As your church reopens amid COVID-19, you may find that you need more volunteers. All the extra sanitizing, helping people adhere to social distancing guidelines, and more will require additional people to make services run smoothly.

You may also need more volunteers to host online services, follow-up with online prayer requests, and to contact members who might need assistance during this time.

Communicating effectively with volunteers is always essential to success. However, when we have a completely new situation (i.e., a global pandemic) to contend with that makes communication even more crucial. People who volunteer want to do a great job. However, without consistent and clear communication, they may not have the information they need to succeed.

Here are a few tips for improving communication with your volunteer teams:

Tip No. 1: Establish clear expectations

When someone expresses interest in volunteering, let them know what kind of commitment you need from them. How often? How many hours? What will they need to do? Why is this volunteer role needed? If they know what they’re signing up for, then they’re more likely to be committed and consistent in serving.

Tip No. 2: Provide training

Once they’ve committed, conduct a training session. To keep in-person contact to a minimum, you could send a pre-recorded training video along with a short document for them to read. Whatever method you choose, the key is to make sure you equip volunteers with the information they need to succeed in their new role.

Tip No. 3: Be consistent

Establish a pattern of how often and through what medium you’re going to communicate important information to your teams. This could be a weekly email, text messages, or a quick meeting before a service.

If you decide to send out a weekly email to all volunteers, then pick the same day to send it out each week. Make sure your volunteers know what to expect and where to go for information.

Tip No. 4: Invite feedback

Especially as you’re dealing with so much rapid change, you’ll need to ask volunteers if they understand what you’ve asked of them. Ask your volunteers how things are going and if they have suggestions for improvement.

Tip No. 5: Appreciate

Say “thank you,” a lot. Send hand-written thank you cards to volunteers who’ve gone the extra mile. Mention how much you appreciate their ability to be flexible as things keep changing with COVID-19 guidelines.

Share some of the stories you’ve heard recently of volunteers making an impact and changing lives. Even receiving these notes woven into a weekly update email will encourage and energize volunteers.

Navigating the impacts of a global pandemic certainly wasn’t on anyone’s 2020 plans. However, as your church works to safely reopen, you’ll need more people on the team to make services run smoothly. Your volunteers want to serve and help you as you’re serving others. Your commitment to consistent, clear communication is key to their success.