Sep 4, 2019

Why Volunteers Stay on a Team


If you're going to build a solid volunteer team, then you've got to have volunteers that stay with you for years.  You can't have constant turnover and expect to build a thriving team.

So let's talk about why volunteers stay on a team for the long haul.

They like the person they report to.  You've heard it said, that people don't leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses.

The same can be said in children's ministry teams.  Volunteers leave because of a bad supervisor.  And people stay because of a good supervisor.

Volunteers stay because their supervisor remembers their birthday and other personal milestones.

Volunteers stay because their supervisor invests in them.

Volunteers stay because their supervisor walks with them through pain and heartbreak.

Volunteers stay because their supervisor knows the names of their children.

Volunteers stay because their supervisor cares more about them as a person than about what they can get out of them.

Volunteers stay because they are connected to other volunteers.  Relationships is the super glue that keeps volunteers involved.  Work hard to create a "we are family" culture.  The more connected your team is, the longer they will stick around.

Volunteers stay because they believe in the mission of the ministry.  There is a propelling, passionate mission that they are connected to.  Something that is bigger than themselves.  Something that is so important that it's worth giving their time, talent and treasure to. 

They are in their sweet spot.  You place them in a role based not on where you need them, but rather on where they need to be.  When a volunteer is in his/her sweet spot, they will thrive.  They will enjoy serving.  They will stay.

But when they are not placed in their sweet spot, they will quit or stick it out because of their character - but they won't enjoy serving.  It will become drudgery instead of delight.

They are inspired.  Vision leaks.  And when vision leaks, inspiration to serve starts leaking as well.  That's why you must continually connect them to the why of their serving.

Focus on doing these things and you will see a better retention rate among your volunteers.

Here's some questions to work through that will help you.

1. What can you do for your volunteers that will cause them to like you more?

2. Do you have any blind spots that can be a turn off for volunteers?  Ask someone close to you and find out what your blind spots are so you can fix them.

3. What are some ways you can become more personally involved in the lives of your volunteers?

4. Is there community among your volunteers?  What are some steps you can take to better set them up for building relationships.

5. Do you have a clear, easy-to-remember mission statement?  How can you help volunteers become owners of that mission?

6. Are my volunteers in their sweet spot?  Am I placing them where I need them instead of where they need to be?  What steps can I take to make sure people are being placed in their sweet spot?

7. How can I keep my volunteers inspired?  What can I do to raise the passion level in the ministry?

p.s. You can get lots of more great ideas for leading a volunteer team in my book - The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams.  Check it out at this link.
Your turn.  What are some other tips for keeping volunteers?  Share your thoughts and insight in the comment section below.

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