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Volunteers That Last

How to keep them motivated.

Romans 16; 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

It's tough to recruit good volunteers, but tougher to keep them. Here are some ways to keep them playing on your team for many seasons:

  1. Make sure everyone gets "paid." There will never be enough money to reimburse volunteers for their service, but each person who donates time or energy deserves to be "paid."

    For some, the only "salary" they need is the inner satisfaction of a job well done. The supportive leader will be careful to get out of their way and remove potential obstacles to the successful completion of tasks.

    Most people feel rewarded by public or private affirmation from leaders they respect. Handwritten notes of appreciation, personal compliments that identify specific actions, pictures of volunteers in action posted in a prominent place, gifts of gratitude-all serve as means of "paying" volunteers.
  2. Observe volunteers in action. The word evaluation may strike fear in the hearts of workers, salaried and volunteer alike. But supporting volunteers through observing their work means finding their strengths and offering to help build on them.

    After obtaining permission of the volunteer to visit his or her ministry, the pastor or leader might ask the worker what to focus on during their time together. A Sunday school teacher, for example, might request, "Tell me how well I use questions in the lesson."
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