Have you ever been asked to volunteer for something? If you’re breathing and go to a church, you probably have.
A while back, the Center for Church Communications asked if I’d volunteer to serve on their board and to help create their exciting new Certification Lab for church communicators.
The usual “before I answer” questions went through my mind:
- What will I have to do?
- How much time will it take?
- Is this a worthy cause that fulfills what I want to do?
- The first two are logistical; the last is more strategic. Time is a limited resource. I want to use it effectively and strategically, with results. When it’s gone, it can’t be reused.
The church runs on volunteers. Perhaps your job is a volunteer position (or feels like it). Or maybe you rely on volunteers to get the work done. It’s critical to consider the strategic before the tactical. Here are some questions to clarify:
What are the benefits to be enjoyed? Every task has an outcome. And if a job needs doing, you need to know why someone would want to do it. If the outcome isn’t quickly evident (or seems negative), make sure you can find a positive you can emphasize. Living longer is nice, but you probably want something more tangible.
What kind of person is needed? Every person is known for something. Does the volunteer need to be known for something specific in order to fulfill this job effectively? If you require someone who’s meticulous, you don’t want to push a person who’s free-spirited. Allowing volunteers to use a task to fulfill what they want to do with their lives is much easier than pushing the proverbial square peg into the round hole.
What are the actual costs for doing this? This is huge. Marketing, at its core, is getting someone to do something for a “cost.” The higher the cost, the more benefit needs to come from it. So consider the perceived cost. Is it a lot of time, or is it a long drive? Does it force you to do what you don’t want to? You need to weigh the benefits or results.
It’s always important for you and your volunteers to go through this decision process because everyone needs to be reminded of the job’s benefits in order for them to do the tactical work (the perceived price). It’s important to keep people focused on the positive rewards: ultimately, ministry!? —Mark McDonald
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