Qualities of a Great Volunteer
Unless you end up with some miraculous funding right off the bat, the work that you do is going to be largely volunteer driven. In fact, chances are, you are probably a volunteer just as I was for the first several years after the inception of TreasuresJ
In a world where people are compensated with money for most of the “work” they do, volunteers are a special breed. Some volunteers are drawn to this work as a result of their own brokenness, and often are attempting to work through some of their issues through serving with you. Others have learned the value of service somewhere along the way and find themselves connected to the vision.
People who come from brokenness and allow God to do a healing work in them often have a great sense of compassion and empathy because they have experienced God in their pain. Actually, that is probably most of us in one way or another.
Other volunteers may have come from healthier families and churches and have a desire to live an other-centered, purpose-driven life and find service a great way to do this.
Over the years, I have seen dozens and dozens, if not hundreds, of volunteers come and go and still some have stayed in this for the long haul. Regardless of what draws them to this type of ministry, these are some of the qualities I look for in them.
Qualities of a Great Volunteer
1. Internalizes the vision- You can see this in their actions and hear it in their words. Just listen to them talk about the ministry with someone else. You can hear whether or not they have captured and internalized the vision just by listening to how they communicate to other people about it. For example, when they go to a club and aren’t allowed to hand deliver the gifts, to they communicate with disappointment and frustration, or do they show you with their words that they understand every gift left at the club is a seed sown and an opportunity for God to work.
2. Is wholly committed to relationship with God- You can see this in the way they share stories about their lives (perhaps during check-in if you do this). We all go through hard times, but when they talk about difficulties they are facing, do you sense that they are seeking His perspective and inviting Him into their challenges?
3. Is planted in the local church- You know I had to squeeze this in there somewhereJ But seriously, someone who is planted in the church is more likely to value community, understand the spiritual framework of leadership, and is committed to growing in their walk with God.
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,
Serves unto God. Psalm 92:12-14
4. Is committed to preserving unity on the team- Part of this is adhering to a “no tolerance policy” on gossip. You know the saying, “If they gossip to you, they will most likely gossip about you”. This also means having eyes for each other and giving each other the benefit of the doubt.
For example, if one of the girls I am caring for starts complaining to me that such and such volunteer didn’t call her back or did xyz, the non-unifying response would sound like this: “I can’t believe that she didn’t call you. That is horrible! I am going to have to have a talk with her about that.”
On the contrary, a unifying response would look like this: “Hmmm. That is interesting, I am sorry to hear that. She is usually pretty good about xyz. I wonder if she got your message. Let me check with her and see what is going on.”
You will especially appreciate the unifying response when you are the one the person is complaining about!
5. Understands the spiritual framework of leadership– You are human. You are going to make mistakes and you are probably going to disappoint your volunteers along with way. That’s just the truth. Still, in all of your humanity, God has called you to lead and steward this ministry.
The greatest volunteers understand the spiritual framework of leadership. This means they remain submitted to your leadership and the vision you are stewarding because they understand that they are submitting not because you are perfect, or because you are always going to get it right, but because just as God has called you to lead this thing. In the same vein, they are volunteering because God has called them to serve.
I have had conversations with some of my volunteers and leaders along the way where I told them, “Look, chances are, I am going to let you down. And I am probably not going to do things “right” all of the time. But if God has called you to serve here you can trust Him in that. Ultimately, you are not putting your trust in me and my leadership, but in God, His call, and that He is sovereign in all of this.”
Volunteers who get this trust in the spiritual framework of leadership. (In Search of Timothy is a great book on this topic).
When I see these qualities operating in a volunteer, I know that I have the makings of a GREAT volunteer and potentially a great leader.
Harmony (Dust) Grillo
Harmony Dust founded Treasures in 2003 while completing a Master’s in Social Welfare at UCLA. To date, she has trained outreach leaders that have gone on to establish more than 97 sex industry outreaches on 5 continents. She has been featured in various media sources, including Glamour Magazine, The Dr. Drew Show, and The Tyra Banks Show. She is a sought after speaker and her memoir, Scars & Stilettos, gives an account of the journey of going from working in strip clubs, to leading an organization that reaches women in the sex industry on a global scale.