Ask your volunteers how they prefer to receive communication from your organization, and you will likely get a variety of answers. But you’ll also get some appreciation. Being flexible and putting your volunteers’ needs first is vital to keeping them around. One-sided communication definitely does not fit all these days.
With Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, as well email, instant messaging and texting, you can communicate with all of your volunteers faster than ever–and in the way they prefer. But check in often—it can change from one day to the next! The folks who faithfully checked their home answering machines might not even have a home phone anymore. The frequent emailers have turned to Facebook or Twitter to keep up with their circles of friends, and might now consider email an inconvenience.
If you are not up to speed on all the Social Media networks, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, your volunteers are—so ask one to help set up a page for your organization. With a sentence or two, you can communicate to everyone at once, and instantly receive their feedback, questions, and suggestions. Volunteers can interact and create a community through these websites, enhancing the bond they feel for your organization, while they spread the word about your cause.
Social Media Tips for Volunteer Organizations:
• A Facebook page is a must have for any charitable organization.
• Gather cell phone numbers for all your volunteers immediately, and input them into your phone. See if your phone can save groups of numbers together.
• To communicate quickly about meeting times or events, text or online messages can easily be sent to groups. Flood-fighting volunteers in Fargo, ND used Facebook extensively just last week, keeping in touch and spreading the need for help.
• Twitter is the latest way for groups to communicate quickly and easily.
• Remember that many of your volunteers have web-enabled mobile devices (also known as cell phones), so they don’t have to be in front of their computers to receive your communication.
Volunteering is about community building—and so are the new Social Media sites. Become familiar with them and how they work, and you’ll become more valuable to your volunteers!
Remember that proper volunteer screening will help keep your organization and clients safe.