volunteer appreciation

Viral Volunteerism Part 4

Unknown-1Viral Volunteerism Part 4 – Timing is Everything 

It’s been said that, “Timing is everything.” While it may not be everything, it does play a valuable role in gathering and keeping great volunteers in your ministry or organization.

Answer the following questions from the perspective of those you seek to engage as volunteers..,

When is the training? How long will it take? When training is involved, be clear about the investment of time this will take in addition to the actual event.

What is the prep or setup time? Cleanup/tear down? Follow-up? It’s easy to overlook these practical parts of the equation as “givens.” However, factor this in so that people have a realistic view of what they are committing to and how much time it will take.

When does it start? Your event or initiative isn’t likely the only thing people have going. Are other things in your ministry starting at the same time? Be clear about when their commitment begins so they can plan effectively.

When does it end? Remember, people have other places to go and things to do. This one is BIG!!! Create a culture where things “running late” are the rare exceptions.

When people know you value them and their investment, they are far more likely to partner with you. Few things say this like valuing people’s time. Create a culture where people can “set their watch” by the way you communicate and stick to the timing you have asked your volunteers to give.

Need some help taking your volunteers and teams to the next level? Let us know the best way to contact you in the thread below. Let’s partner together to take you volunteerism viral in the coming year!


Viral Volunteerism Part 3

Unknown-1Viral Volunteerism Part 3 – “Why should I?”

Who wouldn’t love to partner with more great volunteers? Getting and keeping them doesn’t just happen. You have to give great people a great reason to partner with you. Let’s get more specific about this by answering a simple question from the perspective of the volunteer… “Why should I?”

1) Answer the “why?” first. Don’t just show them the need, give them the reason. Paint the picture for them of what their effort means to the the need at hand and, more importantly, the people involved. Show and tell people how their involvement will make a real difference.

2) Crunch the numbers of the need. The more specific, the better. How many people are being affected? How long has the need existed? Where is “ground central?” What will the stats be in 3 or 5 years if nothing is done about it?

3) Set a clear goal. You may not be able to meet all of the need. However, what is your part as a church or organization? Again, be specific with your goal. How much money do you hope to raise? How many homeless care packets do you hope to make?

4) They need to “see it!” in person or at least video (or both). This is all about painting the picture of the “Why?” for those you hope to engage in the effort. Find those gifted at this and enlist their services from your hard-copy literature to your on-line presence, be sure to promote with honesty (don’t oversell it… people will see through this!), excellence and consistency.

 5) Finally, remember that information is inspiration! Consider using some type of graphic that tracks the giving or effort toward the goal and keep it updated. Don’t wait until the end to thank people for their investment of time, resources or money. Thank them for every step achieved towards the clear goal and then… celebrate the win!

Great volunteers will more often respond to a clear call for a worthy cause. Your job as a leader is to give them the reason why they should!

Need help discovering the “Why?” of your next effort or for your overall ministry or organization? Respond below with your contact information and let’s talk about how we can partner to take your volunteerism viral!

Viral Volunteerism Part 2

Unknown-1Viral Volunteerism Part 2 – A Worthy Cause

Non-profit organizations, churches and para-church ministries all require one thing to succeed… great volunteers! One of the common questions I hear in conversations with other leaders across the country is, “Why can’t we get more volunteers?”

Let’s talk about some practical answers to this pressing question…

Ask yourself as a lead team, “Is it a worthy cause?” And, before you insist, “Of course it is!” Think about it from several different angles (besides your own)…

Don’t assume your cause is THE cause. Could the group of volunteers you are trying to engage be otherwise invested in another or even several other causes outside of your ministry at the moment? Have you asked? Would the timing be better when other initiatives have run their course?

How many other causes are being championed within your own organization? In other words, could there be a conflict of causes? Maybe it’s time to apply the “less is more” principle? What would it look like if, instead of doing a little for a whole lot, you did a lot for fewer? I would suggest that making a greater impact less often for fewer is more impactful in the long run!

Does your cause meet a need not already being met? Let’s face it, charity has become big business. Is the organization or need you are seeking to support already well funded? Are there others in your area (another church or organization) already effectively addressing the need?

Who told you it was a worthy cause to begin with? Just because its a worthy cause and making headlines in one part of the country (or world) doesn’t mean it will rally support in your unique area or culture. Are their causes that may hit closer to home for those you hope to partner with?

If you are trying to sell an unfamiliar cause to your volunteer base, you better do your homework… we’ll talk more about what this means in an upcoming post.

There are many worthy causes. Make sure it is a cause worthy for all of the right reasons.

Need some help engaging your volunteer base? Let us help you. Reply below with your best contact information for a free coaching call! Let’s explore how a coaching partnership might help you create a Viral Volunteer culture in your ministry or organization!

Viral Volunteerism Part 1

Unknown-1Viral Volunteerism Part 1 – Clarity of Vision

“How do I get more volunteers?” I hear this question from leaders across the country. Why? Because of what I have never heard from anyone, anywhere… “We have too many volunteers!”

So, how do you get (and keep) more volunteers? Let’s explore this together over the next few posts… It all starts with leadership.

Let’s be more specific. By leadership we mean CLEAR leadership. Why? Because, the leadership must have clarity in several essential areas for people to develop the trust necessary to follow. Here are a few of those vital areas…

Clear Vision. Do people have a clear sense of where all of this is going? Are the leadership teams united in the pursuit of a shared vision for the church or organization? Has this been clearly communicated to those being asked to get on board? If not, get this done! People are slow to get on board a train with an uncertain destination.

Clear Goal. This is different than the overall vision of the organization. This one is specific to the initiative or event you are asking people to volunteer for. To get people to not only volunteer but to be excited about it, you have to clarify the win.

In other words, what does success look like if all goes even better than expected? The more specific you can be, the better. For example – Our goal is to pack 450 homeless care packets and deliver them to the shelter by 1pm.

Clear Information. This one is simple, but essential. Do people know what they are getting themselves into? Have you taken the time to let people know the who, what, when, where and how of what you are asking? We will cover this more specifically in an upcoming post, especially as it concerns the #1 factor in people’s willingness to volunteer.

Again, people will be slow to sign-up and show up if they aren’t sure what they are signing up for.

Clear leadership is central to creating a culture of Viral Volunteerism where the people have a high level of trust in a team that has done their homework!

Need some help gaining organizational clarity? Reply below and let’s get started with a free coaching call!

5 Things Healthy Churches DON’T Do

imgres-7What are some of the intangibles that distinguish healthy churches and organizations from unhealthy? Often, they are the things unseen, unsaid and undone that make all the difference.

Here are 5 Things Healthy Churches DON’T Do…

No.1 –  (No drumroll, please.) Healthy churches don’t do drama. How do you define drama? Keep reading.

No.2 – Healthy churches don’t do “needy.” Needy people need attention and recognition. When they don’t get it, they make messes or create relational conflict until people are forced to give them the attention they crave. Their feelings are easily hurt and people know they have to “walk on eggshells” around them. The problem with needy is that it is very attractive to needy. When this is tolerated and “drama queens (and kings)” are given their petty thrones, you quickly create an environment that is altogether unattractive to mature, unselfish, get-it-done people. The church stays inward-focussed, stuck and ineffective.

Healthy leaders create environments where the “atta’ boy!” we all need just comes with the territory. Opportunities are created to train, resource and especially to honor staff and volunteers (“volunteer of the week/month, etc; annual appreciation dinner, etc).

A good slogan to adopt and mantra to repeat is this… “We do needs, we don’t do needy.” 

No.3 – Healthy churches don’t do complaints. Not that people won’t complain. However, when the right climate has been created, complainers quickly sense that their whining has fallen on deaf ears. Complainers simply stick out like the sore thumbs that they are.

Constructive outlets are created for genuine issues to be addressed. For example, a place for suggestions on Guest Welcome Cards, a tab on the website and/or an email address to encourage, ask questions, and/or express concerns with the lead team, elders, etc.

No.4 – Healthy churches don’t do gossip. It’s been said that, “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” Ask yourself and your lead team, your small group or Sunday School leaders… “What do you talk about when there’s nothing to talk about?”

Then there’s this… gossip also happens to be sin. Mature followers of Jesus simply don’t go there. And, no, it isn’t okay when framed in the form of a “prayer request” or followed by the disclaimer, “Bless their hearts.” It’s just ugly, despicable, sin. It’s listed throughout Scripture right along with murder, perversion and other wicked acts and attitudes we wouldn’t think of being associated with as good God-fearing people.

When any leader hears gossip rear it’s ugly head, it gets chopped off with a firm “rebuke.” It sounds like, “Listen, they aren’t here. This isn’t our business. This conversation is over.”  Purpose environments of encouragement, genuine prayer and concern for others.

No.5 – Healthy churches don’t do selfish. One way this is expressed in unhealthy churches is through territorialism. Sure, there are specific spaces and environments created, outfitted and resourced for targetted groups. However, when there are little skirmishes over tools, toys and equipment, this is a tell-tale sign of spiritual and organization immaturity.

Again, the gift of administration can be applied and things such as sign-in/out sheets are created and long-range planning is employed to make many of the “emergencies” (i.e. a lack of planning) a thing of the past. Stuff is shared and cared for with excellence in order to help others succeed in playing their part in the greater vision.

What unhealthy intangibles have you identified and dealt with on your way to creating healthy churches and organizations? Share your thoughts below in the Reply section…