Managing Church Volunteers – 4 Tips to Managing Volunteers

by Patricia

Good volunteer management is critical to the success of any church or ministry. Many churches don’t have the resources for paid staff so rely heavily on volunteer support.  Successful churches have systems and processes in place to oversee and manage volunteers to ensure a great worker experience as well as to ensure volunteer jobs are performed correctly.

A well-run volunteer program creates the infrastructure to support volunteer management and creates a process to facilitate volunteer oversight.

So what does it take to manage church volunteers?

1.  Communicate Clear Expectations

Good communication on the front-end can eliminate lots of unnecessary issues on the back-end. Communicating what to do can help volunteers be successful.  Volunteers who donate their time to a ministry should be provided with clear job expectations, a detailed volunteer job description and orientation to the organization.  For example, if a new volunteer is unfamiliar with the hierarchy of the ministry, they may not be able to answer questions while on duty.  All volunteers should understand how the church works so they are equipped to perform their job duties.

2. Provide Tools and Training to Perform Job Tasks

It is important to provide a positive experience for volunteers to ensure they enjoy their assigned job and are excited about helping.  Proper job training is critical to the process.  Volunteers need to understand exactly what it takes to perform their job and to have the necessary tools or equipment available for them.  For example, an usher who is assigned to distribute offering envelopes needs to know where to find them or it could potentially create a frustrating experience.   Part of any volunteer training should be understanding where needed supplies and equipment are located.

3. Recognize and Reward Good Performance

Just like employees, volunteers should be recognized and rewarded for good performance.  This can be something as simple as a handwritten thank you note to as complex as recognition at an annual volunteer banquet.  Regardless, taking the time to think about what volunteers contribute and recognizing them goes a long way in making them feel valued.

4.  Celebrate Successes

Very often a lot of work goes into church events and celebrating successes is essential.  I’ve seen churches spend months building campus Christmas displays and recognize the hours of labor that goes into that.  Taking some time after a major event and celebrating the successes reinforces the contributions volunteers make.

Most churches could not function without the countless hours of volunteer labor.  Taking the time to develop a strong volunteer program and managing volunteers effectively is critical to a great volunteer experience and facilitates the proper working of the body of Christ.  A responsibility that should not be taken lightly!

photo by: vastateparkstaff

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