All Volunteers are not the same

By on May 14, 2018 in blog

All Volunteers are not the same.

I realize this is not a new concept or remotely profound insight, however, it warrants repeating just to help team admins to remember to not get disappointed when they do not receive/observe the same level of dedication from each volunteer.

My wife and I have been incredibly blessed with three wonderful daughters. Our oldest daughter practically came out of the womb reading. Ok, not really but, she is very studios; looking back, she very likely benefited from having her parents’ attention all to herself for almost 5 years. From a very early age, her personality type was that of a focused individual. As a result, she has done very well in school thus far and we rarely have had to tell her to study or do her homework as she maintains her educational focus very well.

My second daughter on the other hand has had her struggles with staying focused; her personality is quite different. As a result, she has had her struggles in school. In fact, it took my wife and me some time to figure out that we could not have the same expectations of her as we did with our first daughter. We needed to work with her differently and try to accommodate a different learning style that would help her to eventually succeed.

Just as my daughters are very different, all volunteers are not the same.

Some volunteers will grant you all their free time and others will be barely willing to give you 5 percent of their free time.

There are many reasons for this, spiritual maturity, family responsibilities, work responsibilities, etc.

From the admin’s perspective, it is very easy to get frustrated with volunteers who don’t show the same or similar level of dedication as the high achievers. Having volunteers who do not show or are always requesting to cancel assignments can certainly be a challenge.

It is important to remember that although all volunteers are not the same, that is ok.

Our Heavenly Father did not create us all the same so, it is not realistic to expect the same behavior from every person.

Let’s look at it from a different perspective.

Giving financially to your place of worship is a form of worship (and obedience) to God. However, aside from giving the tithe (10 percent), most churches would never dictate how much each member should be giving in offering. The decision of how much to give is deeply personal and strictly between each member and God.

Volunteer time is also another form of worship that is very similar to giving a financial offering. Each volunteer should be able to decide how much of his/her time to give and when they prefer to give it. How much or how little a volunteer decides to give is strictly between that volunteer and the Heavenly Father who provides all things. We give because it is all His to begin with.

Providing scheduling flexibility that allows volunteers to determine how much time they can give is very important. Admins who provide this level of flexibility will very likely see less burn-out from volunteers.

In fact, if we stay with the financial offering example, many people give offering based on their earnings. The more they earn, the more they may give. When earnings drop, typically, the amount of the offerings drop also.

The same can be true of volunteers’ time. As people go through busy seasons, the amount of time they have to volunteer may dip. As people have more time, hopefully, the amount of time they dedicate to volunteering rises.

To keep up with the myriad life seasons in volunteers’ lives, it is important to have a system in place that provides the level of flexibility that allows volunteers to toggle how much time they have available to serve and when exactly they prefer to serve. The ease with which volunteers can turn up or turn down their volunteer preferences may very well make the difference between keeping volunteers around or losing them completely.

In summary, just remember, all volunteers are not the same; therefore, it is important to not have the same expectations for all of them. Allow each volunteer to give what they can and simply encourage them to pull closer in their relationship with the Heavenly Father.

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