Sending Reminders to Volunteers

Facts:

Fact #1:  Volunteers are usually responsible, mature grown ups who should remember when they have committed to something.

Fact #2:  We (not they!) forget.  A lot.

I write this as the children’s minister who for years has growled when grown ups forgot to do what they said they’d do or forgot a commitment they signed up for.

I write this as the mama who forgot I signed up to bring snacks to the very first soccer game.

Realities:

Reality 1:  Yes, we all realize we should remember.  We all have good intentions. That’s why we sign up in the first place.

Reality 2:  Yes, we should not need reminders.  We are grown ups.

Reality 3:  We have lots and lots in our brains and in lots of ways our smartphones have made us dumber.  If it doesn’t beep at us we don’t remember.

Reality4:  Telling me once probably won’t stick (yes, it should.  but it doesn’t).

Reality 5:  We can either continue to be frustrated or we can create systems to remind our volunteers of their commitments.

Systems that Work:

–  One of my favorite sites is signupgenius.com.  You can allow your people to sign up online for the tasks you need.  You can invite them via email, Facebook, whatever and they can sign up with one click. PLUS it emails a reminder to them.

–  For meals, another great site is takethemameal.com.

–  If you schedule a lot of volunteers, consider utilizing planning center.  It has a learning curve, but can automate what you do.

–  Txtsignal.com offers some relatively inexpensive plans for sending group/mass texts.  Stats say 98% of texts are read!

–  Search google for phone tree or automated phone message services.  Record your message once and send it out.

–  And you can always do the old fashioned postcard reminder.  In a world of tech, people may pay more attention to the old school model.

How do you remind volunteers of commitments?

1 thought on “Sending Reminders to Volunteers

  1. We like takethemameal.com too. At the beginning of each year, I ask all my volunteers for all of their contact info, and ask for their top 2-3 preferences for how to receive communication (email, text, phone call, snail mail, Facebook, twitter, etc), and then we try our best to send regular reminders according to their preference. We send out monthly (or quarterly) schedules, and then send weekly reminder postcards or emails. My nursery director has started a Facebook group, which she updates regularly (sometimes on a daily basis, as the volunteer schedule changes), and people are very used to checking it regularly. When you keep something constant, people get used to using that as their go-to place for volunteer information, and the Facebook thing works really, really well for our nursery workers!

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