Tips for Communicating with Volunteers

Engaging Volunteers

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Three volunteers stand behind a table passing out food to children.


Throughout a disaster, send messages through local media and post messages on social media that let volunteers know:

  • When they’re needed and what they’re needed for.
  • Where to go at the disaster site.
  • When it’s safe for them to arrive at the disaster site.
    • Be clear about when help is needed and when to they should stay away.
  • Specific goods and services that are needed.
    • Also let volunteers know when specific goods and services are not needed yet, or are no longer needed.

Have multiple methods of communication in place to maintain volunteer communications when conventional methods of communication are not working. These can include:

  • Text messages and social media
    • These may be more accessible than cell phone calls, landline calls and emails, but may also be unavailable during a disaster.
  • Locations where information will be posted
    • Make sure that volunteer groups know where find information and updates prior to will be posted ahead of time
  • Radios
    • Ham radio enthusiasts can be a valuable volunteer resource during a disaster. Consider reaching out to this group as part of your volunteer engagement planning process. See more IBTS tips on coordinating with local ham radio associations.

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