Mobilizing Volunteers

February 15, 2011 — 2 Comments

Here's part six of chapter two of my book, A Day of Hope.  If you missed the first five sections, you can follow the links below.

Picture: What does it look like?
The Whole Enchalida
Honor Your Promises
A Big Commitment
Getting Friends, Family, & Coworkers Involved


Doing this project means that you’re going to have to work with people, and a large majority of those people are going to be volunteers.  Volunteers have been the lifeblood of A Day of Hope and a key part of our success.  We could never do what we do if it weren’t for the support of volunteers.  They’ve truly made it all happen for A Day of Hope. 

The amount of volunteers you use depends on how many people you commit to feeding and how much work you’re willing to do yourself.  For our local program, we use lots of volunteers.  This past year, we used over 350 volunteers, and probably more than 1,000 people have volunteered in the five years since we started A Day of Hope.  That’s a lot of people, and one of your primary roles is to lead and manage them.  Yes. I mean you.  You’re going to be leading the charge.

Much of the work you do with A Day of Hope can be planned in your head by yourself.  You can set a goal by yourself, you can write a donation letter by yourself, and you can create a website by yourself.  However, when you do send out donation letters, market a website, and work to achieve the goal, you’re going to need help.  And volunteers are the ones who will be there.

I just finished reading a great book entitled The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley who’s a pastor at North Point Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia.  He talks about how many times we have a destination in mind, and we have good intentions on getting to that destination, but the only way we will get there is by having a path towards the direction that we want to go.  It’s our direction, not our intention, that determines our destination.  And the direction you’re going needs to have a focus on working with volunteers.

Does it scare you to talk with all these people, lead them to do great work, and manage these volunteers?  You might be creating images in your mind about how you’ve got to be some type of super charismatic leader who speaks eloquently, talks smoothly, dresses to impress, has slick gelled hair, and shakes hands with the city mayor and other big wigs.  That’s very far from the truth! 

To successfully lead people for A Day of Hope, you don’t have to be super smooth, have a nice smile, or anything else that you think a fancy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or City Mayor needs to have.  The only thing you need to do is be yourself.  John Maxwell, leadership expert and author of Everyone Communicates, Few Connect writes, “Here’s the bottom line on charisma.  You don’t have to be gorgeous, a genius, or a masterful orator to possess presence and to connect with others.  You just need to be positive, believe in yourself, and focus on others.”[i]  People love to be around someone who is comfortable with himself or herself.  Just be you.

Even though I’m pretty good at working with people, I’m a very introverted person.  I’m good at connecting with people one to one, and I’m an average speaker (something that I’ve worked super hard on to develop).  Just because you’re not an extroverted, charismatic person doesn’t mean that you can’t be good with people.  Both extroverts and introverts have their strengths and weaknesses.  Entire books have been written on this, so I won’t dig very deep, but I want you to realize that just because you might be an introvert doesn’t mean you can’t effectively lead people.

[i] John C. Maxwell, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect  (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, 2010), 166

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."

  • Verna Derosier

    Talking to your prospected audience, donors, sponsors or whatever you might wanna call ’em, is one of the basic steps in collecting funds, so I think anyone who would do the outreach is brave enough. Having some of these well-developed sage fundraising software would be a huge help as well ‘coz you’ll never know the exact amount of donations you’re gonna get as your organization progress. Good luck on that plan, Christopher!

  • Christopher Scott

    Thanks for commenting Verna.
    I hope you found this section of my book beneficial to you.