What the Church can learn about Volunteer Management from the 2012 Olympics
Today I read an article on the BBC news website which spoke about how excellent the Olympic volunteers had been at this year's London Olympics, specifically "How volunteers made the games".
It got me thinking: "What can the Church learn about volunteer recruitment, motivation, and management, from the 2012 London Olympic Games?"
On reflection of the linked news item, here are my thoughts:
1. Volunteers want to be part of something bigger than themselves - we might call this a community.
2. Volunteers like to be given a sense of corporate identity - the volunteer Olympic uniform played a major part in this.
3. Volunteers like to be of use - there is no point in recruiting and then not using your teams.
4. Volunteers appreciate being given specific jobs - this allows them a sense of responsibility and implies a level of trust.
5. Volunteers can help lift the mood and excite the entire church.
6. Volunteers are not concerned with financial gain - so how can they be rewarded most suitably?
7. Draw upon the strengths, skills, and gifts of individual volunteers.
8. Recognise and value those working behind the scenes, as much as those in up-front positions.
9. Encourage a sense of pride amongst your volunteers.
10. A volunteer's primary role is "To make sure that everyone they interact with goes away with an improved experience", the specific job you ask them to do is of secondary importance.
11. Volunteers appreciate being given a title which summarises their role.
12. Recruit for specific ministry roles wisely. The London 2012 Olympic games had 240,000 people apply to be a volunteer, but they interviewed only 100,000, and invited only 70,000 people to become official volunteers.
13. Train volunteers thoroughly. Olympic volunteers were expected to attend 3 training sessions.
14. Provide volunteers with experience before placing them in positions of responsibility.
15. Have a clear line-management system in place.
16. Find the most appropriate role for each volunteer, however, don't be afraid to ask people who are over-qualified to carry out particular roles.
17. Develop an integrated volunteer bank. That means, focus on creating a large team of volunteers across the entire church, as well as for specific ministries.
18. If a volunteer is evidently no good at their role, find them another. Do this until the person finds a role that they can excel in.
19. Encourage all the church to volunteer for something.
20. Keep on recognising, honouring, and praising volunteers.