5 Pitfalls of Volunteer Appreciation – Does it Matter?
Finding volunteers is tough. Keeping them is even more difficult. Our busy staffs are so consumed with weekend preparations that we often fail to show appreciation to our volunteers – the ones who really empower our ministries.
When we take the time to say “Thank you” it goes a long way – but there are other ways to show appreciation to our faithful crew. Showing gratitude expresses value to a person.
Notice the definition of appreciation. To show appreciation means you have a full understanding of a situation. When you engage volunteers make their experience amazing and help them to feel informed – in fact, trust this group with information before you share with the congregation as a whole. This, along with our other suggestions, can be a recipe of success in our churches.
1. We Fail When We Fail to Plan
When volunteers give their time only to find supplies weren’t ready, details weren’t thought through, and important information has fallen through the cracks, it communicates that they aren’t valuable. When details are prepped and everything is ready it communicates that what they are doing is important and their volunteerism matters.
2. We Fail When We Don’t Value Their Time
People hate meetings. When we ask volunteers to come out to an event, show up to a meeting, or volunteer,, we must make sure it is worth their time. A good rule of thumb is if it can be communicated in an email then don’t meet about it. When people do show up, start on time, end on time, and make sure the content is worth showing up for. People will feel appreciated when you show them you respect their time.
3. We Fail When We Don’t Notice They’re Missing
Every person matters. When a volunteer doesn’t show up and no one communicates with them it creates a perception that they are just a cog in the machine – a piece, like countless others that’s easily replaced. When someone is gone let them know you miss them – NOT THAT YOU MISS THE FACT THAT THEY DIDN’T VOLUNTEER!
It is difficult to track Sunday attendance but tracking volunteering attendance is much more attainable. Find out who missed and let them know. Each volunteer area should have a point person that helps keep track of who missed. Show them that you care about their well being by letting them know they matter and are missed.
4. We Fail When We Don’t Equip
Have you ever showed up for something and not felt prepared? It’s enough to make me not want to go back. On the other hand when someone has helped me prep for an event, it makes me feel valued. Throwing someone in a volunteer position without training screams, “We don’t truly value you!” Our volunteers cannot succeed if we don’t equip them to be successful.
5. We Fail to Offer Opportunities of Advancement
When we fail to notice high-capacity volunteers, we’ll eventually lose them. High capacity volunteers need challenges. They need to feel they are valued. You show value when you recognize someone’s God given potential and give them some increased responsibility.
This week let’s spend time thanking our volunteers, but let’s take it one step further. Let’s show them we appreciate them by valuing their volunteer experience.