Communicating with your volunteers


Seven simple steps you can take to make sure you are communicating so that your volunteers will listen

  1. Understand your audience. Find out who they are, how busy their lives are, when they are busiest, when and where do they work, any caring responsibilities, what skills they have, what skills don't they have. Think about how you can frame your volunteering offer so that it doesn't clash with their lifestyles but compliments it. As an example think about how you can make your volunteering at key transition points in your volunteers lives: retirement, children leaving home, starting a family? What can your club do to help make volunteering fit: online meetings instead of face to face; job sharing; is some of your volunteering a nice to have rather than a must have?
  2. Ask your volunteers how they would like to be communicated with and how often.
  3. Understand why and what you are communicating - have clear call to actions in your communications. Don't make you volunteers think about what you are asking of them.
  4. Think about the tone of voice  – A positive upbeat enthusiastic tone can often be very effective in galvanising enthusiastic volunteers.
  5. How often should you be communicating? This very much depends on your club set up but a good place to start is to understand your own limitations. If what is required is more than you can deliver, be honest and feed back to your volunteers and ask for help. Think about how you could divide up what is required, for example you could have a young member who would be happy to run your social media account.
  6. Create boundaries for you and/or your team to follow. Think of these as guard rails to keep your messaging succinct. If your messaging is about volunteering keep to that; thank last week’s volunteers; mention those volunteering next week; highlight any gaps you have available. Remember to add photos – even mundane photos of volunteers mowing the lawn or repairing a door are great motivational tools to get volunteers coming forward.
  7. Design your comms plan around what your volunteers want and what you can deliver