Ever wonder why volunteers don’t seem to stick around? They may be feeling defeated and frustrated but not know what to do about it. Here are some ideas to help you identify, face and ultimately overcome these obstacles!
Obstacle 1: They don’t feel they are making a difference.
Volunteers need to feel they’re getting something in return for their work; and in most cases that reward is knowing they are making a difference. Marlene Wilson, author of Group’s Volunteer Leadership Series, agrees, “Sometimes we recruit people and we don’t give them anything really significant to do. So it’s a waste of their time. With dual-career marriages and single parenting, people want whatever time they give to make a difference.”
- Think of one way each of your volunteers contributes to your ministry area. Now, find a way to communicate that to each person.
Obstacle 2: They don’t feel they have ownership of their position.
Job descriptions and clearly communicated expectations will help your volunteers feel more confident. They also want to have input into their areas of ministry.
- Create an environment that welcomes and invites ideas and feedback from your team. Then take those ideas seriously.
Obstacle 3: They don’t receive adequate feedback.
Volunteers want to know they make a difference. They want to know how the program is better or different because of their volunteering. Volunteers appreciate receiving constructive (and actionable) feedback as well as sincere appreciation.
- Take your team members out to coffee and ask them two questions: How do you think your involvement in our ministry is going? and What can I do to better support you? Use this time to let your volunteers know how they are doing and how pleased they decided to serve on your team!