Effectively Personalising Volunteer Communications: 4 Tips

Personalised communication is key to connect with your volunteers. Here are four tips to get you started!

Effectively Personalising Volunteer Communications: 4 Tips

To truly engage and retain the volunteers that interact with your volunteer centre, you need to communicate with them regularly. But you shouldn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to communication. This means you need to take the necessary steps to personalise your volunteer communications as much as possible. 

Personalised communications can go a long way in encouraging them to make volunteering a priority in their busy lives and motivating your volunteers to sign up for new opportunities with organisations in your community. Plus, when your communication materials are personalised, your centre sends a larger message that you see the volunteers you work with as unique individuals. This can help you boost your centre’s brand and recruit even more volunteers.

However, even when you understand the importance of effectively personalising volunteer communications, it can still be tricky to get started. Let’s walk through four tips for improving your communications with personalisation. 

1. Segment your volunteers

If you’re looking for an effective way to tailor-fit to as many individual volunteers as possible and prioritize efficiency, try segmentation. Segmentation is the process of organising a large group (like your community of volunteers) into smaller groups based on shared characteristics. Here are some examples of characteristics you could segment your volunteers by: 

  • Experience level: You can segment them by how many years of volunteering experience individuals have with your centre and the organisations you partner with. After all, your messages for a long-term volunteer with a decade of experience working with one specific organisation will likely be different from the messages you have to share with someone just starting out in the volunteer world. 
  • Interests: Volunteers all have different backgrounds and skill sets that result in different volunteering interests. Through segmenting volunteers by their interests, whether that be saving the environment or working with at-risk youth,  you can ensure volunteers get matched with the right opportunities and increase the likelihood they’ll keep coming back. 
  • Availability: Your volunteers likely have different schedules that you should consider when placing them. Since opportunities will vary by availability, segmenting your volunteers this way can help you ensure that volunteers know about opportunities that fit into their schedules. 

Segmentation makes personalisation possible for even the largest volunteer centres—while you might not be able to tailor all of your communications to every individual volunteer, you can ensure they’re suited to groups that share similarities. 

If you are using a platform that is Powered by Deedmob, consider taking a look at the Volunteer Pool. The Volunteer Pool matches the volunteers with the right experience level, interests, and availability to the characteristics of your opportunity.

2. Use preferred methods of communication

To reach your volunteers with communications that will resonate with them, you should use their preferred methods of communication. 

Start by assessing all of the communication channels you have at your disposal. If you aren’t already, you’ll likely want to use a variety of channels to ensure that your centre can reach as many of your volunteers and potential volunteers as possible. Some possible channels include: 

  • Email
  • Phone calls and text messages
  • Direct mail
  • Social media
  • Physical materials (flyers, posters)
  • Radio 
  • TV 
  • Website 

Once you’ve identified the channels that you have to work with, survey your volunteers to find out which channels they use the most. Store this information in your database and use it, coupled with your segmentation strategy, to ensure your communications will reach the right people in the right places. Consider sending out a form via the organisation page on a Deedmob platform. You can keep all data in one space and attach the form to an opportunity to get the most out of your communication.

Here’s what this might look like in practice. Say you survey your centre’s community of volunteers and learn that half of them prefer to receive messages from your centre over social media while the other half prefer direct mail. With this information, you create two versions of a volunteer thank-you letter to send to your community—one for social media and one for direct mail, ensuring that your volunteers get that thank-you via a channel that they regularly use. 

3. Address volunteers by name 

Using your volunteers’ names in your communications may seem like a small gesture, but doing so can actually make a big difference. Make an effort to use your volunteers’ first names or preferred nicknames, as well as any titles.

Not only will seeing their name grab a volunteer’s attention, but this level of personalisation can also lay the foundation for further efforts to build lasting relationships with those who frequent your centre.

For example, you could level up your efforts by not only including the volunteer’s name in a thank-you message but also specific information about their recent contributions to the organisation they’re working with. 

Here are two examples of what this might look like in practice—the first with little to no personalisation and the second with a high level of personalisation: 

  • Version 1: Dear Valued Volunteer: Thank you for your recent contributions to All-Star Tutors. Here are some upcoming volunteering opportunities we think you might enjoy…
  • Version 2: Hi Mrs. Holland! Thank you for helping All-Star Tutors with their birthday fundraiser this month! You saved the day with your tech know-how and made a big difference to all of the students All-Star Tutors serves. We’re proud to partner with organisations like All-Star Tutors, and look forward to helping you find future volunteer opportunities…

Clearly, the second version of this message is much more specific, setting it up to be that much more meaningful to the volunteer who receives it. To create similar communications, ensure that you have your volunteers’ names stored in your database and configure your automatic messages (like your weekly newsletter) to input their first names. Even better, be sure to ask them for their preferred names and titles and update your database accordingly. 

4. Show your appreciation 

One of the most important things you can do to put the personal touch on your volunteer communications strategy is to always prioritise saying thank you. There are many quick and easy ways to show your volunteers that you appreciate them for working with your centre, including:

  • Sending eCards. According to eCardWidget, with the right eCard tool, you can create customised eCards to quickly send to your volunteers via email or social media. eCards are a greener and more affordable version of the traditional thank-you note and can help you acknowledge your volunteers’ efforts in a timely way. 
  • Starting a Volunteer of the Month program. Similar to an Employee of the Month program, a Volunteer of the Month program involves selecting one stand-out volunteer each month to reward. They might receive a plaque or small trophy, as well as a gift basket or cash donation to the organisation of their choice. These programs are exciting because they give your volunteers a goal to work toward!
  • Gifting branded merchandise. Create branded merchandise for your centre. You might create t-shirts, hats, bumper stickers, or bracelets. Your loyal volunteers will love representing your centre and will even do a little marketing work for you when they wear their or use their items!

Use what you know about your volunteers to select an appreciation strategy that you know will resonate with them. The previous tips of using your volunteers’ names, communication preferences, and leveraging segmentation can also help you stick the landing with your thank-yous. 


Personalised volunteer communications can help your volunteer centre’s messages stand out to both volunteers who have worked with you for years and those who are just starting on their volunteering journeys. Leverage these four tips to begin effectively personalising your volunteer communications today!

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