Volunteers Live Longer

Volunteers Live Longer

September 11, 2013 by

“Research has shown that people who volunteer often live longer” -Allen Klein

Ever been asked to volunteer for something? If you’re breathing and go to a church, you probably have.

A while back the Center for Church Communications (CFCC) asked if I’d volunteer to serve on their board and to help create their exciting new Certification Lab for church communicators (coming to Nashville, Oct 14-15).

The usually “before I answer” questions went through my mind:

  • What will I have to do?
  • How much time will it take?
  • Is this a worthy cause that fulfills what I want to do?

The first two are logistical, and the last is more strategic.

Time is a limited resource. I want to use it effectively and strategically; with results. Because when it’s gone, it can’t be reused.

The church runs on volunteers. Perhaps your job is a volunteer position (or feels like it). Or maybe you rely on volunteers to get the work done. It’s critical to consider the strategic (before the tactical). Some questions to clarify:

What are the benefits to be enjoyed?
Every task has an outcome. And if a job needs doing, you need to know why someone would want to do it. If the outcome isn’t quickly evident (or seems negative, i.e., janitorial) make sure you can find a positive (i.e., allows a sanitary environment that protects all of us) you can emphasize. Living longer—at least according to the quote above—is nice, but you probably want something more tangible.

What kind of person is needed?
Every person is “known for something.” Does the volunteer need to be known for something specific in order to fulfill this job effectively? If you require someone who’s meticulous, you don’t want to push a person who’s free-spirited. Allowing a volunteer to use a task to fulfill what they want to do with their lives is much easier than pushing the proverbial square peg into the round hole.

What are the actual costs for doing this?
This is huge. You all know marketing is getting someone to do something for a “cost.” The higher the cost, the more benefit needs to come from it. So consider the perceived cost. Is it a lot of time? A long drive? Does it force you to do what you don’t want to (see previous two questions)? You need to weigh the benefits or results.

It’s always important for you (and your volunteers) to go through this decision process because everyone needs to be reminded of the job’s benefits in order for them to do the tactical work (the perceived price). Keep people focused on the positive rewards: Ultimately ministry!

Working on the Certification Lab
I’m glad I accepted the task of working with Gerry True, Stephen Brewster, Phil Bowdle and the CFCC board on the Certification Lab (Nashville, Oct. 14-15). We’ve invested hundreds of hours into preparing an intensive curriculum for church communicators! We’ll deal with issues like motivating volunteers (in the leadership section) and we’ll also guide you through tactical issues like communications and creativity.

Interested? I’d love for you to be one of only 50 who will be allowed to register. It’ll make our volunteering worthwhile!

Use the code “MARK” at checkout and I’ll take an additional $50 off (just for reading this). I hope to see you there!

Post By:

Mark MacDonald

Mark MacDonald is an author, speaker, and strategic communication catalyst with the Florida Baptist Convention. He’s also the author of Be Known For Something. Mark is also the executive director of our nonprofit parent, the Center for Church Communication.
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2 Responses to “Volunteers Live Longer”

  • Danny De los Reyes
    October 6, 2013

    Any chances that you will make this available online?

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  • Dayna Chu
    October 30, 2013

    Love this statement from your second ppoint- “Allowing a volunteer to use a task to fulfill what they want to do with their lives is much easier than pushing the proverbial square peg into the round hole.” How did Certification Lab go? Are any sessions available online?

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