How to Be a Great Volunteer Part 1: Communication

marko-pekic-145777My role within the local church has given me the opportunity to oversee a number of volunteer teams that lead in various capacities.  On the whole, I have been blessed to lead and serve alongside some incredible volunteers throughout my career.  Most of these volunteers have been good, but some have been GREAT!  So what is it that makes a volunteer not just good, but GREAT?

 1.  GREAT Volunteers Communicate–Early and Often.  There’s no doubt that the volunteers that I consider to be great are the ones I communicate with on a regular basis.  Granted, most of the communication responsibilities are on me, but communication is a two-way street.  And, as a leader, I always love it when volunteers communicate with me in the following ways:

 A.  By responding to serving requests in a timely manner.  At the church at which I currently serve, we use an online service called Planning Center to schedule our volunteers.  Whatever the system your church or organization employs, as a volunteer, you can really help your leader out by responding to serving requests as quickly as possible. 

 B.  By letting me know in writing, in as much advance as possible, when they will be out of town. If you want to be your team leader’s best friend, give as much advance notice as possible for when you’ll be out of town.  Send them a text, shoot them an email, and block dates out on Planning Center–as soon as your time away is scheduled.   This will give your leader the maximum amount of lead time to find someone else to fill your role because, despite what you may think, it matters when you aren’t there.  As a volunteer, you matter.

 C.  By letting me know how I can make their job easier.  Is there a resource you need?  Is there a question you have?  Ask your leader and let them help you.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease. While you may not get what you need overnight, know that your leader is for you and will deliver to their best ability everything you need to be successful in your role.

 D.  By letting me know how I can pray for them.  Are you facing a challenge in your life?  Your leader wants to pray with and for you–but unless you tell them how they can specifically be praying, they won’t know otherwise.  Asking your leader to pray for you will show that you value their position as a spiritual authority in your life and will open the door for further communication which will, in turn, strengthen your relationship.

Chances are, life isn’t all sunshine and roses for your leader all the time.  So make a commitment to call their name in prayer regularly and consistently–and let them know you are praying for them.  This is one of the biggest ways you can be an encouragement and blessing to your leader.

 I hope this has shed some light on the importance of communication with your leader.  In Part 2 of this blog series, we’ll look at the second mark of a great leader: Showing Up On Time.

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