Skip to main content

Strategic Communication: A Key Factor in Effective Volunteer Programs

Strategic Communication: A Key Factor in Effective Volunteer Programs

People talking

While volunteers play a critical role in many organizations, it can be difficult to integrate them seamlessly into day-to-day operations. One particular challenge involves a lack of clarity about the role of volunteers relative to the work of paid staff, which can lead to confusion and disengagement for both groups and can diminish the overall effectiveness of the volunteer program. This Research to Practice by reviewer Allison Russell focuses on mitigating this challenge through the use of strategic communication by managers. Through an online experiment conducted in public nursing homes in Denmark, the authors of the study reveal many important findings and also share a short checklist to assist Volunteer Engagement professionals and other organizational leaders looking to leverage simple yet effective communication strategies in their own work.

To read the full article

Fri, 01/26/2024

I really enjoyed this article. This truly validated my profession. To make any program in a nonprofit or even a for profit the following is what makes it work: Position Descriptions, Clear Communication, Established and Meaningful Training,  Peer Mentoring , Rounding on the Volunteers, and Staff Involvement.  By having these measures in place your program will be more successful and your volunteer retention will be stronger. 

Fri, 01/26/2024

I am starting to implement and communicate about our newly developed "8 types of volunteer activities" and it is already getting a lot of traction from managers, staff and volunteers! 

The managers relate to the "classification system" because that's how staffing is done, and I think they like that it acknowledges the differences between staff and volunteers. I am also finding it extremely good at communicating that we have "something for everyone" and it can expand the range of volunteer activities and the diversity of people who can participate. 

Each type has a more detailed description, some examples of customized volunteer activity descriptions. Types and qualifications may overlap and qualifications. This is in a parks setting:

Type 1

Special Projects / Internships / In-Person or Online, Virtual, Remote

Type 2

In-Park Front-Country 

Type 3

In-Park Back-Country

Type 4

Ambassador Role - Public Outreach or Visitor Education

Type 5

Conservation / Research and Monitoring – Ecological Integrity

Type 6

Conservation / Research and Monitoring – Cultural Heritage Integrity

Type 7

Habitat Restoration and Infrastructure Maintenance 

Type 8

Leadership / Project Coordination / Driving