10 Ways to Lose Your Volunteers

Volunteers are incredibly important if you want to see your children's ministry thrive.

In fact, without volunteers there is no children's ministry. 

Leading volunteers effectively not only includes bringing them on the team, but keeping them on the team for the long haul.

Let me ask you a question.  How do you keep volunteers?  To find out the answers, you can look at what causes volunteers to leave.  

Let's look at 10 of the big reasons why we lose volunteers.

Don't thank them.  Did you know that 65% of volunteers say they rarely, if ever hear the words "thank you."  Determine that every single week you are going to look your volunteers in the eyes and say "thank you." 

You can also send them notes, cards and small gifts that say "thank you."

Expect them to serve 52 weeks a year.  Be intentional about giving your volunteers a weekend off now and then.  You might even give them the summer off and recruit sub teachers so your volunteers can have some time off.

Don't have proper ratios.  Having 30 preschoolers in a room with 2 volunteers is a recipe for disaster. At this point, the volunteers are just trying to make it out alive.  If this continues, they will burn out and quit.

Don't tell them what the wins are for the position.  Volunteers want to know they are making a difference.  Create 2-3 simple wins for each position.  Put it on the wall in the room and talk with them about it on a regular basis.

Don't communicate with volunteers during the week.  What happens during the week sets the weekend up for success.  

You can't keep your volunteers in the dark all week and then expect them to shine on Sunday.  Connect with them during the week via text messages, emails, website updates, phone calls, etc.

Don't keep your word.  Make a promise to a volunteer, but then don't write it down and forget to get it done.  Continued misses will cause volunteers to not trust you.  Your word must be your bond. 

Micro-manage them.  Get down in the weeds and tell them exactly what you want done.  Tell them how you want it done.  Then look over their shoulder and make sure they are doing it your way.  Don't give them any freedom to make decisions, no matter how small it may be.

Don't ask for their opinion.  Make your decisions alone.  Don't get input from them.  You always know what is best.

Ask them to stay over and serve an extra service.   They can skip worship and serve again for the next hour.  Don't worry about them burning out.

Get them serving in multiple roles.  Ask them to serve on Sunday and Wednesday and big events.  Turn them into a "super volunteer" with no worries of burning them out.

Do any of these seem familiar?  Do you resemble any of these?  Now's the time to make some changes as a leader and start shepherding the spiritual health of your volunteers. 

Remember this statement.

Instead of using people to build the ministry, use the ministry to build people.

It's a lot easier to build and maintain a volunteer team if you don't have people frequently leaving through the back door.  

Follow the points listed above and you will see your volunteers grow and thrive.