Helping Volunteers Win in 3 Seconds or Less

Helping Volunteers Win in 3 Seconds or Less

One of the best ways to set your volunteers up for success is to clearly define what success looks like for the role they are serving in.

When defining success for your volunteer roles, it’s important to keep this in mind:

Make your definitions for volunteer success easy to remember.

If your volunteers can’t remember what success is for the role they are serving in, then they will have a hard time attaining success.

And here’s the key thing to know…

Research shows that if a statement takes three seconds or less to say out loud, then it is much easier to remember and use.

Don’t miss this. It is critical if you want to set your volunteers up for success. For each role, define what success looks like in short, simple statements that take three seconds or less to say out loud.

Here’s an example. You want to define what success looks like for your small group leaders. If you want them to remember and use your definitions, then keep them simple and short.

Wins for a Small Group Leader: 
1. Call each child by name.
2. Get kids talking about the lesson.
3. Pray with kids.

Or how about for a greeter?

Wins for a Greeter:
1. Smile.
2. Be friendly.
3. Help new families check in.

Don’t make the mistake of creating long vision statements, volunteer job descriptions or volunteer wins. Why? Because they won’t be remembered. But when you narrow these things down to the bare minimum, they can be remembered and used.

Set your volunteers up for success by doing this.

1. Create three simple wins for each volunteer role in your ministry. Make sure they can each be said out loud in three seconds or less.

2. Share these wins with each new volunteer when you bring them onboard. Ask them to memorize them.

3. Put them in writing so the volunteer can see them. Place them in the room. In handouts. In newsletters. In emails.

4. Re-visit the three simple wins often. It can’t be one and done. You must go back often and emphasize the wins. Wins shared yesterday that are not re-visited today will be forgotten tomorrow.

5. Use the wins to help volunteers grow. As you provide your volunteers with feedback, you can use these simple wins to help them measure their progress.

Here’s an example of using the small group leader wins listed above. Sit down periodically with a small group leader and talk about the following with him or her.

1. Call each child by name.

  • Do you know all the kids’ names in your group?
  • Do you say each of their names at least once every week?
  • How are you helping each child be personally known and cared for?

2. Get kids talking.

  • How much time are you spending in discussion?
  • Are kids talking and sharing?
  • How many opened-ended questions are you asking?

3. Pray with kids.

  • Are you taking personal prayer requests each week?
  • Are you praying for each child by name?
  • Are you taking time to let kids share answers to prayer?

You can also uses the wins you have clarified as topics for training. If you want volunteers to grow in these areas, then provide training in these areas.

Let’s go back to the example of the small group leader wins. You could provide training for the three defined wins.

1. How to get kids to open up and talk.
2. How to ask good questions.
3. How to be an effective facilitator and listener.
4. How to pray with and for kids.

Let’s narrow it down and summarize.

Help Your Volunteers Win by…

1. Defining what success looks like in short, simple statements that take three seconds or less to say.
2. Help volunteers memorize the simple wins and put them into practice.
3. Train volunteers and help them grow in these areas.
4. Re-visit the wins often so they are not forgotten.

You can get sample job descriptions for over 26 volunteer roles and lots of other great volunteer training resources at my resource website. Click here now to see what’s available. 

It’s important to remember this: If you want your volunteers to be successful, then you have to set them up for success.

This article originally appeared here.

For more great articles on leading volunteers, check out 25 Best Articles on Leading Volunteers (That Get Them to Stay and Thrive!)