Maybe you need this reminder too.
You don’t have to completely reinvent the strategy to love and care for your volunteers this year.
Hopefully, that’s good news.
Don’t hear me wrong . . . we should innovate! But these six, time-tested things actually may have more power to communicate care to volunteers in a season like this than in a “normal” one.
When you support your team, they’ll become your best advertisement. Loved leaders bring excellent leaders to serve with them. And leaders who feel loved and supported will be more likely to continue serving alongside you and investing in your ministry for years to come.
So while we’re all innovating, here are the easy, proven, consistent things to reach for on a daily basis.
- Give them a call. Did you know you can actually call people with your phone? I tend to forget that sometimes with the ease of just sending a text. When you take the time to call a member of your leadership and check in on them, you show that you really care and that they mean more to you than just being the person who shows up at church or online to help. By taking the time to listen to your team, you’ll show that you’re personally invested in them beyond what they can do for you.
- Have a little fun. Having fun together creates connections, and we need that now more than ever. There are many creative, safe ways to engage your team in a little fun—like hosting a drive-in or a sit-in movie on your church lawn. Invite them over for a socially distanced backyard get-together where everyone brings their own takeout. These are easy ways to show your team how valuable they are to you.
- Care for their family. If you know your volunteer and/or their family is going through a difficult time, look for ways to support them. Why not give your team some parenting encouragement, or just send a cake for the family? Being a parent is hard—so when you show up in those moments, it means so much! One of my volunteers had a loss in their family and when our team arrived with dinners, gas gift cards, and notes of sympathy, the team member felt overwhelmed with love.
- Take a meal to them. I’ve never cooked so many meals or cleaned so many dishes as I have in the last six months. Why not give your leaders the gift of a night off? Cook them your favorite dinner. Or, if cooking isn’t your thing, use Doordash, Uber Eats—or whatever delivery service you have in your area—and deliver them an amazing meal from their favorite local restaurant!
- Send them a note. A handwritten note seems so simple and easy, but it can have a big impact. When you let your leaders know how much they mean to you, you’ll encourage them to keep serving and to keep showing up for their “few.” We’ve even made something we call “Pep-Talk Post Cards” so you can send volunteers a pep-talk this season.
- Let them take a season off. This might not be the right time for everyone to be serving. Remind your leader that it’s okay if they have to step away this school year, but communicate to them that they’re still important to you and the ministry. Let them know that there will be a space for them when they’re ready to return.