Ask yourself how you have invested in your volunteers lately. Have you made an effort to say thank you? Bought someone a coffee? Shared details of an exciting training opportunity?
If the answer is no, keep reading for volunteer appreciation ideas that invest time, care, and resources into your volunteers. Boost workplace morale while increasing the skillset of your workers by following these six tips.
1. Church Volunteer Onboarding
Get your team started with a clear onboarding process to show them where they stand within your ministry. Prioritize explaining seemingly simple things like where they need to be, what they need to bring, and what they need to do thoroughly, as volunteers often feel left behind due to a lack of direction.
Choose a unified system to train every new volunteer so you can know (with certainty) that they have had the same experience. Ministry Grid offers an online tool to give your church workers a smooth introduction, train them, and track their progress. Knowing exactly where each volunteer stands will help them feel looked after and help you feel satisfied with their work.
While practical training is essential for volunteers to know what they are doing in the church environment, why not go above and beyond? Providing volunteers with relevant training opportunities that help them in their role but are also transferable to other industries will show them that you care about their success.
Thinking outside the box with training opportunities demonstrates that the success you wish upon every worker who has lent a helping hand extends beyond the four walls of your church. Inspire them to give more to your church and equip them with the skills to do so through interesting training modules.
3. Impart Professional Skills
Each volunteer that walks through the doors into your church community has the chance to leave with more refined skills than they entered with. The truth is what most volunteers yearn for is skills-based competency-building, which is an incredibly low-cost endeavor. Prepare your church leaders to share these skills – it doesn't take much effort.
Choose which professional skills to share with your volunteers, from management and leadership to communication and budgeting, and develop a program to facilitate it. Be proud that your volunteers leave their time at your church with valuable working skills they will have for the rest of their lives. To invest in your church, you must first invest in your volunteers.
4. Meaningful Job Opportunities
Take time when selecting positions for your ministry. When you offer varied and dynamic roles, your workers will naturally give more of their efforts. Don’t assume that your volunteers just want a doss job, but carefully curate positions that will genuinely impact the day-to-day running of your ministry.
Far too many churches fall into the pattern of having a workforce of volunteers who are largely untrained, but this only makes your life harder as a leader in the church. Assign workers unique positions that provide room for growth and skilled learning, and they will feel more accomplished than if they were bouncing between the areas. Every section of your church has room for growth and skill training, from the welcome team to the parking squad.
5. Regularly Show Appreciation
Investing in your volunteers comes down to more than training and organization. More often than not, showing your workers appreciation on a regular basis is more of an investment than a training course. There is no price tag on feeling appreciated. As a pastor, you must remember that your volunteers are offering up their time, free of charge, to help your community and serve God.
There are countless ways to boost morale in your volunteer groups, and some don’t have to cost a dime, but church volunteer appreciation gifts are popular too. Handwritten thank-you notes and home-baked goods are a thoughtful way to share thanks on a budget, as they offer a chance to get personal with your praise. If you’re looking for more unique ways to show appreciation, read our blog for six unique ideas.
6. Set Aside Space for Quality Time
Aside from the odd text to clarify the plan of action for a project or a surface-level chat in passing, how often do you actually communicate with your volunteers? Some leaders find it difficult to connect with their team, which leads to a feeling of distance and detachment on both sides. Combat this by scheduling time to get to know each other better and have a more personal experience.
Hosting events for volunteers is good fun, but they aren’t always the most effective. As those who are already acquainted speak to each other more, few new connections occur. If you are hoping to build bonds vertically, church parties are not usually the way to go. Follow the lead set by Breeze and commit to taking your team out for a coffee or lunch one-on-one every six months or so.
The way an organization manages its team of volunteers says a lot about how it is run and how effective its workers will be. It's vital to remember that it doesn’t go unnoticed when you invest in your volunteers.
In fact, how much you invest is closely linked to volunteer appreciation and job satisfaction. Start today by prioritizing the well-being of your volunteers, and you will reap the benefits in no time.