Helpful Tips for Working with Volunteers

Connecting with Volunteers

by Dave Brock/ September 27, 2016

Volunteers are people we cannot do without in life and ministry. They resource us in ways we cannot do ourselves. They provide a different perspective. They help further the ministry beyond our own sphere.

With more volunteers comes a need to connect efficiently with them. It doesn’t have to be much, but it has to be meaningful. Here are three ways I have found to be effective in connecting with volunteers:

1. Personalized Notes and Phone Calls

Sometimes the simplest of things can go a long way. Sending a note to a volunteer to thank them for serving or just being themselves can bring joy to any volunteer’s day, as well as showing them they are appreciated. When a volunteer feels appreciated, he/she is more likely to listen and connect at other times throughout the year. Take some time out of your week to write a volunteer or two a note or give them a call to let them know they are appreciated. If you can think of something they did recently that stood out to you, this is a great time to share an example of how great they are doing.

2. Short and More Frequent Team Connections

Part of being a volunteer on a team means that every now and then a meeting will come up. As leaders, we understand the value these meetings can bring. But if meetings tend to run long, a volunteer may find ways to avoid them. Instead of longer meetings that occur once a year, try having regular “Team Connections” for 15-20 minutes before or after church each season. I like to have snack foods and drinks available and share with them some updates to the ministry in the upcoming season.

During this time, I share incredible stories and things that have taken place in the past three months of ministry and how things would have been impossible without volunteers. It is important to note that these team connections need to be short and on time. If these connection times grow to be an hour long for four times a year, a volunteer may not always show up. However, when these meetings stay short, volunteers will learn that when you have a team connection, their time is respected and full of relevant information.

3. Regular Yet Effective Emails

Just like the Team Connections are a short connection time with important information shared, we should do the same with our email connections with volunteers. If our emails appear to be long and full of fluff, they may not be read. I know, I’ve done it before! These same principles can be applied to other communications as well.

These are just a few ways to be effective in connecting with my volunteers. As a leader striving to keep your ministry’s health in check, it is important to connect with your volunteers efficiently. Leave a comment below with some of your favorite ways to connect with your volunteers.