Leading Volunteers (part 2)

May 12, 2011

 Today's post is part of my blog series of sharing chapter four of my book, A Day of Hope: Leading Volunteers to Make a Difference in Your Community. I hope you find reading the book over the next couple weeks to be enjoyable and beneficial to you as a leader.

This is part two about how to lead volunteers. Leading volunteers is very difficult because you have no leverage to make them do anything. This means you need to be an exceptional leader and make sure you treat people right.


5. Don’t Tell; Ask – As a leader you’re going to have lots of things you need done.  There is no way you can do all of them on you own, so you’re going to have to ask for help from your team.  The natural reaction for most people who’ve worked in the for-profit area is to tell people to do something.  But as you recall in principle #2, you don’t have any leverage with volunteers.  People don’t have to do anything you tell them to do.  If they do it, it’s going to be because they want to.  So always kindly ask volunteers to do things; don’t tell them to do something.

6. Communicate Clearly and Often – One of the main ways you lead and direct the people you work with is by communicating to them often and clearly.  You need to communicate to people what goals, visions, and dreams you’re working towards, and you need to communicate how to get there by doing specific things, activities, and events.

7. Be a Person of Your Word – The first six principles will make no difference in your leadership if you don’t work to keep your word.  The leader (which is you) has to say what he’s going to do and do what he says.  Your creed (what you say) must match your deed (what you do).  If not, then you’re doomed.  Very little of what you say will ever be accepted and taken with any type of authority, and you’ll find that no one will follow you.

8. Work Your Buttocks Off! – When people see you working your butt off, they naturally want to join in and help you.  When you work hard, it helps to give the other eight principles more authority and weight.

There are many different leadership styles. 

How I lead is very different than how you might lead.  Some people are very outgoing and gregarious in their leadership.  Others are quiet, but when they do talk the people around them listen and act.  Some leaders like to have their hands in everything.  Other leaders delegate and leave the project up the to the people who have been given the responsibility.  Some leaders are very focused on the process of the work being done while other leaders only care about the end results.

If you have a sincere heart to help people I’m confident you have what it takes to become a leader.  I believe in you and know you have what it takes to lead people.  Even though we’ve never met, the fact that you’re reading this book lets me know you have a heart to help people, and that’s the first step to becoming a leader.

Question: What is your personal method or process for leading volunteers?

Christopher L. Scott

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Christopher Scott is Small Groups Pastor at Rocky Hilly Community Church in Exeter, CA. He has more than ten years of experience leading volunteers, running nonprofit programs, and teaching the Bible in small group settings. He holds a bachelor's degree from Fresno Pacific University and master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I also may have received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

One response to Leading Volunteers (part 2)

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