Volunteers are the mechanism that pumps life into your mission. But a volunteer is not an employee—and the ministry has a lot of flexibility when it comes to managing them.
The steps you take at each stage of the ministry/volunteer lifecycle help improve relations between the ministry and those people that freely give of their time and talent. Consistent application and documentation of your processes communicate overall expectations and work to decrease the ministry’s liability exposure.
The groundwork you do on the front end leads to a smoother selection process and helps ensure a successful ministry/volunteer relationship.
Write a description. While not necessary, it never hurts to have a description of the volunteer position. A position description helps ensure consistency, communicates expectations, and provides direction to the volunteer.
Standardize your screening process. It’s important to create a formalized process that’s consistent for all volunteer applicants. Use these four steps to make an informed decision:
It’s difficult to imagine problems when a new volunteer begins work. For most volunteers, the time they spend serving is just a small portion of their busy lives. Most volunteers serve well, while a few may struggle because of overcommitting or a mismatched position.
As a ministry, it’s tempting to be nice and offer grace when a volunteer’s behavior becomes an issue. That approach often creates bigger, and potentially costly, issues later. The kindest thing—and the thing that best protects the ministry—is to just be honest.
There are times when removing a volunteer from service is necessary. The reasons are numerous, but common ones include theft, lack of respect for procedures, or unreliable participation. Take the following steps to help produce a favorable outcome for the volunteer and protect the ministry:
Whether the volunteer left on good terms or was removed from service, you are not obligated to offer a reference at any point. However, it’s not a good idea to pick and choose the people for whom you’ll offer a reference.
For consistency, develop a policy and stick to it. If you decide to give references, they must be objectively factual. If your ministry intentionally provides inaccurate information, unfounded opinions, or shields a volunteer’s past acts of violence or sexual abuse, it could be sued for negligence, defamation, or violating privacy issues. To protect the ministry, require those seeking a reference to provide a liability release signed by the former volunteer.
Thank you for your interest in Brotherhood Mutual. We appreciate the opportunity to provide your church or other ministry with an insurance quote and will reply to your request as soon as possible.
Text to follow...