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How to Communicate with Volunteers and Parents in Our Digital Age

Tom Pounder
Tom Pounder Wednesday July 1, 2020
<? echo $type; ?> How to Communicate with Volunteers and Parents in Our Digital Age

Throughout the course of history, communication has always been so important. Cavemen used stone and a chisel, Egyptians used calligraphy, pen and paper are still used today to sign important documents, and Morse Code was used to communicate vital information during times of war.

While times and the methods have changed over the centuries, the value and importance of communication to those closest to us is still extremely necessary. As a minister, some of those closest to you are volunteers and parents. 

Thankfully, in this digital age, there are lots of options to get all the important details to those who need them fast and efficiently. So what are the best ways to communicate to volunteers and parents in this day and age? Here are some ideas for you.

1. Learn from others

There are a lot of digital communicators who have been using online tools effectively for years. Two great examples are Jon Acuff and Dave Adamson. 

Start following them on social media or via their blogs or vlogs. Learn from them as they share. They have a big “C” church mindset and want to help you as you learn how to best communicate.

2. Send emails

Even though students get emails for school, sending them an email is like sending a spaceship into a solar vortex. However, sending an adult volunteer or a parent an email is still a fairly good communication tactic. 

You can send a weekly email to both groups highlighting what’s coming up and also encouraging them in their role as either a volunteer or parent. 

3. Use text messages

Did you know that 98% of text messages get opened and a text averages a 7.5x higher open rate than an email? The open rate and reliability of sending texts are great ways to stay in touch with volunteers and parents to share quick information or reminders. It’s very effective. 

While you can send more group texts a week than emails, you don’t want to overuse this effective tool. It can become spam. That’s why it’s a great idea to mix group texts with individual texts so that parents and volunteers feel like they’re more personal.

4. Engage on social media

Before you’re able to effectively communicate to parents and volunteers, you need to do a social media assessment.

After you look at the analytics of your past social media, set up a plan to engage in ways that are most effective for your group and community. Just because another ministry or group uses social media a certain way doesn’t mean that same approach will work for your ministry. Discover works best for you on social media and run with it.

5. Use the Orange Apps

Lead Small and the Parent Cue apps are great tools to use to communicate to volunteers and parents. The Lead Small App allows you to communicate with volunteers and share curriculum easily and effectively. It also allows volunteers to communicate with students and have a database of information about their own small groups they’re ministering to. 

It’s an effective tool for you to engage volunteers as they engage students. The Parent Cue app is wonderful for getting family curriculum to parents so they can invest more with their family spiritually and allows you to communicate within the app to answer questions and encourage parents at the same time. 

6. Video conferencing

In person, face-to-face communication is always best when you can meet with a team of leaders or parents. However, that’s not always possible. That’s why doing video conferencing with companies like Zoom, FaceTime, or Facebook Messenger are great ways to check in with volunteers, hold team meetings, and even meet up with parents to discuss things they need help with. Holding Leader Meetings or Monthly Parent Meet-ups on video conferences can be a great way to connect and communicate.

Keep it simple

We live in a digital world. These are some of the different online and digital ways you can learn how to use and then effectively communicate to volunteers and parents. Regardless of how you communicate and what communication channels you use, one rule of thumb is to keep it simple. 

While there are plenty of digital tools you can use to communicate, it’s a connection tool, and if used too much, it can be ineffective. Find out a few ways that work best for your volunteers and parents and go with it.

Tom Pounder was born and raised just outside of Washington, DC. He has been working full-time in ministry since 1997. Tom has a background in Student Ministry working over 22 years with teenagers and currently serves as the Student Minister and Online Campus Pastor at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA.