Phone boothIn children’s ministry, communication with your volunteers is crucial. If you do not have a proven, reliable way to contact your volunteers, eventually something will go awry. Perhaps you have tried one method and it is not consistently working for you. Don’t give up! Here are 7 methods you can use to contact your volunteers on a regular basis. Some of these may be obvious to you, but keep reading to find out why knowing the pros and cons of each are important.

Email

The easiest and least expensive way to communicate to your volunteers is via email. If you have not done so already, generate an email list of all of your volunteers and store them on your computer. When you need to send that last-minute message to them, email is a great way to do it!

Pros: Fast, Free, Easy to use, Message can be as long or short as you want

Cons: Everyone may not check their email, You have to keep an updated email address list

Text Messaging

Text messaging is a quick and convenient way to make sure all of your volunteers are notified of any information you wish to give them. Type out a text, plug-in their phone numbers, hit send and you’re good to go! According to txtin.com, 97% of text messages are read and 90% are read within the first four minutes they are sent!

Pros: Fast, Easy, Most people will read your message

Cons: You must have a text messaging plan, All of your volunteers may not have a text messaging plan, Messages cannot be very long, You must keep phone numbers updated

Social Media

Social media is a free and easy way to communicate to your volunteers. Opening a Twitter account, Facebook page, or Facebook group can be very effective when sending quick reminders and messages to everyone.

Pros: Fast, Easy, Free

Cons: Not everyone may be using social media, If they do not log-on they will not see the message, Messages may be displayed for public viewing

Church Publications

Most churches have a bulletin, newsletter, or some other form of mass communication that is sent out weekly or monthly. Utilize these already existing publications to communicate upcoming events and meetings with your volunteers.

Pros: Free (already being paid from another budget area), Many volunteers may regularly read this publication

Cons: Some volunteers may not read this publication, Generally you cannot use lengthy messages

Mail

Using traditional mail can be a very reliable way to send letters and information to volunteers. Everyone has a mailbox and almost every piece of mail is usually seen.

Pros: Effective, Your message is almost guaranteed to be seen

Cons: Cost of postage, Takes a few days to arrive, Takes time to prepare envelopes, Must keep up-to-date addresses

Face-to-Face

Face-to-Face is obviously the best way to communicate with your volunteers if you want a guarantee that they receive the information. Not only does it build relationships between you and your workers, but it also allows them to give you instant feedback to whatever you are communicating to them.

Pros: Builds relationships, Very reliable, They can give you instant feedback

Cons: Takes more time to speak with every volunteer, You must wait until you see them to communicate your message

Phone

The phone is an easy and cost-effective way to communicate with your leaders. Calling them is almost as meaningful as a face-to-face conversation, when it comes to building relationships and getting instant feedback.

Pros: Builds relationships, Very reliable, They can give you instant feedback

Cons: Takes time to call every volunteer, You must keep an updated list of phone numbers, They may not answer

 

Most of these were probably no brainers to you. However, the reason for listing them out in this fashion is it allows you to see that there is no one method of communication that is totally effective. No matter what church or organization you are in, to communicate efficiently with your volunteers you must choose a variety of these tools. The culture and age of your volunteers will probably determine which methods are best for your team. Through trial and error, decide which ways will connect with your volunteers best and continue to use them on a regular basis. Effective communication allows your team to run like a well-oiled machine. It keeps it healthy and going strong for the long haul.

Which methods have you found most effective in communicating with your volunteers? Which have been the least effective for you? Why? Have you thought of other ways to communicate with volunteers? Leave your thoughts in the comment section!

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GJ Farmer is a husband, a dad, the founder of ChildrensMinistryBlog.com, and is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church in Somerset, Kentucky. He has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Church Ministries and a Master’s degree in Children’s Ministry. He has also been fortunate to lead and teach groups at children’s ministry conferences and to have had some of his writing published. Apart from working with kids, he enjoys reading, performing magic tricks, playing video games, and University of Kentucky basketball.

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