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Volunteers and non profit communications strategy

How non profits can incorporate volunteers into their communications strategy.

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Volunteers and non profit communications strategy

  1. 1. Volunteers and not for profit communications strategy Professional Association of Volunteers Leaders - Ontario PAVRO LiVE 2018 May 3, 2018
  2. 2. About TAGb Consulting Not for profits are important and deserve to have every advantage digital technology can give 
  3. 3. Just curious… How many of you are from: •Associations •Charities •Government agencies •Regulatory colleges
  4. 4. What I know about volunteers 1. Recognition 2. Respect 3. Impact 4. Help them do their best work
  5. 5. Inquiring minds want to know… How many of you: • work actively with volunteers? • have or are volunteers? • have challenges incorporating volunteers into their communications strategy?
  6. 6. Some of the challenges… •staff/volunteer conflict •lack of understanding of roles •lack of volunteer support •lack of respect
  7. 7. Communications tactics from various NFPs (that I have observed)
  8. 8. The Volunteer-led NFP Volunteer led (staff driven) Heavily volunteer dependent Volunteers serve a myriad of roles
  9. 9. The Volunteer-led NFP - communications frustrations Volunteer opinion takes precedence Ultimate control by volunteers Unspoken conflict
  10. 10. The Volunteer-driven NFP Volunteers provide general direction More of a “do this” not “how to do this” Implementation is left to staff
  11. 11. The Volunteer-driven NFP - communications frustrations Volunteers are too busy Long delays in approvals Risk averse
  12. 12. The ideal: Volunteer/staff collaboration Volunteers provide input Share how the community should be supported Volunteers advise and liaise with staff
  13. 13. The ideal: Volunteer/staff collaboration Volunteers serve as eyes and ears; staff are the hands Seek volunteer opinion at the start, not the end Change occurs internally and externally
  14. 14. 1. What communications roles should be handled by staff, and what should be handled by volunteers?
  15. 15. Building collaboration between staff and volunteers •Part of a team •Understand the others’ roles and expertise •Motivation
  16. 16. Division of responsibilities: Volunteers •Are subject matter experts •Experts in their profession and community •Know what’s relevant and appropriate
  17. 17. Division of responsibilities: Staff •Are the publishers •Carve out the raw data •Have the expertise to craft the message
  18. 18. Tasks that support the subject matter expert function •Committees or advisory board •Sharing experience •Influence •Approval and review
  19. 19. Tasks that support the subject matter expert function (2) •Educate •Standards and policies •Evaluation
  20. 20. Tasks that support the publisher function •Strategy •Procedures •Crisis management •Procuring software
  21. 21. Division of responsibilities Assigned tasks (1) •Website development and maintenance •Graphic design •Translating and proofreading documents •Gathering stories •Researching subjects
  22. 22. Division of responsibilities Assigned tasks (2) •Developing material for a curriculum •Designing a database •Captioning video •Tagging photos and files with keywords •Monitoring media
  23. 23. 2. “The medium is the message.” Marshall McLuhan
  24. 24. Choosing digital channels •How each channel works •If your audiences use the channel •How to tailor your message to the channel
  25. 25. All about digital channels • Visual • Two-way • Concise • Personalize • Engagement and action
  26. 26. Choosing digital channels - stats •50% of Canadians watch YouTube every day •62% of people over 65 use Facebook •72% of people from 50-64 use Facebook
  27. 27. Choosing digital channels - stats •Only 21% of American population uses Twitter •Instagram has 200 million active users
  28. 28. Engaging donors –
  29. 29. Engaging donors –
  30. 30. Engaging donors –
  31. 31. Changing behavior – Choosing Wisely
  32. 32. Changing behavior – Choosing Wisely Choosing Wisely Campaign
  33. 33. Changing behavior – Choosing Wisely Choosing Wisely Campaign
  34. 34. Advocacy - Medical associations
  35. 35. Advocacy - Medical associations
  36. 36. Advocacy - Medical associations
  37. 37. 3. Consistent messaging
  38. 38. Why your NFP needs consistency “When people can’t tell what you stand for, they can’t tell if they want to be a part of your cause and work. They won’t join, they won’t give, and they won’t tell your stories to their families and friends. Once you’ve created confusion, it’s very hard to clear it up.”
  39. 39. Steps towards clear, consistent messaging i. Choose the right person for the right role.
  40. 40. Steps towards clear, consistent messaging •Assess engagement level •Assign tasks to natural abilities •Know when to hire
  41. 41. Steps towards clear, consistent messaging ii. Develop a communications policy: Your audiences: internal & external Demographics Appropriate communications channels
  42. 42. Steps towards clear, consistent messaging ii. Develop a communications policy: Key messages - In house experts - What do you want to say? - What tone? - Is it relevant?
  43. 43. Steps towards clear, consistent messaging ii. Develop a communications policy: When to share the messages Style guide
  44. 44. Steps towards clear, consistent messaging iii. Train all staff and volunteers • Policies, guidelines • Self paced or interactive training • Use an intranet or files • Sign off agreement to terms
  45. 45. Steps towards clear, consistent messaging iii. Training for staff and volunteers on the forefront Also add: •Media/spokes person training •Training on use of social media
  46. 46. Steps towards clear, consistent messaging iv. Get everybody onboard
  47. 47. 4. Tools of the trade
  48. 48. Technology you need • Supports not for profits • Fits your budget • Easy to use • Access to support & training • Trial period • Demo
  49. 49. Software you may need • Collaboration • Curation • File sharing/transfer • Schedulers • Cloud-based
  50. 50. Collaboration software Examples: Google Docs, Trello, Basecamp, Asana • Share files and have discussions • Work together on projects • Combines email, file sharing, discussion forums, schedulers, calendars - all in one place.
  51. 51. Curation software Examples: Evernote, Pinterest boards • Create swipe files • Brainstorming • Clip information from the Internet • Save information to a central place
  52. 52. File sharing software Examples: Dropbox, Box, We Transfer • Virtual space to save and send files • Grant permissions to specific files
  53. 53. Scheduling software Examples: Hootsuite, Edgar, SproutSocial • Automation • Time-saving • Manage approvals
  54. 54. In the cloud software Examples: Canva, Pixlr, Adobe suite, even MS Office • Access software from anywhere • No huge cost commitment • Variety of software available
  55. 55. Incorporating volunteers into your communications strategy requires: Good culture Interactive communication Guidelines for clear and consistent messaging Accessible software
  56. 56. Other resources “5 Strategies that will Transform your Communications Department.” Visit for a complimentary guide for NFP communications professionals
  57. 57. Let’s start talking! Questions?
  58. 58. Thank you for attending!