3 Ways to Lose Your Best Volunteers

You don't want to lose your volunteers.  Without them, the ministry will quickly crash.

We know all volunteers are not going to stick around and go the distance.  Life happens.  Some move away.  Some have major life changes.  Some get sick.  You can't control those factors.

But what you don't want to happen is for volunteers to leave because of poor leadership on your part. 

Let's talk about 3 big things that can cause you to lose even your best volunteers.

You can lose your volunteers if you're not CHALLENGING them.  We are all wired to grow and learn.  When volunteers are in a role that no longer challenges them to learn and grow, they can become bored.  And that boredom can cause them to start looking for somewhere else to serve.

If you want to keep volunteers, then you need to invest time in helping them grow. 

If you are not investing in volunteers, they will not be invested in the ministry.
Challenge them by...
  • giving them opportunities to step into roles with more responsibility as they grow
  • offering them feedback 
  • helping them identify and overcome their blind spots
  • providing them with a personal ministry growth plan
  • giving them books, articles, podcasts, etc. that will help them grow personally and in their role 
You can lose your volunteers if you are not CHERISHING them.   

The word cherish is a verb.  It happens through your actions and attitude toward your volunteers.

The word cherish means - to protect and care for.   When volunteers sense you don't have their best interests in mind, you will lose them.  And when they feel like you don't care about them, you will lose them.

Cherish your volunteers by...
  • protecting their time - don't ask them to stay over and serve extra services
  • caring for them when they have a need 
  • showing them you care more about them as a person than about what they do for the ministry
  • using the ministry to build volunteers rather than using volunteers to build the ministry
  • praying for them on a regular basis
The word cherish also means - to esteem, admire, dote on.  When volunteers don't feel valued, they begin to feel used and this can lead to losing them.

Cherish your volunteers by...
  • telling them you appreciate them
  • bragging on them in front of others
  • giving them a small gift
  • writing them a personal note of encouragement
  • treating them with honor and respect
You can lose our volunteers if you are not showing CONFIDENCE in their ability.  Volunteers who are not empowered and released to lead, will grow discouraged.  Volunteers who are micromanaged and not trusted with responsibility will check out.

If you want to keep volunteers, you must show you have confidence in them.

Show confidence in your volunteers by...
  • getting out of their way
  • giving them the big picture and allowing them to decide the path they want to take to get there
  • asking their opinion
  • handing off things to them
  • giving them room to make mistakes and helping them learn from it
Some of your volunteers may be on the verge of walking out the door and you don't even realize it.  Be committed to challenging them, cherishing them and showing confidence in them.  You don't have to lose your volunteers if you'll do these three things.  They want to go the distance with you...if you'll give them a valid reason to do so.

My book "The Formula for Building Volunteer Teams" is a must read if want volunteers to go the distance with you.  You can get it now in ebook or paperback at this link