I run a program for kids at our church. It's a program we had when I was growing up. I love it -- it's near and dear to my heart -- and I'm thrilled that it's available for my kids to participate in. However, as with so many things at church, it's run by volunteers (heck, I'm a volunteer) and it seems like the majority of the world doesn't actually subscribe to the same ideas behind volunteering that I do.

So I bring to you, my list of Volunteering Dos and Don'ts


  • Look at the list of places you're needed and find one that fits with what you enjoy doing and have time for. 
  • Show up five minutes early. This, for volunteers, really is "on time."
  • Ask how you can help, even if it's outside of your "job description"
  • Commit. Understand the length of your volunteer position, what's required, and what breaks are available. Volunteers who only come when they "can" (i.e. feel like it) are less helpful than empty positions.
  • Be dependable. (See above)
  • Enjoy yourself. If you're having fun, that will shine through in your work. See the first bullet for step 1 in making this happen.
  • Grumble about how you could have done it better. There are most likely leadership positions available, if you want one, step up!
  • Grumble when the leader of the activity asks how things are going in your area. Just like with your job, most things have some kind of chain of command structure. I promise you, the leader isn't trying to micromanage or take over, they just need to know what's going on since the buck stops with them.
  • Be late.
  • Fail to notify your immediate supervisor and the person overall in charge if you aren't able to make it. Sooner is always better than later.
  • Feel entitled. At the end of the day, everyone is volunteering for the same purpose. Keep that purpose in mind as you work -- most volunteer opportunities embody the idea that it's not about you.

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