Four Ways to Communicate Better With Volunteers

Have you ever sent an email to those who serve in your church and wondered how effective it was?
Most mass email communications are at their best with a 20-30% open rate.
You’ve probably noticed that emails sent through your Church Management Software (CMS) aren’t always opened, and that’s if they are even received without getting flagged as spam.
While there’s a place for CMS emails, there are also other tools that can help you engage with volunteers in ways that are more likely to reach them.
It may be time for your church to try a fresh way to communicate with volunteers.

Four tools to better communicate with church volunteers.

1. Text Messaging Services

A Dynmark research report found that text messages have a final read rate of 98%, and 90% of text messages are read within the first three seconds of being received.
Many people spend a lot of time on their smartphones throughout the day, making these devices an excellent way to reach out to volunteers in your church. Tools like Flocknote, Text In Church, Pastors Line, and SlickText allow you to send texts to volunteers quickly and easily.
You can use text messaging to remind volunteers about important meetings, alert them of schedule changes, or provide urgent inclement weather updates.
Many text messaging services also have the ability to integrate with other tools that your church may already be using, such as Church Community Builder or MailChimp.

2. GroupMe App

If you did a survey of the teenagers and young adults in your church, most of them have heard of the GroupMe app and are already using it to chat with groups of friends.
It’s a free smartphone app that allows people with various types of smartphones to communicate in one place. You can add events to the GroupMe calendar and set reminders. And for those who can’t or don’t want to download the app, it even works with normal SMS text messaging.
GroupMe is a great tool to try with a small group of volunteers, such as study groups or youth leaders.

3. Facebook Group

To communicate with your church’s volunteers, meet them where they already are—on Facebook! Set up a private Facebook Group for volunteers and add people to it using their Facebook profiles.
Volunteers will get a Facebook notification when a new message is posted into the group. It’s a great way to create personal engagement within the group of volunteers.
A few creative uses:

  • Highlight a volunteer of the week
  • Share encouraging testimonies
  • Give birthday shout-outs
  • Post photos from volunteer gatherings
  • Ask engaging questions such as, “What was your favorite moment with the students this week?” or “Which new songs do you think we should learn and introduce to the congregation next?”

You could also provide volunteers with another opportunity to serve by giving a few of them the responsibility of managing and moderating the group.

4. E-Newsletters

Use a tool such as MailChimp, Vertical Response, or Constant Contact to create an email newsletter for specific volunteer groups that is separate from the church-wide newsletter.
You can link to where volunteers can sign up for meetings or to serve at events while also using the e-newsletter as an opportunity to share the impact of that particular ministry and have some fun highlighting stories and volunteers.
For example, send a bi-weekly e-newsletter to volunteers in the children’s ministry that includes a special story from a child or parent and a section to recognize a volunteer who recently did something special to help out.
Any of these resources are a great start to better communication with your church’s volunteers. Evaluate your volunteer teams and current communication needs to decide where text messaging, GroupMe, Facebook groups, or e-newsletters would be most helpful in your church. A fresh, effective way to communicate not only makes sure that important messages get to volunteers, but will also keep them involved and engaged.


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