(The Top 5 is our quick list of resources, recommendations, or reasons that we feel you should know).
Keeping your adult volunteers up-to-date and in the know can be a big strain of time and effort on any youth worker. However, it’s a crucial aspect of every youth ministry. We no longer live in an age where a simple email will be sent, people communicate in different ways using different mediums more than ever. It can be a bit overwhelming. So how do you manage it? Well here are our top five ways you can communicate with your adult volunteers. These are just ideas that can be tweaked to fit your ministry.
ONE – The Standard Leaders Meeting (in person)
Most youth ministries have some kind of meeting with all the adult volunteers together. There is some updates, light training, and go over what the night or the next week will include. This might be the standard for most but it’s also one of the best ways. Having a time where all the leaders are together in person is a crucial way to reinforce your vision, train your leaders, and deal with issues directly. It is also a great way to build teamwork. If you have a small group (less than 5 leaders) asking them to show up 15 minutes early to your regular nights is a good idea. If you have a bigger group maybe showing up 30-45 minutes each month might work. Try to make it consistent and do no go more than 90 days between meetings. We have found that around once a month is ideal. Also when you are planning this meeting choose a convenient time. Either before youth group (afterward don’t really work) or a night of the week where childcare is available for those leaders with families. Also, try to bring some kind of snack or meal as a way of saying thank you and incentivize them in coming.
TWO – Regular Email
This is a great way to share more information on upcoming events. It can be in newsletter format or a simple group email. Go over the next month’s events, highlight things they should be aware of, update them on changes, and anything else you need to share. The positive of this communication style is you get the same information to everyone all at once. The downside is if your email is too long – they might skip it. Try to send regular emails (once a week or month) and keep things short and bullet point everything you can.
THREE – Facebook Group
Facebook has drastically improved their groups over the years. Now you can have completely private groups where only members can see or even respond to them. The benefit of groups is if they check their facebook feed any group posts will come first or near the top, and they even get notifications of your post too. The benefit of Facebook groups over email is you can get people to respond back and forth and they are more likely to see your content. The downside is either not every leader has a facebook account (rare, but true) and you have to keep your posts short to keep engaged.
FOUR – Texting Line/Group
The quickest and for a sure-fire way of getting people information. Everyone checks their text messages. If you have a last minute change or want to send out a reminder a group texting line is the way to go. This is only a supplemental way of communication but a very easy one. We suggest for bigger groups getting a free communication app (like groupme). With groupme, you can send text, make events where leaders can RSVP, create a poll, and send pictures very easily. Having texting line plus a monthly meeting will cover most of your communication needs. Word to the wise – don’t send long texts or too frequently of text. We suggest 2-3 texts a week AT MOST. Sometimes we even send our volunteers a text message reminding them we sent them an email (for longer content)!
FIVE – The Leader’s Lunch
This might be the most time consuming and expensive way to communicate but it also will have the most impact. Either once a semester or once a year (depending on your budget) take EACH of your leaders out to lunch or a meal of some kind. If they are married bring both of them. Get to know them more, see how their life is going, how their spiritual life is. Then share how your life is going. Thank them for their service. Share the information you need to share – like big upcoming plans or changes. And then have them share how they think youth group is going. Get some honest feedback from them personally. A lot of times people don’t share in a big group because they don’t feel comfortable. But get them one on one they feel valued and listen to. You also have a chance to answer any questions they may have directly. It’s a habit every youth worker should have if they want to build loyalty with your adult volunteers.
What did we forget or miss? What other ways do you communicate with your adult volunteers? Let us know in the comments below or on our facebook group by clicking here.