Now is the Time to Prep for Summer
As this post goes live, all of the NSYNC prophecies have come true. May is here, which means summer is just around the corner. And summer time brings vacation time, especially for your volunteers.
Cards on the table: I have a love / hate relationship with volunteer vacation schedules. Love, because we should be encouraging and championing our vols to take time off. Even if they’re not heading to the beach or Magic Kingdom, we need to make sure they have occasional times when they can just “show up” and not be on the schedule.
But hate, because volunteer vacations tend to be a surprise. Who among us hasn’t received an early Sunday text that reads something like this:
Hey bro. Wanted you to know that I’m not going to be there to serve on parking this morning. I woke up today, and I was inexplicably in North Myrtle Beach at my in-law’s condo. I know, right? It was a huge surprise to me as well.
I kid, but that’s what it can feel like some summer Sundays.
So let’s commit right now, together, here at the unofficial start of the summer season, that we’re not gonna let beach vacations sneak up on us. Here are five ways to do just that:
- Send out a reminder this week. While it’s fresh on your mind, shoot an email to all volunteers, asking them to give you their vacation dates that they already know about. Start a master spreadsheet with all “out” dates, so you’ll know where your big gaps are.
- Send out a reminder monthly through August. At the top of each month, ping them to ask again. See what dates have changed and which have been added. Account for those semi-last-minute jaunts to the mountains.
- Talk it up weekly. Take advantage of your pre-service huddle or Volunteer Headquarters to remind them of your need to know. And don’t just try to remember in the moment…write it down.
- Recruit your sub team. We all have those folks who have told us they’re interested in serving, but not on the regular. Or people who have rotated off the team for a time, but might be interested in filling in. Start asking now about dates they might be willing to jump back in the saddle, and fill those gaps. (Oh, and don’t let your vacationing vols off the hook: encourage them to help find their own subs.)
- Don’t take your foot off the gas. Summertime feels like an easy time to get lazy with guest services. But I’ve noticed that we tend to see an uptick in new folks during the hot months. After all, some are on vacation from their churches, or some are moving to town ahead of the new school year. Let’s not coast until Labor Day. [related post: Hospitality Can’t Take a Vacation]
How are you prepping for summertime?