Valuing your volunteers mostly involves listening to what they have to say. Listen to their ideas and input. Are they excited about their class? How do they think their class could be managed more effectively? How do they think processes such as check-in/check-out could be more efficient?
Listen and be aware of what is going on in their personal lives and with their spiritual needs. Let them know you are praying for them and that you care about THEM and not just about what they can do for you!
The simple act of listening says to the volunteer that what they have to say is important and that you “value” them and their opinions.
Praising can be considered just the opposite of valuing. You value someone when you listen to them, but with praise they hear positive feedback from you. Acknowledge volunteers for a job well done. Give them a pat on the back and a big thank you! Many of them work behind the scenes with very little recognition. As the CM leader, it’s up to YOU to recognize what they do!
Words of praise both in private and public can mean a great deal and boost morale. Take every opportunity to let the entire church know what is going on in children’s ministry and who is serving faithfully in the different areas of your ministry.
In addition to words of praise, small tokens or gifts of appreciation also speak volumes. Make these creative – here are some of my favorites:
Hershey Hugs & Kisses: “Hugs & Kisses for all your hard work!”
Lifesavers:“You’re a lifesaver – thanks!”
Extra gum– You are “extra” special. Thanks for all that you do. Thank you for going the “extra” mile to make our Fall Festival “extraordinary.”
Chocolate Gold Coins: “You’re worth your weight in gold!”
100 Grand Bar– You are worth more than “100 grand”
Mounds of thanks for all you do!
Mint Bag.” Thanks for your commit-“mint” to help. Thanks for your encourage-“mint”. Thanks for your involve-“mint”. Thanks for your invest-“mint” of time. Thanks for making each day an enjoy-“mint”. Thanks for helping to create a nice environ-“mint”. Everything you have done has really “mint” a lot to me.
Star Burst– I’m “bursting” with happiness that you are on my team!
Blow Pop– Your creativity “blows” me away! or Your commitment “blows” me away!
Handheld fan – Let them know they are FAN-tastic.“Thank you for all of the FAN-tastic help at the kick-off.”
Stick with It! – When volunteers are discouraged, hand out sticky notes, with “Stick with it, you’re the best!” written on top.
Candle – “No one holds a candle to you!”
Give away Volunteer “Me” Time – What is the one thing that none of your volunteers have enough of? Free time! So why not send a little TLC their way?
Provide a night of free babysitting.
Volunteer Party with a Twist – If you’re going to ask your volunteers to attend an appreciation event on their behalf, make sure it’s fun and include the important people in their lives. After all, why ask them to sacrifice more time away from their friends and family when you’re trying to spread joy?
Organize a breakfast bar at church where they can eat with their family before services begin.
Host a “Sundae on a Friday” where volunteers can load up on sweets at your local ice cream parlor.
Invite volunteers and their families to an outdoor movie with popcorn and soda on a summer’s night.
Gift Basket – Give them a basket with the ingredients to a quick prep meal. Contact half a dozen local eateries about donating a BOGO free coupon specifically for your volunteers. Put the coupons in a thank you card and thank your volunteers with unexpected mail.