Over the years, I think I’ve attended more Darren Kizer breakouts than any other. He’s a great presenter and shares some great stuff!

Daren began is talk communicating about a crisis his church recently went through, when a former volunteer was arrested for molesting a child. What helped his church make it through and probably saved Daren’s job was the good documentation that was kept. All this tied into his talk as an introduction, as we recruit and train volunteers, it’s so essential to follow our processes, take our time and do things the right way. Don’t take shortcuts and document thoroughly.

Darren shared some great resources, one was a tool called the VSI which was tool that indicates people’s satisfaction about where they are in an organization. According to this VSI, there are four factors that relate to retention. When an employee or volunteer scores high in these four factors, it relates to them being satisfied and happy in their role.

  • Organizational Support – Do they have the tools that they need to be successful? Are they fully resourced? Are they frustrated due to a lack of training or resources? Equip, equip, equip!
  • Group Integration – Do they feel like they’re a part of a team? Are there others that they can connect with while doing their role? People need community!
  • Participatory Efficacy – If people don’t see success or hear stories of success, they’ll wonder why they’re dong what they’re doing. They need to know that they’re making a difference and that their efforts are valuable to the organization and to others.
  • Empowerment – Do they have a say in the game? Can they make decisions or take action? Do they feel as if their hands are tied? This is one of the quickest ways to kill a high-impact leader/volunteer.

In addition to this VSI, Darren shared a great book called 12: The Elements of Great Managing. It too asks great questions that you should ask yourself as one of your volunteers to gauge the environment you’re creating as a manager/leader of volunteers.

  • Do I know what’s expected of me?
  • Do I have materials to do my work right?
  • Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best?
  • Does someone care about me as a person?
  • Do my opinions count?
  • In the last 6 months, has someone checked on my progress?

One of the key take-aways for me was this: What I did to recruit a volunteers is different from what I had to do to keep a volunteer. A person usually volunteers because they want to do something good. They stay becasue they they are getting stuff out of their volunteering.

Some resources that Darren shared are as follows:

Better Safe than Sued
Moodle – a free site for setting up training volunteers