Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I lead a very volunteer intensive organization. I started as a volunteer at the beginning of PeeWee Ministry and now I lead almost 200 volunteers. It has been a while since I was a volunteer. Today, I stepped out and volunteered in the community in a position I am very passionate about and have wanted to do for a long time. Unfortunately, the horrible experience I had today as a volunteer almost totally overshadowed the joy of serving in my passion. Let me explain:
  • I left feeling disrespected........ My contact was 30 min. late for our meeting, and I was asked to wait 3-4 times during the morning.
  • I left feeling unnecessary.......... No one called me for over 6 weeks. No one apologized or made excuses, but they admitted that they hadn't called me back.
  • I left feeling unwanted....... Instead of trying to help me today and give me customer service, I kept hearing how someone else had dropped a ball and so they weren't ready for me.
  • I left feeling unimportant........ A couple of times I was placed in the middle of other volunteers that were having personal conversations. No one acknowledged my presence.
  • I left feeling awkward, embarrassed, dumb....... No one trained me. I showed up today and was thrown into a situation of performing a task I had never done before without any instruction. My contact was there to watch me and tell me what I did wrong - how awkward!

The organization is a good one. The role is great. And I'm not quitting!! This is what I need to do and I enjoyed it - in spite of the feelings above! But I learned some important lessons and I want to make sure that PeeWee Ministry volunteers never feel any of the things above.

  • Returning phone calls promptly is not only an absolute but just good manners.
  • When we make an appointment with a volunteer we need to be there early and prepared to help them be the best volunteer they can be.
  • Good Customer Service is a must.
  • We need to remember to introduce new people to our friends and not be cliquish.
  • We need to refine and polish our volunteer training so that they are successful from day one.

We are not a perfect ministry. We make mistakes. But these are values we hold high and after experiencing the lack of them........I'm even more sold on their importance! We should never let our lack of preparation and manners squelch a passionate volunteer. You see volunteering doesn't just help PeeWee Ministry, but our volunteers are also growing in their faith while they serve God in PeeWeeVille. What an awesome, beautiful responsibility ............. how amazing that God chose me with all my faults to help others grow...........

Thank you for today God........... let me remember this experience forever........... make me better because of it. And forgive me for the times I have not led like you would lead.


Tracie said...

I think we've all had ackward moments when we are out of our comfort zone...and when we look at things for the "what's in it for me" aspect. But when we look at things (regardless of how ackward/uncomfortable they are) through the people/children-we-are -helping's eyes all those feelings will disappear.

I know I've been bitten with the "why bother" bug in some volunteering jobs but when I have kids/people RUN to hug me--I know I'm important and loved.

I know the children you helped were forever touched by your love and generousity.

Kendra said...

Thank you Lisa for the reminders. Hope your next volunteer time goes better.

TG said...

i had a similar experience volunteering at a local organization. so frustrating! very important to make people feel needed or why bother asking for people to serve?? it's always good to have these sort of experiences as they make you more aware and appreciative!

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