Staying connected to your volunteers during Covid-19

With many volunteers unable to be involved with their regular volunteering activities during this time - either because they are self-isolating or because their usual volunteer role is on hold - it is easy for charities to lose touch with their volunteers.

How can your organisation stay connected and help the wellbeing of your volunteers?

Many people build friendships through their volunteering: it can be an important part of their routine, helping them to stay active and socially connected, and it is so beneficial for people’s mental health and wellbeing. With people suddenly losing this, as well as facing the uncertainties of the current situation, it is important to keep in touch with volunteers to build connections and support their wellbeing.

Here are some tips on how we as volunteer managers can help our volunteers:

1. Set up a volunteer page on Facebook or set up a WhatsApp group for your volunteers

This is a good way for volunteers to keep in touch with each other and a way for volunteer managers to share any updates.

2. Phone your volunteers

Many people will appreciate you taking the time to give them a call. If you have a large number of volunteers this may be something other members of staff can help with. For volunteers who live alone, it may be a good idea to phone them on a regular basis.

3. Buddy volunteers with each other

You could set up a system for your volunteers to be matched with another volunteer who they will phone on a weekly basis. This may work especially well for people who are not able to go online.

4. Virtual coffee morning

A zoom coffee morning is a great way to connect with your volunteers. Here are some tips on running virtual meetings or you can watch our YouTube clip on video conferencing here.

5. Put together a wellbeing pack

You could put together a wellbeing information pack for your volunteers with tips on how they can look after their wellbeing whilst staying at home. You could include links to useful websites and contact numbers for where they can get more specialist help and support. There are lots of resources online, Les' Mental Health Awareness Week blog includes local online mental health services, our #SalfordStories timetable of wellbeing activities is a good source of fun projects that can be done at home and includes START's weekly Five Ways to Wellbeing newsletter and Oxfam have a great example of a volunteer wellbeing pack.

6. Link volunteers with other activities in the community

There are activities that volunteers can get involved in without leaving their home. Our wellbeing activity calendar is a good place to start and we also have a list of resources on keeping active, mindfulness and learning on our website here.

7. Link volunteers with other volunteering opportunities

If your volunteers are not currently volunteering for your organisation because your activities are on hold, you could signpost them to other opportunities. Many communities need help from volunteers now more than ever and people can get involved with either an emergency response role, helping their neighbours or they can join a mutual aid group in their area. More information on how to give your time in Salford here.

If your volunteers are shielding, there are roles that they can do remotely such as being a Hero from Home they could also fundraise for your organisation online or you may have other tasks they can help with from home.

8. Email any updates and news about your organisation

Keep your volunteers informed of any changes, news and updates that are going on at your organisation during this time. That way when it is safe for them to resume their volunteer role, they won’t feel too out of the loop.

9. Don’t forget their birthdays

Sending a birthday card to volunteers is something many organisations do anyway and now more than ever the thoughtful gesture will be appreciated and give volunteers a boost.

10. Say thank you

You can never say thank you enough for volunteers! Let your volunteers know that they are valued. You can do this at any time but with Volunteers’ Week around the corner (running from 1 - 7 June), you could send them a card, certificate or organise a virtual coffee morning during the week. You could also raise the profile of volunteering during the week and thank volunteers or at any time by joining in with #CheerForTheVolunteers on social media.

Salford CVS
Author: 
Claire Roberts, Volunteer Centre Coordinator

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Salford CVS & Volunteer Centre
Registered address 
The Old Town Hall 
5 Irwell Place 
Salford, M30 0FN

Tel: 0161 787 7795 
Email: office@salfordcvs.co.uk

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Salford CVS is the city-wide infrastructure organisation for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector; providing specialist information, advice, development support and opportunities for influence and collaboration.

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