Two weeks ago, I wrote about three warning signs that your volunteer is a wrong fit. I received some feedback from some of you and have determined that there is another three that we need to look for. If I tried, I’m sure the list could go on forever, but we’ll stop after these next three signs.
1. You spend more energy on them than other volunteers.
This is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, a volunteer is new. When a volunteer is new, I naturally need to spend more time and energy on them to train and equip them. But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about a volunteer that I seem to be spending a lot of energy on because I worry about what they are thinking or feeling, how they are going to react to a situation or a decision, and I never know if they like or dislike the ministry. You’ve had this experience. You receive an email from them and you roll your eyes before you even read it. You put off responding to their email or phone call. You go to bed at night thinking about this volunteer and wondering what you are going to do. Hence, you do not get a good night sleep. Sometimes this is an attitude issue on my part and I always have to check that. But sometimes, this is also a volunteer who is a wrong fit.
2. Your volunteer breaks a ministry rule and intentionally hides it from you.
This is the worst feeling. Here I am going along with a volunteer who I think is great! Then, they do something stupid. Okay, it’s one thing to do something stupid and learn from that mistake, but it is a whole other thing when they try to hide it from you. I had an experience where I was taking some young adults as chaperones on an extended trip with youth. During one of the pit stops, a couple of the young adults decided to take some shots… of alcohol! I didn’t find out about this until a few years later. I was so disappointed in them. Was that a stupid mistake for them to make? Yes. Were they right to hide it from me? No. Of course, they knew that if they told me that they would not be able to continue as a volunteer. Drinking while volunteering is a big mistake. But small mistakes need to be addressed and dealt with right away and not hidden from you.
3. Your volunteer does not take responsibility when they do not follow through.
I’m discovering, as I get older, I have less patience for this type of attitude. As mentioned above, we all make mistakes. The important thing is that we admit them and learn from them. However, if a volunteer doesn’t follow through and blames a situation or person for it, they are not taking responsibility for their lives and are not likely to learn from their experiences. This is an attitude issue and it needs to change, or else they are likely to always blame the circumstances when they fail to follow through on ministry tasks.
For all of these warning signs, I address the sign with the volunteer before I dismiss them from ministry. All of our volunteers need a fair chance to make corrections to their attitude or behavior.
Do you have any more warning signs that your volunteer might be a wrong fit?