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Communicating with Your Volunteers: A Handbook for Volunteer Leaders

Use the guide and templates for strategic volunteer communications

Free Communication Templates

Communicating with your volunteers is one of the most important roles of a volunteer leader. But strategic volunteer communication often gets overlooked, especially when volunteer leaders are pulled in too many directions. 

Creating a communication plan and getting smart tools in place can lead to better outcomes for nearly all aspects of your volunteer program. 

This complete guide will demystify and break down volunteer communications, and help you put together a winning plan. Plus, we’ll give you a head started with some templates and examples of effective volunteer communications. 

Volunteer Communications Basics

What is volunteer communications, anyway? Why does your organization need a volunteer communications plan? 

What Is Volunteer Communications?

Volunteer communications is the practice of reaching out to volunteers and potential volunteers to:

  • Educate them about your organization and its volunteer work
  • Active and inspire them to get involved
  • Learn more about them and their experiences
  • Take action and build lasting relationships with your organization

Successful volunteer programs typically communicate with their volunteers using multiple channels (such as email, a volunteer site, social media, live events, and print media).

Want a volunteer management tool that makes it easy to automate communications?

Learn more about how Get Connected simplifies volunteer management for organizations like yours

Request a Free Demo

What Is a Volunteer Communications Plan? 

A solid volunteer communication plan yields highly engaged volunteers. A communications plan or strategy helps volunteer programs develop a framework for intentional, consistent communication as each volunteer moves through the volunteer lifecycle

The volunteer communications process involves crafting a consistent message and voice and leveraging strategic communication channels. 

Why Is a Volunteer Communications Plan Important?

A well-planned communication strategy creates a cohesive volunteer experience through every stage of volunteer management. It ensures your volunteers know how to get involved, feel excited about volunteering with your organization, and understand their impact. 

Successful Volunteer Communications Plan Outcomes

A successful volunteer communication plan can: 

  • Boost recruitment and get more volunteers
  • Get to know your volunteers
  • Improve volunteer experiences
  • Keep programs running smoothly and improve the volunteer experience
  • Reduce volunteer turnover and improve volunteer retention
  • Save volunteer leaders' time
  • Increase organization-wide ROI 

Your Volunteer Communications Plan

Welcome to your Volunteer Communications Plan! In this section we’ll cover:

  • When to communicate with your volunteers
  • What types of information to share
  • How to communicate with volunteers

We’ll help you design a plan for communicating with your supporters during key stages of volunteer management, including:

Let’s get planning!

Communication for Volunteer Recruitment and Program Marketing

You’ll want to initiate communication with your audience before they join your organization. 

Remember, these people are not yet volunteering with you at this point, and you’re trying to catch their attention (which often means competing for their time). So, your communication for volunteer recruitment should focus on building awareness about your organization and selling your volunteer program as a place where they’ll want to be. 

Communication Goals

What should your communications accomplish during this stage of volunteer management? 

Your primary focus should be to:

  • Acquaint your audience with your organization
  • Inspire your audience to get involved
  • Invite your audience to learn more about your volunteer opportunities
  • Convert interested prospects into registered volunteers

What to Communicate

Share this information to market your volunteer program and recruit new volunteers

  • Organization’s mission and vision
  • Upcoming volunteer opportunities, needs, and events
  • How volunteers impact your community
  • Why your organization needs volunteers
  • Calls to action to get involved
  • Instructions for getting involved

You know what to share with your audience. But how do you communicate your messaging? 

How to Communicate

These are some of the most effective communication channels or methods for marketing your volunteer program and recruiting volunteers: 

Website and Blog

Your website is one of your organization’s hardest-working communication tools. Your website is where anyone can go to learn more about your organization, make a donation, get in touch, or get involved. 

The ultimate objective of recruitment is to communicate the kind of information that gets volunteers to sign-up. Your website is often the last stop your volunteers will make before signing up. 

Most of your communications should lead your audience back to your website. So, whether you’re posting on social media or distributing print materials, your communications should lead your audience back to your website. 

So, you’ll want to make sure your website is in tip-top shape! Here are a few tips for creating a website that converts: 

  • Make sure “Volunteer” is a bold, clear menu option. When users reach your website, they need to know where to go and how to get involved. 
  • Add calls to action throughout your website to volunteer. 
  • Optimize your website with these tips for a user-friendly website.
  • Ensure it’s easy to find and register for opportunities. Inefficient communication and lots of back and forth can result in lost interest and high volunteer turnover rates. 

Social Media

It’s no secret that social media is an invaluable marketing tool for any type of organization. But is your volunteer program leveraging the full potential of social media to recruit new support? 

Social media is a great way for people to get acquainted with your organization and get inspired. Plus, it makes sharing upcoming events and volunteer opportunities easy. So, the supporters that are already engaged can retweet and repost your messages while you watch your network grow. 

Here are a few examples of how you can use social media to grow your network:

  • Post your seasonal volunteer campaign (don’t forget about hashtags like #volunteerappreciationmonth).
  • Invite your audience to reshare your posts.
  • Share photos of your volunteers in action on Instagram. Don’t forget to tag your photos!
  • Create exclusive Facebook groups just for volunteers. Offer perks, and promote special opportunities. 
  • Invite two-way conversation. Create polls in your Instagram stories or ask volunteers to share their experiences on Facebook.
  • Inspire others to get involved and show your appreciation by posting volunteer shoutouts. 

Need more ideas? Check out these social media resources:

Flyers, Press Releases, and Print Media 

We live in a digital age, but printed communication is not gone for good. You can capture a wide-ranging audience with print media. Flyers, posters, business cards, and press releases are effective at catching the attention of “passersby” and inviting them to learn more. 

A few suggestions for using print media: 

  • Provide business cards and pamphlets at your community volunteer fair. Include basic information about your program, contact details, social media handles, and your volunteer website address so people can get in touch or learn more. 
  • Post flyers and pamphlets at your local library, schools, community centers, and favorite coffee shop. Include key information: who you are, what you’re looking for, and how to learn more about your volunteer program. 
  • Write a press release calling for volunteers for your next big event. Distribute to your local print and digital news sources. 
  • Deliver welcome packages for new families in your community. Include hand-outs about your volunteer program, a list of useful community resources, and goodies—it’s a personal touch that goes the extra mile in building community. Plus, by hand-delivering materials and goodies, there’s a chance of catching your new neighbors while they're at home, facilitating deeper personal connections.

>>> Learn how to create a compelling volunteer recruitment flyer. 


Video is a great way to market your volunteer program and engage new audiences. 

Did you know that viewers absorb 95% of a message when presented in video, compared to only 10% when presented in plain text? So, it’s not surprising that video is now the most popular form of online content. 

Helpful hint: Keep your videos under two minutes for maximum engagement.

Here are a few ways you can use video to your advantage: 

  • Introduce your volunteer program. Briefly share your mission and discuss how volunteers are essential to this mission. Then talk about how to get involved!
  • Interview a volunteer or your volunteers. Edit the highlights together with live footage of your volunteers in action. A look “behind the scenes” is sure to inspire others to get involved. 
  • Record a community member discussing the impact of your program. For example, if your organization offers tutoring services for children, why not ask a student to talk about their experience working with their volunteer tutor? Of course, you’ll need to get all the appropriate permissions granted before recording and posting. 

Once you’ve created your video content, you can repurpose it for a variety of different marketing and recruitment needs. 

Feature your videos on your website, social media accounts, community partners’ blogs and websites, local news websites, and other digital platforms that you’re using to recruit volunteers. 

Communication for Organizing Volunteers

At this point, your volunteers have expressed interest in your organization and are eager to get involved. 

Keeping your volunteers and their schedules organized requires strong, strategic communication and trusty communication tools. 

When it comes to keeping your volunteers organized, much of your communication with volunteers will be practical in nature. 

You’ll need to capture the right information in order to get them signed up and scheduled for training or upcoming shifts. You’ll also want to give your volunteers information about what to expect when volunteering with your organization and how to perform their jobs well. 

Communication Goals

Here’s what your communication should achieve when organizing and managing volunteers: 

  • Build trust to get volunteers in the door and stick around. 
  • Learn more about your volunteers, their interests, and goals. 
  • Teach volunteers about your organization. Create buy-in at this point so volunteers make it to their first shift enthusiastically. 
  • Prepare volunteers for their roles. Give them the information they need to succeed. This can include all communications associated with volunteer orientation, training, and onboarding.
  • Manage volunteers’ expectations.
  • Organize volunteer schedules and hours tracking.
  • Excite volunteers about what’s to come.

What to Communicate

Share and collect this information when organizing your volunteers: 

  • Your volunteer program’s mission statement and goals
  • A warm welcome message
  • How to register with your organization and sign-up for an opportunity
  • Volunteer contact information and availability
  • Volunteers’ interests, passions, and preferred roles
  • Prerequisites, documents, and background checks
  • What to expect during onboarding and how to access digital onboarding materials
  • Training requirements and materials
  • Schedule confirmation and reminders
  • Pre-shift details and other practical information like what to bring and where to park. 
  • How to sign in on-site and log hours

How to Communicate

These are the best channels to meet your communication objectives during registration and onboarding: 


Many of your volunteers use email and check their accounts regularly. Email is the most reliable way to communicate need-to-know information with your volunteers and begin building relationships with your volunteers. 

Therefore, you will most likely conduct most of your communications with your established volunteers through email.

Email is also a dynamic tool, making it easy to attach training videos, send PDFs, share links to your online registration, and much more. 

It’s also a great way for volunteers to communicate with you. You can initiate back and forth with your volunteers over email and keep track of your communications much easier than phone calls. 

Texting and Mobile Apps

These days, more volunteer programs are finding success by communicating with volunteers through text messaging. Text messaging yields high open rates, making it a reliable form of communication. But text messages are harder for people to avoid. So, you want to be strategic in how you leverage this communication channel. 

Here’s how you can use texting to organize your volunteers: 

  • Text day-of alerts like last-minute cancellations, location changes, and inclement weather plans.
  • Invite contacts en masse to volunteer for special events or initiatives. 
  • Your volunteer mobile app will send automated notifications to participants to check in on-site and log their hours—all through their mobile devices!

If you plan to implement text messaging, you’ll want to ask your volunteers to opt-in to receive text messages and notifications on their mobile devices. 

Volunteer Management Software

Sending every volunteer individual reminders about their upcoming shifts is simply unrealistic (and impossible). While personalized communications are important in engaging supporters, you also need efficient and practical solutions for keeping in touch. 

Volunteer management software is an all-in-one solution that does it all, including: 

  • Volunteer Website - Supporters can easily find opportunities that match their interests, register themselves, and log their own hours.
  • Communication Hub - Collect and store volunteer data, send emails and texts to your contacts directly through the software, and automate reminders. 
  • Hours Tracking - Track volunteer hours and impact data and generate reports with the click of a button. 

No more spreadsheets, paper logs, and endless email back-and-forth here! 

Following Up with Volunteers

Following up with your volunteers is an important step in your communication cycle, but it’s often the first that falls away when volunteer leaders get too busy. 

Follow-up communication generally occurs within a week of a volunteer’s completed shift, event, or project (or following a donation). 

Your follow-up doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply acknowledging your volunteers’ contributions can inspire them to come back again. 

Communication Goals

Here’s what you can achieve in your follow-up:

  • Demonstrate volunteer appreciation
  • Discuss next steps
  • Inspire volunteers to stay in touch
  • Learn more about your volunteers’ experience

What to Communicate 

Need a few ideas for your volunteer follow-up? Start here:

  • Thank volunteers for participating. When possible, be specific about their contributions.
  • Share their impact and outcomes of the project. Tell a story about how their work impacted the community, or interview a community member about their experience.
  • Send a survey. Collect feedback about your volunteers’ experiences. Learn about what participants enjoy about volunteering with your organization and areas of improvement. 
  • Offer more chances to get involved. Feature exciting events and upcoming opportunities that match their interests. 

How to Communicate

Keep it simple with these communication channels: 


In most cases, you’ll want to send a follow-up email to every volunteer after they participate.

For your regular volunteers who you can count on to show up every week, you probably don’t need to send a follow-up email every shift. Instead, send an email at the end of each month or quarter thanking them for their time. 

Your follow-up message may look something like this: 

Dear [Volunteer],

Thank you so much for your participation in [Project Name] on [Shift Date]. Together, our volunteers planted 150 trees and cleared 75 pounds of trash from Community Park. 

We hope you will join us again as we continue our work to provide cleaner, greener spaces for Springfield County. 


[Your Name]

Interested in volunteering with us again? 

Check out the opportunities below and click the link to register today!

Volunteer Management Software

Your volunteer management software can automatically send follow-up emails with customized messages. 

You’ll even have access to volunteers’ personal hours and impact data, so you can share this data readily. This data is especially important for your student and service-learning volunteers, corporate groups, and other volunteer groups who like to have an official record of their volunteer hours. 

Surveys and Forms

Thoughtful volunteer programs incorporate their volunteers’ unique voices and perspectives. 

Your follow-up is a great time to send a survey and gather feedback to learn more about your volunteers, their motivations, their experiences, and areas of improvement. 

Get the best questions to ask in your surveys, plus learn about the best tools for creating and distributing your surveys in our Volunteer Surveys Guide

Maintaining Communication with Your Volunteers

Successful volunteer programs spend more time and energy on volunteer engagement and retention. That’s why your communication shouldn’t stop after your volunteers complete their shifts. What’s more, strive to maintain communication with your volunteers throughout the year. 

Communication Goals

Your primary objective here is volunteer engagement and retention. More specifically, you’ll want to work toward the following outcomes throughout the year: 

  • Keep volunteers interested in your volunteer opportunities. 
  • Inspire first-time volunteers to get involved again. 
  • Re-engage lapsed volunteers.
  • Share important information about your organization, its volunteer program, and upcoming volunteer opportunities. 
  • Build a sense of community for greater retention.

What to Communicate

Wondering what you should say to keep your volunteers active throughout the year? Give these ideas a try:

  • New volunteer opportunities and initiatives
  • Calls for volunteers and reminders that your program relies on volunteers throughout the year
  • Volunteer impact and volunteer spotlights (like volunteer of the month announcements)
  • Annual reports, organization announcements, and other program updates
  • Donation requests
  • Occasional check-ins and suggested opportunities, especially for quiet or lapsed volunteers
  • Invitations to volunteer socials and appreciation events. 

How to Communicate

There are lots of ways you can keep volunteers engaged with your cause even long after they participated. 

Get creative with your communications at this point, and don’t be afraid to try out new ways to engage your audience! 

Email and Newsletter

You can always count on trusty email to keep in touch. Why not create a volunteer e-newsletter or monthly digest that highlights upcoming events, shares photos of volunteers in action, and tells stories that demonstrate your program’s successes? 


Print communications can feel a bit more personal, especially when addressed to an individual or household. For budget-conscious organizations, save mail and print communications for special occasions. 

Likewise, create tailored mailers and flyers for more localized or smaller programs and targeted volunteer groups (like your school’s parent volunteers or residents of a neighborhood). 

Distribute printed flyers or invitations for a seasonal volunteer event. Or, take the time to write personalized thank-you cards—it’s an extra special touch, especially at the end of the year. 

Social Media

Your social media may reach a wider audience than your other communication channels. Therefore, social media is an essential tool for keeping a diverse audience engaged throughout the year. When you post consistently on social media, your casual scrollers are more likely to be reminded that your organization exists (and still needs volunteers!).

Blog and Website

Your organization’s website and blog are ideal places to let supporters know what you’ve been up to lately. Post photos, discuss upcoming projects, highlight a client story, or celebrate your volunteer of the month. While your website should communicate all the essentials visitors need to know about your organization, your blog offers plenty of opportunity for creativity—so have fun with it! 

Annual Report

Think of your annual report as a year in review. Your supporters want to know how their time and donations directly impact your community. It also outlines your plans for the next year, which can serve to inspire volunteers to continue working with your organization. 

This resource is chock-full of report examples and best practices for writing your annual report. 

Note: You can also get creative with your annual report by creating a video version that highlights the organization’s impact, successes, and plans for the future! 

Communicating with Remote Volunteers

These days, many volunteer programs are offering remote and virtual volunteering options. Managing remote volunteers presents unique communication challenges, so you’ll need a specific plan to keep in touch with virtual volunteers. 

Communication Goals

Remote volunteers benefit from the flexibility of participating from anywhere. However, they’re also missing out on some of the social benefits of volunteering in person. Therefore, maintaining regular, thoughtful communication with home volunteers will be essential in reducing turnover. 

Some goals for your communicating with virtual volunteers include:

  • Coordinate virtual and remote volunteers and their schedules smoothly
  • Forge a sense of community among remote volunteers 
  • Offer flexibility and independence while providing enough volunteer support

What to Communicate

Here are some examples of information to collect from and share with your virtual volunteers: 

  • Contact details, volunteering preferences, and digital copies of waivers and other required documents
  • Opportunities especially designed for remote or virtual volunteering 
  • Steps for signing-up online and logging hours
  • Pre-recorded welcome videos
  • Digital orientation materials and online training quizzes
  • Invitations to virtual volunteer meet-and-greets
  • Occasional check-ins and upcoming virtual projects

How to Communicate

Fortunately for volunteer leaders, there are plenty of ways to engage volunteers wherever they are! 


Email is a quick, convenient way to conduct most of your communications with remote volunteers. Because you won’t see your volunteers in person, you’ll want to invite two-way conversation. Provide remote supporters with a reliable contact person and email address for scheduling needs and questions. 

Phone Calls and Text Messaging

Some of your home-based volunteers may prefer to communicate over the phone or via text. While it’s probably not possible to conduct all of your volunteer communications over the phone, you can certainly make some exceptions for your regular volunteers who respond best to a personal phone call or text message. 


A well-designed website is essential for virtual volunteer programs. Here are a few tips for setting up your website for (virtual) success:

  • Make sure your virtual opportunities are clearly labeled and easy to differentiate from your in-person opportunities. 
  • Reduce barriers to entry by streamlining your registration and vetting process. Find ways to cut back on inefficient back-and-forth communication. For example, is there a way for volunteers to sign-up for an opportunity online, access training materials, and begin volunteering without waiting for email instructions on your end? Clearly outline all steps for getting involved. 
  • Dedicate a specific page on your website to house virtual opportunities, and instructions for accessing digital training materials, videos, quizzes, and more. 
  • Invest in mobile-friendly updates to your website

Video Conferencing

Many people report enjoying the social benefits of volunteering, and this sense of community is a major motivating factor in keeping volunteers coming back. But your virtual volunteers can miss out on this sense of community. Building community among your at-home and virtual volunteer volunteers is important to keep them engaged with your organization. 

Video communication tools like Zoom, Teams, or Skype may be the next best thing to meeting up in person.

Consider pairing new virtual volunteers with a virtual buddy, or mentor. Encourage regular video check-ins and virtual “meet-ups.” Or, host a Zoom meet and greet for virtual volunteers. Invite staff to introduce themselves and speak about your organization. Play trivia, host an open discussion, or just have an informal chat.

Video is also a great tool to actually deliver some of your volunteer services—think virtual tutoring, mentoring, or knitting circles! 

Volunteer Management Software

Your volunteer management software is a key player in organizing remote, virtual, and hybrid volunteer programs. Volunteers will be able to register themselves and self-select opportunities online. Managing all your volunteers, whether they’re remote or in the field, has never been easier.

More Volunteer Communication Strategies That Really Work!

Need even more tips and best practices to boost your volunteer communication strategy? 

We’ve organized our tips into the following categories:

Communication Tips for Volunteer Recruitment

Without a communications or outreach strategy, growing your volunteer pool becomes increasingly difficult. 

Make great first impressions and recruit more volunteers with these communication tips:

Define Your Audience

Think about your audience, or who you’re trying to recruit. Your audience will help you decide which communication channels to use, and where to distribute these materials. 

By clarifying your audience, you can create targeted communications so you know you’re getting the volunteers you need. 

For example, let’s say you want to recruit college-aged volunteers for your summer youth mentorship program. You decide to create a social media campaign in partnership with a local university while distributing print and digital materials to campus partners. 

Or maybe you’re hoping to appeal to families for your child-friendly volunteer opportunities. You may choose to advertise your volunteer program on Facebook groups for local families and hang posters at your local library. 

Find Your Voice

Your voice, or the way you communicate with your audience, is an extension of your organization’s branding. Therefore, you’ll want to gather your team to identify how you’ll speak to your volunteers, keeping in mind that you’re also representing your entire organization. 

Think about how you want your audience to perceive you:

Do you want to come across as friendly and approachable? Are you professional and business-like? Do you want to appear witty with a sense of humor?

Your answers to these questions will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of work your organization is doing and your audience. 

The key is to keep it consistent. If you have different people performing a variety of communications, you might put together a short guide for communication policies and guidelines (including social media policies) at your organization.

Hone Your Content

Sometimes it can be tricky to know just how much you should be saying to your audience. When developing your strategy, try these tips for tightening up your content so that you’re giving your audience just enough to incite action:

  • Don’t bombard your audience with too much information. Too much practical information can overwhelm your audience and distract them, especially during the recruitment phase! Stay focused on your main purpose—to build awareness about your organization. You don’t need to share your volunteer handbook or inclement weather plans at this point (save these kinds of details after they’ve signed up). Instead, tell them a little bit about your cause, what you need, and the action you want them to take. 
  • Use action verbs and urgency. Most of your communications should include a call to action that lets your audience know what you want them to do next and when. Use strong directives and create a sense of urgency. Try these short, snappy calls to action: “Click here to volunteer now!” and “Make a difference today!” 
  • Ask questions. Questions can entice your audience to learn more about your organization. In your next social media post or flyer, add a compelling question like this: “Wondering how you can improve the lives of our community’s children?” or “Ready to mentor the next generation of changemakers?”

Get Inspired on Social Media

Need some help creating social media campaigns to activate volunteers? Get inspired by these examples from real nonprofits crushing it on social media:

  • National Park Service - NPS demonstrates the power of voice. The organization’s tweets have gone viral for their clever animal puns and silly one-liners. 
  • Girl Scouts - Browse Girl Scouts’ Instagram account and be greeted with colorful, unified branding and design, bright photos, and plenty of engaging reels. 
  • Pencils of Promise - With a steady feed of rich images, Pencils of Promise demonstrates that Twitter is about so much more than 280 characters.
  • National MS Society - This Facebook account offers a thoughtfully-curated mix of inspiring stories, event updates, and calls to get involved.

Download our communication templates and examples for even more social media post designs and ideas!

Communication Tips for Volunteer Engagement

There’s a lot competing for your volunteers’ time and attention. That’s why keeping your volunteers engaged with your cause throughout the year is no simple task, especially when we’re feeling overstimulated and overbooked. 

So how can you cut through the noise and really reach your volunteers? 

Consistency and Responsiveness: A Winning Combination

If you want your volunteers to really care about your organization, you need to show your volunteers that you care about them

Any successful communication strategy relies on these two best practices: consistency and responsiveness.

Consistent communication with your volunteers lets them know that your organization is reliable. You’ll signal to your volunteers that they’re important to your organization, and you’ll build trust among your supporters. 

What does consistent communication look like? 

  • You treat every volunteer (and their concerns) with the same level of respect and honesty. 
  • You’re consistent with your timing. Consistent communication doesn’t mean you have to bombard your volunteers with daily emails. It does mean that your volunteers can expect to hear from you at regular intervals throughout the year—there’s nothing like long stretches of radio silence to discourage continued participation!
  • You regularly review and update your website and other media to reflect the most recent changes, news, and opportunities. 
  • You maintain a cohesive voice in all your communication methods. 

Responsive communication means that you’re listening to and addressing your volunteer’s questions and feedback. 

What does responsive communication look like? 

  • You try your best to respond to questions promptly.
  • You respond to comments and direct messages on social media (when appropriate).
  • You acknowledge your volunteers' concerns and respond with respect, even if they seem unfounded. 
  • You gather volunteer feedback and implement real changes. 
  • You strive for personalized communication. You address your volunteers by name and strive to get to know them. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your email inbox, it may be time to consider volunteer management software, a tool for streamlining and automating volunteer communications. 

Communication: A Two-Way Street

It can be tempting to think about volunteer communications as just that, speaking to your volunteers. But really, your communication strategy should also work the other way. Think about how you can encourage volunteers to communicate with you. 

We totally understand that it can feel like you don’t have the time to invite feedback and conversation. But taking the time to listen to your volunteers helps forge lasting relationships between your organization and its volunteers, ultimately resulting in better outcomes for your program and your community. 

Here are a few tips for creating manageable and meaningful two-way communication:

  • Invite feedback with surveys. Volunteer surveys are an efficient way to collect and organize volunteer input.
  • Host a focus group. Ask your regular volunteers and volunteer ambassadors to join a focus group. Gather information on their experiences, what's working for them, how they feel volunteering with your organization, and areas of improvement or frustration. 
  • Create social media polls. Social media polls and quizzes are a low-pressure way to engage your audience. Keep it light-hearted by asking your volunteers to take a just-for-fun "Volunteer Personality Quiz" or collect votes to choose your next volunteer t-shirt design.
  • Provide an email address or phone line. Make it known that you're open to questions and feedback by providing a direct line of contact to a volunteer leader. Be sure to communicate boundaries like business hours and response times. 

Ask Again

You’re used to asking for help from volunteers. But your requests shouldn’t stop at recruitment. If you want to keep volunteers engaged and coming back, you need to ask again. In fact, many volunteers simply don’t participate again because they didn’t know they were needed. 

Make it a point to follow up with first-time volunteers and let them know you have plenty of opportunities to get involved throughout the year (your volunteer newsletter is a great place to start!)

Level up your ask by personalizing your opportunity recommendations based on your volunteers’ unique passions and skills (volunteer management software helps here, too). 

Communication Tips for Volunteer Retention 

Recruiting new volunteers is more expensive and time-consuming than keeping the ones you already have. That’s why volunteer retention efforts are essential to any volunteer program. 

Did you know, a communications strategy can actually help you maintain a happy, active volunteer base?

Sharing Successes and Communicating Your Impact

Your volunteers want to know that their time and skills are making a real difference. How can you ensure your volunteers never feel superfluous? 

Define your volunteers’ purpose and communicate impact often. 

With every opportunity listing, briefly communicate how the volunteer role contributes to your program’s mission or desired outcomes. 

After your volunteer participates, let them know how their efforts made an impact. You can gather your volunteers at the end of a shift, or send them an email within a week. 

Then, at the end of a campaign (or throughout the year) share volunteers’ contributions and project outcomes, and highlight inspiring success stories. 

Volunteer Appreciation and Recognition

Volunteer appreciation is not only proven to reduce turnover, it also increases performance and productivity! 

So, if you want to keep your volunteers doing meaningful work, thank them often (both in person and in writing). 

We’ve gathered tons of resources on how to communicate your appreciation. Check them out!

Congratulations! You’ve created a winning volunteer communication plan. Get even more free volunteer communications resources, templates, and examples available for download. 



Volunteer Communication Templates

Ready to get planning? We’ve done some of the work for you by creating tried-and-true templates for communicating with your volunteers. 

Download the free resource to access these templates: 

  • Volunteer Recruitment Email or Letter Template
  • Volunteer Thank You Email Template
  • Reengaging Volunteers Email Template
  • Volunteer Donations Request Email Template
  • Volunteer Recruitment Flyer Examples
  • Social Media Post Designs for Volunteer Programs


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