I envy people who lead volunteers. You know why? Because they buy into the vision; it’s the only reason unpaid workers work.
It’s true that volunteers can cause a leader a lot of headaches. You can’t discipline them (How? Pay cut? Suspension?) and they’re really hard to fire. And they’re prone to quit when things don’t go their way.
But volunteers have the best possible attribute of a team member: They believe in what you’re doing. They’re there out of love and conviction; they’re working from the heart. Motivating volunteers is so easy a caveman can do it.
So here’s one of the most challenging tests of your leadership: Would your team volunteer to work for you? Take the pay question out of it; if they could choose any boss and any department in the company, would they choose yours? If you asked which team did the most meaningful work, would they say yours?
The work your team does is important. Do they know it? Do they believe it? If not, it’s on you. Get out there and paint the vision in such bright colors they can’t miss it.