Most families are a complex web of commitments, hopes, dreams, projects, activities and disappointments. In our family, my wife, Cary is The Servant. She truly has a heart for helping people and I'm blessed to spend life with her.
We have an ongoing joke that she is also the "parking lot evangelist" because she seems to find elderly people outside of stores who have lost sight of their parking space and can use a hand. Cary volunteers a ton at our church and brings home her joys and frustrations.
One theme of many volunteers, Cary included, is that of not hearing the words "thank you" from those in authority on a regular basis. For whatever reason, many leaders don't think long enough to thank those who are choosing to give of their time and energy for the sake of the cause/organization/church, etc.
I've learned three things from Cary that I try to act on at school, especially when we have volunteers:
- Publicly thank and praise them. A bouquet of flowers, a microphone announcement, a kind word- all of these go a long way. Even if you have five people to acknowledge when you are the podium, always find a a way to thank that 6th person who is a key volunteer.
- Privately thank them via personal notes and emails. This is more personal and usually means even more to volunteers. It takes but a minute and will make a real difference.
- Remember that they can leave at any time. Enjoy the gifts of your volunteers but remember that they can pack up and leave at any time. That's in the Volunteer Handbook (page 32 I think). Hopefully this will motivate you to thank them even more often.
I've learned so much and continue to learn about how to thank volunteers and help them feel appreciated. No leader is perfect and that includes me. Thanking your volunteers well and often will help your legacy to go further and faster.
What can you learn from your spouse about your colleagues at work?
Photo courtesy of CLS