • Invite your volunteers to your home, out to dinner, or to coffee just to say thank you.

If you create a culture of appreciation, you will never have a shortage of volunteers.

My favorite appreciation event followed a week long kid’s crusade. My leaders worked every night of the week in addition to their day jobs. I called the local steak house and negotiated a special menu for my group. I was able to take nearly 50 volunteers to a steak dinner for just over $500. It was the most fun our team ever had together. We laughed, we reminisced, we just flat out had fun.

Set a goal to be the department in your church that sets the standard for appreciating volunteers. Make your level of appreciation something that people in your church talk about. If you do this you will never have a shortage of volunteers.

What do you do to appreciate your volunteers? Join the discussion by leaving a comment or go over to https://www.facebook.com/organizedkidmin.

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About the Author

Andrew is the Family Life Pastor at Community Church in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania. He has served in children’s and family ministry since 2002. His passion is team building, organization and productivity. Visit Andrews Blog at www.organizedkidmin.com and follow him on Facebook: facebook.com/organizedkidmin, and on Twitter: @vandylinden.