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How To Lose Your Volunteers in 25 Days

Christiaan VandenHeuvel

Day 8:
Make bait-and-switch the norm.
Your standard practice must be to recruit volunteers for one job and then slip them into another role once you have their commitment. This method really is Old Faithful when it comes to running off volunteers. Talk up how a position is right up someone's alley, then place him in a different area. Your most effective route with this is to carefully place people in areas that are either too easy (holding a sign in the lobby announcing the dates of VBS) or too difficult (running the sound-and-video booth in kids church with no training). Let your hapless volunteer know that this is a permanent move. The new position is hers. For. Ever.

Day 9:
Ensure a constant supply shortage.
Little frustrates a volunteer more than when the most basic supplies are nowhere to be had. Find a way to misplace all the pens and pencils in the ministry. Deliberately fail to stock rooms with the essential extras called for in the curriculum. If you really want to frustrate your volunteers, leave handy restock forms in the room ("My Room Is Missing...."), and then never do anything with the forms volunteers turn in-except to toss them in the trash in a highly visible location. Guaranteed success!

Day 10:
Make volunteers do their own setup.
It's hard enough to find volunteers to actually minister to kids, let alone find a family or two that can come in 45 minutes before services to ensure chairs, tables, and other items are arranged in the right place. So tell volunteers it's all up to them to set up their room before kids arrive. Even better, recruit a handful of teenagers to come in the night before and stash tables and chairs in other rooms around the church. Think of it as a game of Hide-and-Seek.

Day 11:
Switch curriculum often and unexpectedly.
Volunteers love consistency. For some kooky reason, they strive to do better and better each week by really getting to know the curriculum. To drive them away in droves, announce a curriculum change no less than once a month. Surf the Internet and download the cool sample lessons from each curriculum publisher on the market. Try a different one each week!

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