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Volunteerpower News December 2002

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Table of Contents:

1) Using Your Story to Rekindle Your Passion

2) Volunteer Management Tip - What is the number one reason people quit volunteering?

3) Ice Breaker - Getting to Know You

4) Ask Tom - Fingerprinting Today's Volunteer


1) Using Your Story to Rekindle Your Passion

The holiday season is a perfect time for a "Passion Re-tread" for boards and groups of volunteers. The quickest, easiest way to do this is to tell someone else why you started working at your organization, or what originally inspired you about the cause. Re-connect yourself with your story and your passion.

Jonathan, the director of The Source for Youth Ministry, had an appreciation dinner with his board last weekend. After dinner, they each went around the table and told the story of how they became connected with The Source. Jonathan said that not only did he reconnect with his mission, but each board member became energized as they listened to their stories.

These are stories people love to tell and these stories will rekindle that passion. It will remind everyone how good it feels to be involved with your organization. And that everyone includes you.

2) Management Tip - What is the number one reason people quit volunteering?

What is the number one reason people quit volunteering? Not lack of time, not other responsibilities, not a simple loss of passion (although that is the definite result) . . . The number one reason people quit volunteering is because of their direct volunteer supervisor, team leader, or manager. An "inept" volunteer manager makes them run for the door!

The inept volunteer manager may also be a volunteer that we have recruited (or inherited) to lead a task force, a team or special project. Or the inept volunteer manager may be one of our staff members who does not know how to listen, how to lead, how to empower, how to recognize accomplishments, or how to create a culture that stimulates the inner motivation in each employee.

One of our first priorities is to train our volunteer leaders to be leaders who know how to keep their volunteer staff. If you train them how to empower today's knowledge workers, you will keep your valued volunteers. Check out our leadership development information at: http://www.volunteerpower.com/services/passion.htm

3) Ice Breaker - Getting to Know You

Objective: To help participants get acquainted, and to help them discover common background and interests.

Procedure: Have everyone get in groups of three and stand in a circle. Tell them that their assignment for the next two minutes is to find five distinctive things that the three of them have in common. The three things cannot be job related or obvious (all are women). Common items are the following:

All born in the same state

All parents of three boys

All drive a Lexus

Have the first groups that finish sit down. When the two minutes are up, tell the first three groups to introduce themselves and find out what they have in common. I once had one group of three men, who had never met each other before, but they discovered that they all had back-packed the same trail in Colorado.

4) Ask Tom - Real Questions from Volunteer Managers or Leaders


Heidi - from Fall River Mills, CA

I am the children's director of our growing church and our insurance company has just required us to fingerprint all volunteers who work in our children's department. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this new requirement. Some of the volunteers are very upset over this new requirement.



Welcome to 21st century volunteer work, Heidi. Twenty years ago we would have never thought we would be fingerprinting volunteer workers; however, groups that work with children are a natural attraction for pedophiles.

When you deliver a message that can be difficult to deliver, always remember to never quote the law, or policy manual. Many of us may have talked with our volunteers this way, "Our insurance company requires that we have all of our volunteer workers finger printed. I am sorry, but we must comply with their request. I don't agree, but I have to ask you to be fingerprinted."

This is probably not the best way to approach it. Instead of apologizing, first state the benefit for the person and the organization in a positive way. Then after stating the benefit, state the volunteer requirement. Frame your message something like this:

Benefit: In order to protect our children from any danger . . .

Request: We ask that each of our volunteers in the Children's ministry be fingerprinted. This way our parents can have complete confidence in the protection of their children. We've made arrangements at ___________ for our workers to be fingerprinted.

Use this new regulation as an opportunity to demonstrate to the community, parents and church members that you value the complete safety of all children you are ministering to.

The Shriner's hospital does a background check in lieu of fingerprinting. Their volunteer director told me that a background check can get the same results of a finger print.

Sacramento Youth for Christ requires all staff and youth volunteers to be fingerprinted. They made their arrangements at the local Sheriff's office.



For more articles by Thomas McKee, visit the Articles Section on our website at:


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