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How To Motivate Those That Serve

Yes it's true that most of those who serve within the church or ministries wouldn't be doing so if they weren't already motivated to a certain degree.  But ministry can be hard and demanding, and everyone needs once in a while encouragement and incentive to keep motivated and going.

As leaders we need to recognize and reward those that serve alongside us and for us. Reward for the big things. And the medium things. And even the itty-bitty little things. We all like praise.  If we are honest, we appreciate recognition.  And those that serve with you and for you...whether they be paid staff or volunteers, will welcome those small (and even large) acts of kindness and appreciation.  Here are a couple ways you can motive others:
  • Say ‘thank you’ often, and mean it
  • Send birthday cards. Send a card at Christmas 
  • Provide a clear role description for every staff person and volunteer
  • Make sure new staff and volunteers are welcomed warmly
  • Highlight the impact that the volunteer contribution is having on the organization
  • Show an interest in staff and volunteers’ personal interests and their outside life
  • Tell your staff and volunteers they have done a good job
  • Give volunteers a real voice within the organization
  • Provide meaningful and enjoyable work for your staff
  • Always have work for your volunteers to do and never waste their time
  • Send ‘thank you’ notes and letters when appropriate
  • Smile when you see them!
  • Say something positive about their personal qualities
  • Involve volunteers in decision-making processes
  • Give a certificate to commemorate anniversaries of involvement
  • Do 360 evaluations with your staff and volunteers, giving them a chance to evaluate you as well
  • Do not impose new policies and procedures without a degree of staff input - especially when those changes effect them
  • Walk into places your volunteers serve and publicly thank them for their service, while they are serving
  • Celebrate the year’s work together
  • Also praise your staff, not just to them, but to others
  • Give the volunteer a title which reflects the work they do (not just ‘volunteer’)
  • Consider providing, or paying for, child care for volunteers who are parents
  • Count up how many hours volunteers contribute and publicize this
  • Always be appreciative of staff and volunteers’ contributions
  • Provide excellent training and coaching
  • Reimburse out-of-pocket expenses for your volunteers
  • Conduct an exit interview when a volunteer leaves
  • Provide constructive appraisal
  • Present an occasional inexpensive gift - i.e. gift card to their favorite store
  • Send a card or flowers if staff and volunteers are ill or bereaved
  • Empower staff and volunteers to make decisions without micro-management


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