5 Ways To Effectively Communicate With Volunteers

We live in an age of information and the flow of digital transformation is rapid and increasing. How you communicate is paramount to the success of your organisation. Here are some tips on how to connect the different stakeholders, staff and volunteers in the operations of your nonprofit.


Why is effective communication important in a non-profit?

Nonprofits are essentially many people with one common goal. They fight the same cause. However, the coordination and execution of the common cause can become cumbersome. The momentum and the effectivity of a nonprofit will decrease when communication is not done effectively.

Here are 5 ways in which your nonprofit can secure more effective communication with volunteers.

1.     Communication With Purpose

All nonprofits have a purpose. Make sure your organisation’s purpose is promoted whenever you communicate anything. Whether it is a simple note about an upcoming workshop or the strategy behind the latest campaign – use content that communicates your organisation’s purpose.

Noise Leads To Confusion

Is your nonprofit’s vision clear? We follow communication we can understand. This is why it is so important to have a clear-cut organisational vision and mandate. It should be clear, written down, and put on display for all who come in contact with your nonprofit. Any communication contrary to the common cause or vision will dilute the overall effectivity of the nonprofit.

Speak The Purpose

The people who drive your marketing and communication should not only know the purpose by heart. They must live it. They are after all the shapers of the organisation’s voice. Confused employees will lead to confused messaging. This, in turn, will lead to confused volunteers. 

If you don’t have your purpose and vision clarified yet, set some time aside to get it down so your volunteers can run with it. Once completed, make sure it is communicated properly to all who fight in the cause. There are great resources to aid you in establishing a vision and mandate, so look for tools in the forms of:

  • Seminars/workshops
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs
  • Books
  • Audios

2.     Make It Accessible

The essence of effective communication lies within it’s delivery. Communication should be always delivered in a easily digestable and simple manner.

Simplicity Eases Execution

Humans are inherently always busy and i’m sure few people will argue this! We tend to choose the path of least resistance. This means communication needs to happen in a way that is accessible and easy to digest. Depending on your audience, you need to make use of mediums of communication that are easy to use. For example if your organisation is made up of millennials, it is best to make sure the message fits on a smartphone screen.

Recognise that people are different

Context goes far to help create understanding in life. That is why you need to develop communication tools that can function in any context. For internal communication you might find tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams and a full suite like Microsoft 365 to be effective. But when recruiting new volunteers, you may find flyers, banners and other physical forms of communication to yield better results.

Your communication strategy needs to be versatile enough to hold up in any situation. There are so many different smart devices and platforms like Microsoft 365 to support your communication strategy. This will ease collaboration with volunteers. It’s important to make sure the information you are sharing is compatible with the end user’s devices and platforms. 

3.     Consistency Leads To Trust

Every organisation relies heavily on trust, especially nonprofit’s. Nonprofits generally drive causes that operate on a high level of trust and integrity. Maintaining that trust will needs consistency.

Maintain Your Identity

This might be loosely connected to your purpose. However, maintain consistency in the voice of the nonprofit. Develop a brand look and feel. Choose color schemes that fit your branding. Then stick to it.

How often have we seen companies lose public interest due to terrible rebranding? Your volunteers will trust the communication they know and expect. Consistent messaging will yield greater results.

4.     Make Communication Beneficial To Volunteers and Users

Communication should be beneficial to your volunteers. There are a few things as de-motivating as driving useless email campaigns. The point of communication is to yield a result, and results will be evident if the information being shared is valuable.

Teaching Sells

Studies prove that using teaching as a way of selling leads to a higher turnover rate. Educating your volunteers in the process of communication will not only increase their effectivity, it may lead to more volunteers. People share whatever they value as beneficial.

Make sure your communication is teaching your audience to be better at everyday life. It may lead to volunteers recruiting more volunteers via word of mouth. Word of mouth is an extremely powerful tool.

5.     Know Your Audience

Don’t say it like you want to. Say it like your audience will understand it. Too often leaders think a clear image in their mind will automatically lead to a clear message. The effectivity of communication is determined by the receptiveness of the audience. For example, don’t use English as your main language of communication in a French community of volunteers!

Measure It, Then Improve Take action 

Use mediums of communication which can be tracked and measured. By measuring the traction of different messaging, you will be able to understand the needs of your volunteers and your bigger audience. This enables you to adapt your communication to yield even greater results.

Take action

Nonprofits will remain as long as people will exist. As long as people remain, confusion will be an obstacle. Applying these 5 tips for effective communication with volunteers will help you to remove confusion, establish effective communication and do your cause the justice it deserves.


If you need help applying tips like these, check out our eBook to discover how you can transform your nonprofit organisation volunteer effort into a modern workplace.


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Posted by Lachie Dixon

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