I was recently asked by a church planter “How do you prevent volunteers from being unfaithful – not showing up when they should, not doing what they said, etc?” I replied that this is a tension to manage, not a problem to solve. While you can’t eliminate volunteers canceling (or canceling without notice) there are things you can do to minimize these occurrences:
- Clearly communicate expectations on the front end. Have in writing what you expect (i.e. that they are faithful in their commitment and that they call if they can’t make it for whatever reason).
- When volunteers violate your clearly communicated expectations you need to follow up with them to understand what happened. This becomes an opportunity to reiterate your expectations. Remember: People do what you inspect, not what you expect.
Things will never be perfect, but you can eliminate so many of the common volunteer problems by doing these two things.