Are you the leader of a volunteer team? Volunteers are a unique bunch.  It requires some skill to help keep them engaged, connected, and focused. Though there are a million different ways to organize your team, here are some practical steps to ensure your volunteer team keeps growing:

1.  Invite new people to get involved

Inviting new people to get involved is really one of the best ways to keep fresh ideas, momentum, and energy flowing in your volunteer teams.  Figure out ways to create entry points for new people to begin participating.  Have a clear, well-marked path of connection.

2. Say thank you

You can never say “thank you” too much.  Thank your volunteers in public, private, and in print.

3. Resource your volunteer team 

Provide your team with what is needed to get the job done.  Provide them with proper training and education.  Give them tools to help things improve.  Empower them with authority to make decisions and take ownership.

4. Be a scorekeeper 

Let volunteer team members know when they’ve done a good job.  Take note of times when they go beyond the call of duty.  Simple recognition can work wonders!  You want them to know that you know that their work has been noticed.

5. Invite key volunteers to become lead volunteers 

You can only manage so many people.  At a certain level, which is different for every leader, you will become ineffective and your volunteer teams will begin to wain.  Begin to develop lead volunteers who can take on some of the shepherding leadership.  Example:  Say your volunteer team was about 10 people, but recently grew to 30 people.  You now need two lead volunteers to manage 15 volunteers each while you focus on equipping, resourcing, and connecting with your two lead volunteers.

6. Have meals with volunteers 

There’s nothing like having lunch or a cup of coffee with your volunteers.  This can be done in small groups, one on one or in large group settings. Sharing a meal with your team allows you to visit, encourage, dream, talk about ideas, and live life together.

7. Celebrate everything you can 

What’s going well?  How far have you come?  What goals have you reached?  How effective has your work been?  Celebrate those milestones and celebrate big.  One of the key motivators for volunteers teams is success.  Keep it in front of them.

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  1. Thank you for this article. As one who works with volunteers, and although I already do one or two things on the list, I found it quite helpful. God bless you!

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