How many times have you sent e-mail’s to your youth ministry volunteers but received no response? I am raising my hand. If I wanted my volunteers to open my e-mails I had to get better at crafting them or just stop sending them. Here’s my short list of changes I had t make.
I was not very consistent in sending email. Some weeks my volunteers didn’t not know whether they were going to receive an e-mail from me or not. I was on again off again. I had time, I did not have time. I. had to decide what I was going to offer them. Did they NEED to hear from me once a week? Is the program or service that intricate that they NEED to hear from me? Does the e-mail need to be on a need to basis?
We have to decide how often our volunteers need to hear from us and maybe we should start with asking them what they want to know and when they want to know it. This will clear up any confusion and everyone will be on the same page.
Change the Subject Line
in modern day marketing, having the right Subject Line is critical to whether someone opens your e-mail or not. Think of the e-mails you open and the ones your don’t. Why don’t you open them? Probably because the subject line did not entice you to do do. I have learned much of this by trial and error though my own newsletter (you can sign up here btw) and have tried to do a better job getting my crew to open the e-mails I send.
If you are sending an e-mail to volunteers here are some terrible lines to include:
Small Group List
Schedule This Month
Here ya go!
They say what the e-mail is about, sort of, but these lines do not make me care about what’s inside. Here are some sample e-mail subject lines you might click on,
We need to be praying for this kid (then share prayer requests for a certain kid and include a not about pre-service prayer)
You Might Have Won Volunteer of The Week (If You Did These Five Things) The use the e-mail to brag on one of your volunteers and the extra mile they went to serve and maybe give them a gift card to a local restaurant. This way you get to share your values and reward those who follow them.
Try writing a few lines and then ask your yourself, “Would I open or delete this?” If it’s delete, change it
Say Something Important, , Relevant, or Valuable Every Time
In other words, don’t wast their time. If I am going to send an e-mail I want to do three things
Keep the vision in front of the them
I want my volunteers to know that their presence makes an impact. I talk about our wins and the challenges that are before us and the big picture of the ministry.
Equip them to serve
This comes through articles related to their ministry (small group, speaking, leadership, culture, etc.). I also write my own articles plotting out the best way to go about things, like this video I did on stuff that I obsessive compulsive about and how they may be able to help me.
Open lines of communication for them to speak into the program
An e-mail give you the change to hear back from your leaders in a non-threading way. Why not ask a question at the end of your e-mail or their opinion about something happing in culture? You could link to a program like Slack where everyone can join in the conversation.
If you really want to see if your volunteer are opening your e-mails, you can use Mail Chimp where you can make some snazzy newsletters as well as see if the e-mails were opened.
Vote: How do you normally communicate with your volunteers?