Saturday, March 24, 2007

Voluntary contributions

Richard posted about some volunteer stuff and I was interested to take a look because, as part of my role on the chaplaincy team at our local university college, I was invited to the Volunteer Awards event last night where the student volunteers who had made a significant contribution of hours (25, 50, 100 - one have even done 600 hours!) were fed a posh dinner, applauded, presented with a certificate, photographed for the uni magazine and then went on to dance at the disco.

I commented to my fellow chaplain that the churches could well learn something from that.

How many hours do our volunteers do? Do we celebrate that enough or are we too afraid that in highlighting how many hours people do we might lose them!

I'm sure none of us thanks our volunteers often enough. I know I always try to take my leaders to eat out together after training sessions but it really is a drop in the ocean.

We recently had to work out the number of hours of volutary work is done in the church as part of our accounts; in other words if we HAD to employ everybody who did anything in the church, how much would it cost. I seem to remember that a brief look at the youthwork alone and the hours my volunteers do added up to at least another full timer. That was before we even considered, the church stewards, the flower arrangers, the choir, the bell-ringers, the children's leaders, the coffee-shop volunteers, the PCC members, the task group members, the hours put in planning and running events like harvest suppers, fetes etc, and that's not even counting most of the roles people play in preparation for worship.

So I'd be interested to know. What do people do to recognise the contribution of their volunteers?


Chris said...

The first thing we do is to try to make sure that volunteering is fun and that it isn't an unnecessary sacrifice, e.g. ensuring that we can fund their place on trips out.

Secondly I try to regularly write postcards or notes to all volunteers saying thank you generally or for something specific they have done.

Thirdly we do two socials a year, a Christmas party, and a summer social which seems to be appreciated. We talked about doing it more often, but some commented they wouldn't have the time!

Would be interested to hear what others do.

Anonymous said...

Last year I put on a murder mystery event for all our youth leaders. I got the young people involved as much as I could. The young people helped cook the meal and acted out the murder mystery. The leaders really appreciated it, even those who couldn't make it wanted to know how it had gone and were sad to miss it. I plan to do something similar again this summer.

Kathryn said...

We're running a barn dance for them in the autumn. Actally it's the scottish version, but I'm not sure i can spell it. (Cedilagh?)