How to Hold Volunteers Acountable

Can you hold volunteers accountable?  I mean...they are serving for free, right? 

The answer is yes.  God's work deserves our very best whether we are serving vocationally or volunteering.  Ephesians 6 says we are serving for the Lord. 

With that established, let's look at some practical ways to hold volunteers accountable.

Set clear expectations up front.  The first step is to make sure volunteers know what they are being asked to do.  Provide them with a clear job description that includes core values, time commitment, duties, responsibilities and other information they need to know.  This should be done before they start serving and is critical if you want accountability.  In this manual, you can get all our job descriptions and expectations for volunteer roles.

Make sure the volunteer has the ability to meet the expectations.  Another important part of accountability is placing volunteers in roles that are a fit for their gifts, talents and passion.  Help them find their fit by giving them a spiritual gifts test, personality test and meeting with them individually to talk about their interests.  It's a lot easier to hold someone accountable when they are in their sweet spot in ministry because they will be motivated and love what they do.

Make sure you are providing the resources and support the volunteer needs to meet the expectations.   
Have clear measurements.  Provide your volunteers with clear wins for their role.  These should be simple and easy to measure.  This will help them know what success looks like and help you measure how they are doing.

Provide feedback.  One of the most important aspects of accountability is feedback.  This will help them grow as leaders and followers of Christ.  In this article, I share tips on how to provide appropriate feedback. 

Provide next steps.  When you hold people accountable, always provide them with a next step.  Whether the next step is corrective, re-directive or rewarding, it should take them toward a goal.  In situations where the accountability pathway leads to the volunteer being asked to step down, then have a clear plan for this as well.  In this article, I share steps to take when a volunteer needs to step down.

Remember that accountability flows best from relationship.  When people know you care about them, it will open their heart to your accountability.
Volunteers should know it's not about what you want from them, but it's about what you want for them.
God has given you the privilege of helping people grow as disciples through serving in children's ministry.  Just as a sport's coach holds his team accountable so the players can achieve their dreams and win, God wants to use you as a spiritual coach to help volunteers accomplish the dreams He has placed in their heart.