One of the tensions that I am always facing is drawing a hard, high line on expectation to be a volunteer or allowing the room to wade into being a volunteer.
I mean I can see the positives in both.
There are quite a few positives for making the requirements to be a volunteer high, here are a few that I think of often:
- best people for your particular need
- usually involved for longer commitment periods
- willing to learn and grow
But you also are guaranteed to have low numbers of volunteers at first. As expectations go up, numbers go down. It may not stay that way, but usually it’s tough to grow a healthy culture this way especially for newer leaders.
Wade In Approach
Lower Expectations definitely allow volunteers to get involved easier, but they also mean a bit tougher time getting the most committed volunteers. Here are some benefits to the Wade In Approach
- Allow you to find people that may one day be the best volunteers
- Higher number of volunteers, which leaders to lower leader-kid ratios
- Gives your more committed volunteers leadership development opportunities
However, you could get some real “winners” this way as well. You are also more likely to have to fire a few volunteers with this approach as well.
Either way, you have some things that you have to work on.
Here are some of my non-negotiables either way:
- BG Check. Every volunteer gets one and we keep ours up to date, which for us means 1 every 3 years.
- Interview with a Leader. They must get interviewed. Looking someone in the eyes helps.
- Application with references. Helps us to get a better picture of who a person is and what people think of them.
Some things that I’ve been flexible on:
- Schedule – every week, every other, monthly, events, etc. I am flexible here. I wish and pray for every volunteer to volunteer every week but I also know it’s not realistic and will cause a lot of volunteers to say no.
- Role – You aren’t sewn into a role once you start. In fact, you get a chance to change and move. I’d love it if volunteers did that on a regular basis to see more.
- Meetings – I don’t make anything, except for the list above… mandantory. Especially meetings. However, I try to recap most meetings and I try to give some follow up for most of the ones I conduct.
What I’ve realized is that if you get good people, they attract other good people. They also weed out bad people. If you work on the culture constantly, the expectations that individuals have for themselves, go up.
So right now, I’m leaning on the wading in side, because it seems to be working really well in Switch. But I’m blessed and super lucky to have the team that I have and hope to see the same type of team develop in Crave in the coming months.
Where do you fall on the tension of wading in or having the bar set really high? Why? Share in the comments below.