How to get off to a great start with volunteers in the new year
Tuesday, January 08, 2019
There’s something about the start of a new year that invites us to refresh areas of our lives. That could mean initiating a new Bible reading plan, launching a healthier lifestyle, or other improved habits.
If you have a role in coordinating and leading volunteers, here are a few habits you can cultivate to help your team become healthier and add to its ranks.
Tip No. 1: Express gratitude
You probably had a busy Christmas season with volunteers helping make it all happen. Take a few moments this week to send thank you notes to those who helped out over the holidays.
When you meet with volunteer teams before Sunday services next weekend, let them know how much you appreciated them showing up to serve at Christmas.
Share any testimonies or reports you have about Christmas services (the number of people who came, the number of salvations, etc.). Those stories help them realize they had an impact on individual lives by serving.
Tip No. 2: Ask for feedback
One disadvantage to being a leader is that you aren’t usually on the front lines seeing what’s going on each service. You may not realize that the children’s check-in computers ran really slow last week or that the parking team needs new umbrellas.
Talk with your volunteer leaders and ask for their input. Consider sending out a link to an online survey so volunteers can quickly provide anonymous feedback. Once you receive their input, implement any improvements possible and give volunteers credit for helping you fix those issues.
Tip No. 3: Invest in volunteer leaders
As your volunteer team grows, you should have an individual or a couple who leads volunteers for each service. Invest in these leaders by getting to know them, asking for their input, encouraging them, and helping them grow as followers of Christ and as leaders.
Host a volunteer leader lunch after Sunday services periodically to talk with these leaders, meet their families, and to encourage them. Share what’s coming up at the church and how they can support those efforts, give them advanced notice of any significant changes for them or the volunteers they lead, and ask for input.
Tip No. 4: Delegate more
When you’ve built a team and put your heart into a volunteer program, it’s hard to let go of certain tasks. However, you’ll stunt your ability to grow as a leader and will hold your team back if you’re unwilling to delegate.
As an example, let’s say you’re going to delegate leading a volunteer training session. Here are a few simple steps to ensure success:
- Document the process and your expectations.
- Show the person you’re delegating to how to perform the task. In this case, have him assist you in leading a training session.
- Switch roles with you as the assistant and your volunteer leader as the trainer.
- Provide feedback and continue supporting until you and your volunteer leader are confident he’s ready to go solo.
- Let go (don’t attend the next session) but follow up with your volunteer to ask how it went.
Leading volunteers can be a fun and rewarding experience. Use the fresh start of a new year to implement these tips and watch how these practices strengthen your volunteer team.
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