If you’re a pastor, no doubt you say “please” a lot.
“Would you please help out in the nursery?”
“Can you please consider switching services to make room for guests?”
“Please don’t tell anyone you saw me kicking my dog after that sermon on anger didn’t go so well.”
Pastors are good at “please.” I’ve learned to say it a lot myself, especially when the stakes are high and the needs are vast. But what we often fail in is the “thank you.” We reel ’em in, get ’em to do what we’ve asked, but neglect to follow up with our gratitude.
A thank you lets your volunteers know that their contribution was noticed, needed, and appreciated.
A thank you gives you an opportunity to give specific points of encouragement.
A thank you gives the volunteer an opportunity to give you feedback on their experience.
A thank you can be individual – a handwritten note, a phone call, a personal conversation, or it can be more corporate – a volunteer party, gift cards for your team, or the lead pastor’s encouragement from the stage.
A thank you is a no-brainer, and it’s vital for future involvement. That’s not the end-game of the thank you…in other words, you’re not using it as a manipulative tool to get more out of someone…but gratitude does tend to breed retention.
It’s a time-worn but true phrase: What gets rewarded gets repeated.* If you reward with gratitude, your volunteers will rise to the next occasion.
*I can’t remember who said that originally. John Maxwell? Andy Stanley? Ivan Pavlov? Someone please look that up and get back to me. Thank you.