Volunteer Problems: Solved!

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If you’ve clearly connected ministry to mission and helped the volunteer see the big picture, yet the problem persists, then your issue may be placement. If a volunteer isn’t excited about or gifted for the ministry, it’s easier to disregard the commitment. Simply asking, “Do you find your ministry fulfilling?” can open the door for an honest conversation and provide the opportunity to engage the volunteer in a gifts-discovery process. This can lead to a more fulfilling ministry placement where the
person will actually show up and serve.
—Andee Marks

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I have unreliable volunteers who assume I’ll fill in for them when they call in at the last minute—over and over again.

Nothing’s more frustrating than a volunteer who can’t be relied upon to show up. Almost every leader at one time or another must step in to fi ll the gap when a volunteer bails out  unexpectedly, so a measure of grace is necessary. But what about when you have a volunteer who’s perpetually calling in at the last minute? Here are three actions you can take.

  1. Provide a detailed ministry description with step-by-step instructions (a checklist is ideal) and a realistic estimation of the time required for the ministry, as well as the attendance expectation. Go over this information with your volunteer and explain the impact on the ministry when someone calls in at the last minute.
  2. Ensure necessary tools and supplies for the ministry are on hand, and ensure the volunteer knows where to find them. Keep your storage area well-stocked and orderly.
  3. Consider the volunteer’s temperament. Behavioral style assessments can offer you valuable insights into your volunteer’s motivation and habits. And you may discover that you’re asking the impossible when you assign a person with little attention for detail to a ministry that’s detail-oriented.

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