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Doers or Great Leaders…

14 Oct

The 80/20 Principal…great thoughts to keep in mind as your are leading a team or volunteers…not mine, but still great 🙂

In an organization with 100 people:

  • 20 people are doers.
  • With a leader.
  • 80 are hanging around watching, experimenting, consuming, or complaining.
  • When the 20 expand to 40, chances are there’s 200 now in the organization (or will be).
  • The 20 tend to get frustrated with the 80 for not doing anything and at times will tell them. (They should avoid that.)
  • The 80 will ride the coattails of the 20 and feel like they did it and even take credit for it.
  • This sometimes frustrates the 20. They should not be frustrated. They should just do.
  • Great leaders pour vision into the 20 while casting the net out to the 100.
  • Frustrated leaders spend a lot of time trying to get the 80 be part of the 20.
  • Of the 80, some will become doers as the organization grows.
  • The doers that simply do will some day realize there are people following them.
  • Some of the 80 will become part of the 20 with a simple personal invite.
  • A leader will be turned down 4 times for every yes. This does not bother great leaders. It frustrates others.
  • Frustrated leaders have the opportunity to be great leaders.
  1. When I’m hiring, I’m usually looking for leaders, not doers. I know if I find a great doer, I’ll get a bunch of stuff done. But if I find a great leader, he or she will find and lead many teams of doers and we will see the capacity and strength of the organization multiply.
  2. If I had an organization with 100 staff and 80 of them were hanging around watching, experimenting, consuming or complaining…I would fire the 80, give the 20 raises, and use the rest of the money to invest in growing the organization.

My PHENOMENAL Story 2011 Volunteers

11 Oct

It is never to late to thank volunteers…I hope:

I had the amazing privilege to co-lead the Wonderful Magical Surprise and Delight team of Story Chicago 2011, here are the people who made my job a walk in the park…

Taylor: The greatest Candy Man you could ask for. Taylor has such a servants heart, he is the one willing and ready to do anything…like wear this costume and be cheery all day 🙂 He also has great ideas, even if he had to pitch it to me 3 different times. Thanks for all your hard work Taylor, and also if you went to Story 2011…Taylor was one of the volunteers responsible for stuffing your amazing Nolan Bags with goodies.

Julie: Wow what can I say about Julie, When Julie is around you will never be in want. She was always asking how she could help and did everything with amazing detail. Thank you sweet Julie! I wish I had a better picture of Julie…but this is just like her…working. She was an amazing addition to our team serving as a Cigarette Girl.


Bryce: The greatest Candy Man you could ask for…wait have I said that already 🙂 Bryce added his own flare to the Candy Man costume on the 2nd day. He got the pleasure of handing out the nostalgic Yoo Hoo drinks and did it with humor and grace…everybody was so happy to see him…or at least what was in his hand. Thanks Bryce for bringing your personality to our team.

Kristen: This girl LOVED dressing up and giving things away…what a great find! She selflessly served as Cigarette Girl both days of the conference. People by the 2nd day were on the hunt for her, to see what fun goodies she would be giving out. Super fun girl to be around…So glad we snatched her up on our team. She wants to work for Oprah’s New Network…got any connections?

The Trio: James, Matt, and Paul…These guys served their hearts out on the registration team, THEN… came and completed the Surprise & Delight team. These guys were on it before it was even a though in my head. They had a blast hand delivering Hacky Sacks to unsuspecting attendees. I told them to have fun with it and be creative so…instead of just handing someone a hacky sack, they asked them to at least hacky it 3 times before it was theirs. I had so much fun watching people try, try, and try again. They were so determined and laughing, just having a good time…exactly what we were going for. We couldn’t have done it without you guys!!

I have one more thing to say about Paul in particular. Often in my head I would have the thought “I need someone to….” I would only have to turn around and with out fail there was Paul ready and willing to do whatever it was I needed. Thank you Paul for your servants heart!

Josh: Oh Josh…words can’t describe and I was hoping videos could but even they don’t compete with the memory of you I have in my head. We called Josh our “Barker” This video shows a little taste of what a break session was like…full of excitement, including a magician and if you listen you hear the melodious soundings of Josh Wilis.

This is Josh getting in to his role of photographer during one of the session breaks

Blue: So fun so creative…I’m sure she was partly the master mind behind this surprise give away that had the attendees getting animated and creative with stories about nightmares. Sadly the guy pictured did not win…you should have seen the other guy! Blue was so sweet to have around!

Ashley: Anyone of you who enjoyed Chick-Fil-A for breakfast can thank Ashley for that! She traversed the treacherous road of Chicago to bring it to you…nice and hot.Thank you for your time and dedication Ashley!

Janae: (left) Came in to help us on the second day of the conference and gave an extra boost of energy and enthusiasm to the team. Janae had a blast as a Cigarette Girl and everyone loved her…chasing her down to get some cotton candy. We couldn’t have done it without you, Thanks Janae!

Michaja Prendergast: My Co-Leader…what a creative mind on this girl.

Not only is she a Pediatric Occupational Therapist but can plan, organize, and recruit for one dang good conference. Michaja handled the “live entertainment” side of the Surprise and Delight team. She got a Statue Artist, an Improv group, numerous musicians, a magician, and a dance troupe to bring “surprising entertainment” to the event. Loved! working with her…I think we made a good team. We set up a bubble machine to elevate spirits upon leaving Story for the last time…her is Michaja enjoying them, as well as a video of the dance troope she recruited to for us:

I had a blast at Story…as I know everyone did. Can’t wait till next year!

A Volunteer’s Plea

16 Dec

A Volunteer’s Plea

1. Tell me clearly what you expect of me

2. Give me the opportunity and resources to preform.

3. Let me know how I am doing.

4. Provide me with guidance, support, and training when I need it.

5. Acknowledge and praise my service accordingly.

Creating Your Own Frustrations?

16 Dec

Creating Your Own Frustrations?

Leaders, Are you the source to some of your own frustrations toward your volunteers?

While on church staff, there were times I was leading 3 or 4 different volunteer teams. Now, we know there is nothing better than a responsible, dedicated volunteer, Thank God for them. The kind of volunteer you trust to be there on time, who feels ownership over their area, and they do it well. One you don’t have to come behind, constantly adjusting and fixing things, not like the one you have to practically stalk to get an answer from during the week, or the one who constantly “calls in” the morning of…

I know lots of leaders who are frustrated with their volunteers for various reasons, 8 out of 10 times it is due to sloppy leadership. I got tons of examples that I will share throughout this series but here is one most leaders can identify with in some way. What is that one thing you always have to double-check or fix on/after Sunday because a volunteer did it incorrectly?


At church we rented the buildings we used on Sunday, which meant we setup all of our signs, tables, stage, ect… on Sunday morning. I had one volunteer team whose purpose was to setup signs, tables, offering baskets, and curtains. Almost every week, on my “patrol” walk I would notice one specific sign out of place, and move it to where it “should” be. Not a big deal, but when you do it every week… I started to notice myself getting frustrated.

What are my options here? Continue to move it every week and think about what a sloppy volunteer I have, they can’t even put the sign in the right spot. Until finally you break and let all your frustrations out on them, all of which they had no idea about, or just hold it all in and remain annoyed.

Maybe your issue isn’t signs, maybe it’s the way offering is counted, the way the coffee is made, or the way kids are being checked in. As long as you are there to fix it…no problem right?. So what happens when you aren’t there? You need to create a system that is independent of you, we will talk about this more in another section, but who is YOUR backup?

OR Talk to your volunteer…ask questions. Depending on who trained them, something could have gotten lost in translation. Is there a reason why they put the sign there every week, or why they count offering a certain way? You never know, they may have a good reason why it goes better somewhere else, after all they see it EVERY week. In most cases, they just didn’t know.

Here is where you help them gain a sense of ownership…by explaining to them why, in my case, the sign goes there. They don’t know that you spent hours walking the halls, strategically thinking through where each sign should go. What I didn’t mention before is if our sign is placed correctly it catches people exiting 2 different doors. Where my volunteer was putting it, it was only visible to the people exiting one door. By explaining that, showing them what it looks like as a guest, who doesn’t know where to go, they were able to understand why and remember because they have experienced it.

My point is…can you save yourself a headache, and an extra thing to do on Sunday, or a frustration just by simply having a conversation with a volunteer? No only are you not annoyed, but they now fell more connected to their role.  If you continue to fix it yourself because that is easier than saying something…You create your own reality.

These are just my takes on volunteers and leading teams. Things that have worked and have not worked for me. Love you hear your feedback and experiences in leading or being a volunteer.