Volunteers aren’t motivated by money. They can’t be motivated by force. But, they can be motivated by the success they experience. So, one big goal for the leader is to help volunteers find success in what they are doing.
Of course, you can’t always guarantee success. And there are times when people actually learn more from failure than successes. But here are some ways to help maximize successes, build on them and naturally motivate volunteers through them.
Do less –How do you make each event or ministry a huge success? Don’t over extend. I think we would all agree that it’s better to do 3 things amazing well than 8 things sort of well. The impact is greater, the success is more noticeable and the results more definable.
One time events with lots of planning – If you have an idea for an event, just make the one shot thing great. Put in the time on planning, publicizing and inviting. I’ve seen too many organizations prematurely try to define a regular, monthly event such as “first Monday of every month” or whatever the case may be. Don’t plan for forever – just plan for this one event and make it great! If that works, then plan for another one. If you work it right, it will become a standard part of the calendar anyway. Also, keep inviting your volunteer event team to do the hard work of publicity and inviting. Sometimes, in planning an event, the team will lean toward making sure all the event details are together and forget to make sure people will attend!
Find the person before right person for the job – With a need and vision in place, one of the best ways to ensure success is to have the right volunteer leading the task. What task do you need? Clarify it. And begin searching for the person who would love to do what you need done.
Keep tabs on new volunteers as they begin serving in their role – Help newbies in the volunteer roles as they are beginning. Make sure they have what they need, know what needs to be accomplished and that they have access to asking you questions about the project.
Say thanks – Make sure you do this with notes, verbal thanks and small gifts from time to time.
Build on successes – Something great happen? Capitalize on it through email, newsletters, second hand compliments, and celebrations. Take the good news from the event and share with everyone quickly! Even an event or project that was not attended as well as someone might have liked, will still be a success because it was a starting point to something new! What is said after the fact will be foundational for how it goes over next time. Also, learn from what didn’t work – that’s a success too!
Never forget the main goal – The main goal for almost any volunteer organization has something to do with people. Never forget the main goal. At times, volunteers may mistakenly think their job is the paper or the organization, or the food, or the data entry or whatever. Always remind yourself and them of the overarching goal! Their job isn’t just data entry – it’s making sure we stay connected to all these people. Their job isn’t just organization, it’s helping to accomplish the goal of reaching people more effectively. Their job isn’t just taking care of food for the event, their job is helping to make sure that people are cared for, loved and experience hospitality as they participate. Always keep the big picture of your goal in mind.
Pray – Seek God’s guidance for your teams. Pray for your volunteers. Pray for successes with your volunteers team. Pray that they might have fun working on the projects, that they will connect with others, and that they will find fulfillment in what they are doing. Intercede on behalf of the volunteers!