A large part of my job is recruiting volunteers. Anyone who has this as a part of their job knows how difficult it can be, so when I find good and committed volunteers I want to make sure that I do everything within my power to keep them. Keeping volunteers means that sometimes I have to do things that I wouldn’t normally do.
Recently, I found out that one of my volunteers is Buddhist. When she shared that with me I was not bothered by it one bit…oh, did I mention that I am a Christian and recruit volunteers to help kids with their education in a Christian setting? We pray, read the Bible, and talk about how Jesus is the only way to really have a meaningful and external life. Stuff like that. However, after finding out about my volunteer’s beliefs, I asked if it would be okay for me to attend one of the Buddhist services she attends. She was gracious and granted me permission.
Connecting with my volunteers is very important. I believe that if I can shorten the gap between “me” and “them” then I can create an “us.” Creating an “us” will help the volunteers find purpose in their service and they will begin to take ownership in the work, development, and stability of the program. If we stop at merely recruiting volunteers we lose. We must go the extra mile in encouraging, connecting with, and creating a genuine sense of purpose in our volunteers. In order to succeed at this, we may have to do the unthinkable.