I have an advertisement tacked up in my office. The ad features a page of 36 headshots with these words:
Every face tells a story.
I’ve kept this ad posted for the past three years. Work comes at me a hundred miles an hour. I need the reminder that I am entrusted with caring for our volunteers, people who are more than their tasks. They are real people with real stories. We need to pay attention to the stories they’re telling.
In the busyness of work, it’s easy to forget the basics:
Use people’s names. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like having someone use his name. When you use a person’s name when you address him, you show that you value him beyond his work.
Look people in the eyes. In our busy world, it’s easy to communicate with someone without ever looking at her. Weekends are busy. We pass on information without pausing to look. This simple gesture will demonstrate that she is important.
Use the phone. E-mail is convenient. However, every so often, take the time to call your volunteers. This will give you a chance to find out how they’re doing beyond simple information sharing.
Create a care structure. You may have so many volunteers that this seems impossible. If that is the case, make sure you have someone caring for your volunteers. Replicate yourself and pour into leaders who in turn will care for another group of people. No one should be out there serving on their own.
Please comment below and let us know how you’re making sure that you hear the story told on your volunteers’ faces.