Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Remember Birthdays, Send E-Mails and "Adopt" Those Volunteers!

Last week we looked at how to begin a ministry of support and encouragement for your volunteers and considered how a prayer ministry is the first place to start. Today we are going to look at two simple ways to kick off encouraging volunteers and one idea which has the potential to invigorate your volunteers and church like nothing else! 

  • Let's begin with encouraging your volunteers by noticing and remembering birthdays and anniversaries. When I was the Children’s Director at my Church, I had each volunteer fill out a card with their birthday, spouse & children’s birthdays, anniversary and their address. Then at the beginning of each month, I addressed envelops and had our Pastor sign the cards.  I signed the cards and put them in the mail.  Our volunteers sincerely appreciated how we remembered them on their birthday and their families as well! 
  • Since nearly everyone has a computer, consider encouraging your volunteers by sending email thank-you’s to them from time to time! DaySpring has free ecards for every occasion www.dayspring.com. Prefer a more personal touch? It is always a delight to receive a handwritten note so each month select a specific volunteer or department of volunteers and then send them a personal note!
  • When the people in your church volunteer, they often end up “missing out” on all which happens with their own adult classes. This next idea made a huge difference for my volunteers when I implemented it. Find out from each of your volunteers which adult class they would attend if they were not teaching and then recruit members from those classes to "adopt" your volunteers! "Adoptive" adult class members team up with each volunteer to let them know about events which are coming up, share notes from their adult classes, communicate prayer requests shared by class members as well as share volunteer prayer requests with their adult class. About a month after I first implemented this part of my volunteer support and encouragement ministry, one of my volunteers told me how she loved teaching the children, but always felt like she was "missing out" on something else by not being able to participate in an adult class. She shared how she felt so bad to learn of difficult situations adult class members had happen in their lives which she would have been able to pray about or help out with and class get-togethers after they happened when she would have been able to join in if she had known about the events. She said the person who "adopted" her took notes, shared prayer requests and let her know about an upcoming chili cook-off so she was able to feel like part of the adult class! She said it "freed" her to enjoy teaching without feeling like she was missing something else! It takes a bit of organizing to implement this idea, but if you do, you will find your volunteers - as well as adults not involved in your children's ministry - will truly benefit!
In a couple days we will talk about how to plan a big volunteer encouragement event with several ideas to get you going! Please "like" About the Children's Department on facebook and tell people you know so they can join in our conversations!

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