Keep volunteers engaged and invested in ministry to maximize impact.
You have various tasks and obligations as a ministry leader. One of them is leading a group of volunteers. After all, while you can do a lot of things on your own, you can’t conduct your ministry by yourself. You’ll need a group of volunteers to assist you in ministering to others so that you can reach as many people as possible for Christ. However, merely having a team isn’t enough to ensure success. You’ll need a completely invested and engaged team.
So, how do you keep a volunteer team engaged so that you can have maximum impact? Here are some ways we’ve seen churches do this well.
10 Tips for Keeping Your Volunteers Engaged
1. Appreciate Volunteers
When you appreciate your volunteer team, they know that you value them. There are different ways you can appreciate them. For example, you can do an Appreciation Meal together, thank-you bags full of treats, or gift cards to their favorite coffee place or restaurant. These are ways you can say that you value what they do.
2. Help Them Set Goals
When someone has a goal to achieve, it keeps them engaged and involved. They are striving to meet that goal or objective. Whether they accomplish that goal or not, they will be engaged and focused on it throughout the year. And, it provides you, as the main leader, a way to encourage them and keep them engaged throughout their season of serving.
3. Praise Volunteers
This is different from appreciation. When you appreciate them, you are thanking them. By praising them you are identifying something that they are good at and recognizing it in front of others. Praise them over email and highlight something great they have done. Also, praise them during a meeting and recognize something they’ve done that has really been above and beyond. When you praise them, others get inspired.
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4. Treat Them Well
This is more than just praising and appreciating them. This is how you talk to them and treat them. If you treat your volunteers well, they will be more invested in you as a leader and the mission. If you don’t, it increases the chances that they will get discouraged and stop serving. No one likes to be treated poorly, especially if they are serving as a volunteer.
5. Communicate With Your Volunteers
Communication is key to keeping the whole team on the same page. The more you communicate, the more everyone knows what’s going on. The less you communicate, the less engaged volunteers will be. Communicate via email, text and regular team meetings.
6. Cast Vision
Casting vision is so important in ministry. But this doesn’t just have to happen amongst staffers. Volunteers need to know where your ministry is going as well. When you are working together with your team, in order for everyone to be engaged you need to consistently cast vision to the team. Without knowing the vision the team will get lost and could tend to operate as individuals rather than a coercive team. Keep them engaged and focused by casting vision regularly.
7. Give Them Roles They’re Excited About
Volunteers desire to serve because they see a need and they have a passion to give to the specific ministry. However, nothing disengages someone more than serving in a role they are not passionate about. That is why it is important to find what role within the ministry that each volunteer is excited about. The more excited they get serving the more engaged they will be.
Pro Tip: Any volunteers experiencing service fatigue? Sometimes a NEW role is even better than a BREAK. This will keep valuable volunteers on the team, contributing where they are needed, but with a fresh new role.
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8. Empower Them
This is more than just giving them a role they are excited about. This is about giving them the freedom to make decisions and run with their role. This is you macro-managing them and giving them freedom in their position. Whether they thrive or fail, does not matter because they will feel empowered.
9. Honor Their Time
Time is valuable. Don’t make them come to a training or a meeting that isn’t relevant, that doesn’t start on time or end on time. Your volunteers have limited time with all they are juggling, so honor their time by making what they attend making what they attend relevant and prompt. Maybe even try some Zoom meetings instead of in-person gatherings so that you can help them save travel time.
10. Spend Time With Them
This is time outside of ministry time. Take them out to coffee or treat them to lunch. It could even be something fun like treating them to the driving range or going somewhere fun as a team like Top Golf.
This is you intentionally building a relationship with them that doesn’t involve what they can do for ministry. This is you getting to know them as people, outside of ministry.
Every ministry wants to have an impact. To have the most impact, you need a team of volunteers around you that are fully engaged. Not only do these tips help keep your team engaged, it will help create a great team environment. And, a fully engaged team will be more united and will work really hard to help share the love of Christ more effectively.