7 Deadly Sins of Leading Volunteers


We all have been warned about the 7 Deadly Sins or vices of wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

If you work with a team of volunteers like I do, did you know there are 7 other deadly sins that kill ministry?

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting on these 7 Deadly Sins of Leading Volunteers.

Sin #1 – Not saying thanks

Just because someone’s reward is in heaven doesn’t mean they don’t need to hear thank you here on earth. Appreciation is FUEL for volunteers. When their hard work is appreciated, it provides energy to keep going. The fact that you feel grateful doesn’t make an impact. It’s actually saying thanks that provides encouragement.

You don’t just need to BE thankful…you need to SAY thanks. That’s an important distinction.

One of the simplest and most effective way to say thanks is to send a thank you note. Not an email, not a Facebook status, text or email…. I’m talking about an old-fashioned, handwritten thank you note.

There really is power in saying thanks, and the hand-written thank you note is still the best way to do it. In this day of email, status updates and tweets, personal notes sent with a stamp really stand out. Doug Fields says thank you note notes are powerful because:

  • 1. They’re memorable. We delete emails and save notes. I’ve got friends in their 40’s who have shown me notes that I sent them when they were in my youth group.
  • 2. They’re personal. With a handwritten note, it goes against the “reply to all” feeling that emails communicate. Even when I get a personal email, I often wonder if it was a cut/paste that the other speakers/leaders/etc… received. I don’t question the “mass distribution” of a mailed note.
  • 3. They communicate value . With dozens of texts and 100+ emails I receive every day, a note stands out. When I get an occasional hand-written note I feel valued by the person who took the time and spent the money to communicate with me.
  • 4. They’re powerful. I’d go so far to state that a note can make someone’s day. Before my kids could even read they’d follow me to the mailbox and ask if they got any mail. I’d usually say, “Yes you did…Resident.” I don’t always read emails, but when a handwritten, hand-addressed note comes to my home, I ALWAYS see it.

(Taken from The Rocket Company)

About Kevin Beers

Why do I blog? - Because I love my church but can’t personally connect to everyone who calls me ‘pastor’. The people of The Wesleyan Church of Hamburg deserve everything I’ve got. This is one more way to give it. - Because ministry, life and leadership are better when learning is shared. - Because I’d rather offer my journey than just give my conclusions. - Because I need to practice being generous, not just with my money, but with my heart, too. - Because the Church/Kingdom/World is better when many voices are shaping the conversation it is having.

Posted on June 5, 2013, in Leadership and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. This is so true! I volunteered for my daughter’s preschool, about 12 hours a month, doing their newsletter. One month after doing this for a couple years, my kids were all sick one after the other, for about a month. I called the director and apologized profusely in advance of the deadline for being unable to meet the deadline. She said, “well you’re *just* a volunteer, what should we expect?”
    And then I quit being just a volunteer the end.

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