Recruiting volunteers is difficult.
Encouraging volunteers in their work is even more challenging.
As a church leader, it’s easy to neglect volunteers and assume they’re okay with everything. Everyone smiles on Sunday, right?
If supporting volunteers is not a part of your routine, then you run the risk of losing volunteers. It happens all of the time. From struggles with their family, troubles on the job, or a loss of motivation, there are many reasons why volunteers lose heart and discontinue serving.
So, as you aim to increase the number of volunteers in your church, it’s important to plan on encouraging volunteers to continue in their work joyfully. To help you along the way, here are fives easy ways you can lose volunteers.
#1. Don’t clarify expectations
How long does someone need to volunteer in their position? Do they know what they need to do? What time does their shift start?
Not clarifying expectations and responsibilities is a great way to discourage volunteers. By creating clear boundaries, you can empower volunteers to wholeheartedly throw themselves into the work of the ministry, which leads us to the next point.
#2. Lack of training
Do your volunteers know how to do what you’re asking them to do?
A lack of competence will not only lead to mistakes, but a lack of training will also lead volunteers to experience significant amounts of stress with their work instead of the joy of serving.
Ask your volunteers if they have enough training to do the work they are doing. If not, see if you can provide training. Now, if the issue is not a matter of training, then help volunteers to find a role that best fits him or her.
#3. Lack of communication
Volunteers will have questions. Not because they’re volunteers, but because issues will come up that they are unaware of or do not know the answer to. So, if there’s a lack of communication with volunteers, in particular following up promptly, then your volunteers will quickly become discouraged due to the lack of support.
Make sure that volunteers know who to contact in case of emergencies or for regular questions and that you and your team are following up promptly.
#4. Don’t recognize their contribution
In general, it’s easy to become discouraged, and it’s human nature to desire some level of recognition. It’s essential to recognize volunteers for their work.
From saying thank you in the hallway, calling or emailing volunteers during the week, to mentioning someone from the pulpit, make sure that your church’s volunteers are recognized and appreciated for their work.
#5. Disconnect their work from Jesus’ mission
It’s easy for volunteers not to see how their work is contributing to the big picture. Depending on the size of your church, many moving parts go into fueling the work of the ministry.
On a regular basis, make sure that you are casting a vision for your church and that you are helping people to see how their work, giving, and participation in the work of the ministry is making a difference.
Have you experienced volunteer turnover? What led to their exodus?Share your experience in the comments below!