If you run a nonprofit, religious organization, or community movement, volunteers are an essential part of your success. That’s why it’s important for you to communicate with your volunteers effectively and make them feel valued and appreciated.
Unfortunately, organizations often fail to effectively communicate with their volunteers, and there are several reasons for this. It’s important to provide enough time for one-on-one conversations and offer resources for feedback. When you don’t communicate effectively, you’re increasing the chances of misunderstandings. Poor communication will also make your volunteers unhappy, and some people may even stop volunteering for your organization.
Communicating effectively, especially when you have a large group of volunteers in various areas, isn’t always an easy task. Keep these tips in mind to get the right messages across to your volunteers in a creative way.
Take Time to Get to Know Your Volunteers
It’s essential that you get to know your volunteers. This will let you know what they get excited about, their passions, and their unique talents. You may want to host a live or virtual orientation session so you can introduce your volunteers to your staff so your team can get to know them as well. It’s also a good idea to send a survey to your volunteers every few months. This is ideal if your business or organization is large and you want to make sure you’re reaching every volunteer.
To become more familiar with your volunteers, you can ask your volunteers about their motivation to volunteer. Ask the volunteers why they selected your organization as well. This allows you to find the best ways you can utilize the talents and skills of your volunteers to keep them interested and better your organization.
Be Detailed and Avoid Jargon
Unless you’re recruiting volunteers who are very skilled in the area they’re volunteering in, don’t use jargon that is specific to your company. Volunteers who don’t have much experience in your company’s industry or mission. This will likely confuse your new volunteers, so be sure to keep it simple so your volunteers know exactly what you need from them.
Make sure you’re detailed when it comes to discussing the role you want volunteers to play in your company. Talk about the challenges they may face and how you’d like them to deal with these obstacles. For instance, if you want volunteers to go door-to-door or call people in the community for a fundraising event, prepare volunteers for the fact that they may encounter rude or disinterested people.
Host Group Events
It’s important to organize group events for your volunteers to give them a chance to interact and let them know you appreciate the hard work they do. Dinners, picnics, and online forums can improve volunteer engagement and help renew your volunteers’ sense of purpose. You can also work with the marketing team to give gifts to your volunteers, like hats, t-shirts, or mugs, to continue motivating your team.
Let Your Volunteers Voice Their Opinions
You should give your volunteers a chance to let you know their concerns and ask questions. Opening the floor to your volunteers to provide suggestions sends the message that you value the creativity and expertise of your volunteers. Make sure your team knows they can always contact you if they’re not clear on a policy. Ask your staff members to check on volunteers regularly to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Use Various Methods of Communication
Mass text messaging, peer-to-peer text messaging, phone calls, emails, and social media are some of the methods you can use to send important messages to your volunteers. Determine the best communication plan for your organization will help you decide how to get important messages out to your volunteers.
For instance, if you help people with natural disasters and need to get the word out to your volunteers to provide assistance, peer-to-peer texting is best, because you can send out a message quickly to see of volunteers can help with a last-minute event. However, if you need to have a serious discussion, it may be best to have a FaceTime conversation so you can speak to the volunteer “in person.”
Since you have all these resources available to you, it’s easier to build a community of volunteers who are committed to the cause and willing to continue helping you bring your vision to life.