OC12: How to Create A Strong Volunteer Culture

PRECONFERENCE SESSION 1 with Kendra Flemming.  Notes may not be complete sentences, coherent, or anything else, but they’re my notes from the session.

When the church is run by individuals of all kinds of different levels and layers, led by pastoral staff, the church becomes what it’s supposed to be.

CHURCH SHOULD BE RUN BY VOLUNTEERS
When their hands are deep into what’s being done, the ownership grows.
Most important job?  Gain influence with the leaders on your team.  As you build that team, you gain influence, you invest, they’re going to take what you’ve given them and they’re going to replicate it.
Want to build a strong volunteer culture?  I’m going to find, recruit, pour into, love on, and invest in people.

CREATE AN ORGANIZATION THAT IS FUELED BY VOLUNTEERS

    • We must be reliant on volunteers.
    • not “Yea, I need about 4 or 5 volunteers” but “Everything stops until we get them.”
    • URGENCY.
    • When your mindset changes that they are the fuel, every conversation you have, every vision casting chance, every relationship changes in your mind, because our calling stops unless we enlist the help of other people
    1. COMMUNICATE A COMMITMENT TO LEAD THROUGH VOLUNTEERS AT EVERY LEVEL.
      • We think “if a staffer is in the room, they have to be the leader.”  Stop that.
      • they get to call shots, they get to problem solve.  They can ask questions, but they own it.
    2. ENLIST VOLUNTEERS IN A SHARED PURPOSE.
      • You won’t call anyone to the purpose of changing diapers.
      • When you call everyone to the purpose of leading kids/adults/students whoever to a relationship with Christ, people sign up for that.
      • Decide your purpose.
      • Your job?  Leading children in a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
      • Every aspect is important
      • Nobody signs up for being left in the toddler room on a busy sunday with no helper and the sermon goes long
    3. VIEW VOLUNTEERS AS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT RESOURCE
      • it’s not your communicators, musicians, staff, technicians, anything.  It’s them.
      • without them, you would be in big trouble
    4. CREATE A BUDGET AND SCHEDULE THAT REFLECTS A SIGNIFICANT COMMITMENT TO VOLUNTEERS
      • Put your money where your mouth is
      • your personal schedule should reflect time spent with volunteers.
      • Are you spending time on the phone, slowing down, grabbing meals?
      • Ministry jobs are BUSY.  You have to be aware of the need and adjust accordingly
      • Norht Point
        • once a year, get away on a retreat and go to a camp or a house
        • a significant part of that is to plan for the next year on how to appreciate and develop volunteers.   unique ways to recruit, train, pour into volunteers.
        • when budget time comes, they sit the plan on the table and say “How do we make this happen?”
        • if there’s not intentionality behind it, it’s not going to happen.

CREATE A CULTURE THAT ATTRACTS AND KEEPS VOLUNTEERS

    • you want it to be a place people want to serve
    • one thing to look for in hiring staff, when it’s someone with significant role(s) over volunteers, look for someone with personal charisma.  Those kind of people help attract volunteers.  People want to serve with people they like to be around.
    1. LEADERS ATTRACT LEADERS, SO FIND THE VERY BEST LEADERS YOU CAN
      • if a leader in your life asked you to do something, wouldn’t you want to do it?
      • Be bold.  Go hunt.  Go ask.
      • Leaders like to serve where really great leaders are.
      • Find people that are organized to lead leaders.
      • Your volunteers have a limited amount of time, and they want to use it for something great.
      • you may have a hole that needs a leader, and you may have to fill that for a season.  Keep looking until you find a great leader
      • If you have great leaders, you don’t have to hold their hand, and they don’t like it when you try.
    2. CREATE EASY ENTRY POINTS FOR VOLUNTEERS
      • not all volunteers are ready to run the show.
      • greeting, etc.
      • Some people are intimidated, would they be good with students, would it work with my family, etc.
      • EVEN when recruiting on a large scale, if you don’t need a lot of greeters (for example), open that role anyway to recruit people.
      • Eventually, if they’re a fit, they’ll grow in it, and you can recruit within the ranks as other holes open up
    3. COMMUNICATE CLEAR EXPECTATIONS
      • Be able to cast vision for a position in a short, clear description.  You’re recruiting good leaders, and good leaders want to know exactly the expectations.
    4. TRUST YOUR VOLUNTEERS WITH SOMETHING IMPORTANT
      • If you’re a really great leader, you have a limited amount of time.
      • great leaders want to do something they think is important.
      • on sunday morning, your leaders should know without a doubt if something goes wrong, they solve the problem.
      • Leaders should know they are the big, important piece.
      • Sometimes, something won’t be perfect.  Surprise.  It’s okay.  It’s part of building up your leaders.
      • If it doesn’t feel significant, they’ll drop
      • “If you’re afraid to go out of town because the ministry might explode, you’re not leading well.”

CREATE AN EXPERIENCE FOR YOUR VOLUNTEERS

    • what is their experience like when they come and serve?
    • Do they get a great t-shirt?  Donuts? What’s their “perks”?
    • Do you have special meetings or pow wows?  Do you give them special gifts?
    • Put some thought into what that looks like in your world.
    • You want their time to be an experience
    1. ASK THESE QUESTIONS…
      1. WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BE PREPARED FOR THIS JOB?
        • Sometimes you give a job description, and say go! They’ll freak out if you don’t give them the nuances of the role.
        • Think through scenarios and decide what they really need to know.
      2. WHAT TOOLS DO YOU NEED?
        • Do they need clip boards?  Better microphones? markers? Resources?
      3. WHAT WOULD MAKE THEIR JOB EASIER?
        • What prep can you and some volunteers do to prepare to make serving easier for leaders.
        • You want to enable your leaders/volunteers to focus on relationships, not finding popsicle sticks.
      4. WHAT OBSTACLES CAN YOU REMOVE?
        • how often do you survey your volunteers to ask what you can change?  Or what you can do to make their job easier?
        • If you don’t ask, you won’t know.  Often, it’s obstacles that are SO easy to change.
      5. WHAT WOULD MAKE IT MORE FUN?
        • people like to have fun.
        • What makes their experience something enjoyable?
    2. BUILD STRONG RELATIONSHIPS
      • “I don’t know if i can be a good small group leader because i don’t know the bible very well myself”
        • I can see how that’d be difficult, but i’m going to put you with *so and so*, and that’s how you’ll best learn.  If you don’t know something, find some time to teach it.
        • Volunteering will grow your faith.
      • People stay and serve year after year because they love who they serve with.
    3. SAY THANK YOU OFTEN!
      • every time you see a volunteer?  “I love everything you’re doing!”
      • find a million different ways to say thank you.
      • Brainstorm 30 things you can do for free to say thank you.
      • Always be thinking “What’s my plan to say thank you?”
    4. CELEBRATE TOGETHER
      • Something good happen? make videos, send them out in an email, post in a blog, tell everyone in one on one conversations.
      • “This isn’t abou the or so and so, this is about something we’re all doing.”

WHEN YOU HAVE A STRONG VOLUNTEER CULTURE, YOUR CURRENT VOLUNTEERS WILL BECOME YOUR GREATEST RECRUITERS.  THEY WILL KNOW WHY THEY ARE SERVING.  THEY WILL FEEL VALUED AND HAVE FUN.  AND THEY WILL KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF WHAT THEY’RE DOING.

 

AUSTIN’S ACTION POINT: I need to be more intentional about finding ways to empower the volunteers they have, so they’ll help recruit the volunteers I don’t have.

4 Comments

    • It was a great session.  A lot of stuff I already knew, not a lot of "WOW THAT'S GOING TO CHANGE MY LIFE FOREVER" but a whole lot of good truth, and a lot of putting together thoughts that i hadn't connected before.  It was encouraging though, to hear about thank yous.  I try and write 4-6 a week, but at times I just thought I was weird.
    • It was a great session.  A lot of stuff I already knew, not a lot of "WOW THAT'S GOING TO CHANGE MY LIFE FOREVER" but a whole lot of good truth, and a lot of putting together thoughts that i hadn't connected before.  It was encouraging though, to hear about thank yous.  I try and write 4-6 a week, but at times I just thought I was weird.

Leave a Reply

Shop By Category