It might be helpful to think of every request you make of a volunteer as withdrawing money from the bank. If all you ever do is withdraw, withdraw, withdraw, the account will become, all too quickly, overdrawn.
How do you prevent your account from being overdrawn? You have to be sure to make deposits! And the deposits have to be greater than the withdrawals.
How do you make deposits in the volunteer bank?
- Call them to ask if there’s anything you can be praying for.
- Invite them out for coffee or lunch just to check in on them and see how life’s treating them.
- Pass along a resource you know they would benefit from. If in converation you learn their marriage is going through a rough patch, you could purpose a book aimed at strenghtening one’s marriage. If you learn their finances are out of whack, you could buy them something by Joe Sangle or Dave Ramsey. Even if they aren’t going through any specific problem, if you’ve read a book (say on spiritual formation) that you found helpful, just buy a copy for them just because.
- If a family member dies, attend the wake and/or funeral. This one is huge. Get this wrong and you don’t have to worry about them quitting their volunteer responsibilities – they will quit the church!
- Write their birthday or anniversary down and shoot them a “Happy Anniversary/Birthday” text.
If you find your volunteers dropping like flies, it might be that your withdrawals exceeded your deposits to the point the account became overdrawn.
I think every leader needs to have a recurring monthly task that says “Pick a key volunteer to make a deposit with this month.” This is a proactive approach to keeping your volunteers happy and your department healthy.