Have you ever wished that training volunteers could be made easy? Yeah, me too.
Giving our volunteers the right information from the beginning is crucial. Start with the basics...
It’s probably one of the hardest tasks we have as technical leaders in our churches. This has always been one of the toughest areas in my ministry to succeed in, but I believe I have finally found a few ways to be successful in this area.
Start With the Basics
Volunteers need to know the basics of your systems and processes. For example, I like to start with training volunteers who are learning audio, to learn specifically about our microphones, the stage layout, channel input lists, and training them in our changeover processes. Once we have covered the basics, we can then move the volunteers onto the audio mixing console.
Remember the saying, “Knowledge is power”? This tells us that giving our volunteers the right information from the beginning is crucial. Start with the basics, and you will know when they are ready for more information.
Give Goals, Not Timelines
Everyone learns at their own pace, and it doesn’t benefit your volunteers to move on to the next level, if they truly aren’t ready. Some volunteers will be ready to move on faster than others. Let them. Holding volunteers back, only frustrates them and leads to the loss of volunteers.
It’s important to have goals set with your volunteers before the training process begins. This allows your volunteers to know what is expected of them to learn. If your front of house engineer cannot set the stage alone, then before he learns the mixer, this goal must be accomplished.
Some volunteers may learn these processes in a month, while others may take two months. This is OK, so move on with those who are ready, and keep teaching those who are not.
Keep It Simple
Have you ever heard the phrase “Keep it simple, stupid,” the good old KISS method? I have found that trying to overcomplicate my trainings, ends up leaving volunteers confused and frustrated. We forget sometimes that we are dealing with volunteers and not paid professionals who do this for a living.
In our lyric presentation software, we use an arrangement mode to help keep it simple for volunteers.
Our volunteers, while knowing how to add slides and edit slides, know that if changes are made to the weekend experience, they can add entire sections of songs from the arrangement mode. This way the volunteers are not spending long periods of time editing, and edits are just a click away. Keeping it simple will not only keep your volunteers happy, but will leave you with more time to help others who may need it.
These were all lessons I had to learn the hard way.
I have gained volunteers and lost volunteers due to training procedures, but with these steps in mind, I have had better volunteer experiences.
If you start with the basics, give clear goals, and keep it simple, you too should have better volunteer experiences.
In Memory of Andrew Stone