What if I could “pay” volunteers what they’re worth?

Last year I completed a survey which asked on the basis of paying a volunteer £10 per hour how much would it additionally cost your church.  We worked out our youth ministry (11-18 year olds) would have cost more than an extra £252,000!

Every year at this time, I think about how we can express gratitude to our volunteers who lead our youth ministry so fantastically.  It’s clear to me that our ministry is only as good as the calibre of leaders we have for these young people.  I was talking with someone about using some of our annual budget to buy a treat for volunteers – the amount was so small, for an investment so big, that their hourly rate would have been a tiny fraction of the minimum wage!

Of course we all know that volunteers aren’t in it for the money (and for that we’re glad!)  But I have been thinking how can we show appreciation and thanks to our phenomenal volunteers, without breaking the bank, here’s some of my ideas:

Write hand-written notes: Receiving a hand-written note through the post can really encourage someone, and yet it doesn’t take very long to write.  Even better get young people to write a psotcard to one of their leaders.

Special celebration events: at the start of the Christmas and Summer holidays we host special thank you events for our volunteer leaders – normally we eat a meal together, and play some games, and just take a moment to say thank you for what they’ve done.

Praising them in front of others: it can be anything from praising a leader in front of the rest of their team to when we come back from residentials we take over a chunk of the service to share what we’ve been up to – it’s great to highlight some of the amazing things our leaders do in front of hundreds of other people.

Telling stories of God at work: it’s great in the leadership teams to look back and remember the places where we saw God’s hand at work in our ministry this year.  That can be things we’ve noticed as a team of leaders: a young person who seems more confident, the first time a young person prayed out loud to the “big” things like young people who’ve decided this year to follow Jesus for the first time.

I’m sure you can think of loads more ways, drop them into the comments, I’d love to do new things for and with our volunteers.

Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

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