Ice Breaker Ideas, Missed Shifts, and Introducing a Newsletter | Track It Forward

Ice Breaker Ideas, Missed Shifts, and Introducing a Newsletter

Written by Jordan Galerkin

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Recap for February 28th - March 6th

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Facebook community this past week!

Ice Breakers for Volunteer Training

Training is a vital part of any volunteer program, but so is community! Spice up your volunteer training and help people get to know each other with some fun ice breakers. Our coordinator community has shared some great ideas below!

Facebook post stating:

Comments and resources

  • "We play My new Best Friend. They pair up and talk for about 10 minutes and then take turns introducing their partner to the group with fun facts they learned about them."

  • "I do a team building challenge where they have to choose items around them and in pairs try to figure out how to use the items to survive being stranded on a deserted island. It's been a big hit!"

  • "Make a list of random questions like have you ever been to a detroit tigers game or do you have a garden.. each person gets a paper of questions and has to find a volunteer that has an answer for that question. The person who finds the most people with answers wins a prize."

Check out all of the Facebook comments here!

Contacting 'No-Show' Volunteers

If you have volunteers who miss their scheduled shifts, it can be difficult to know how to reach out. You’ll want to take into account whether this is a repeating occurrence, or perhaps an out-of-character rarity. Either way, it’s good to begin your outreach with an open mind and come from a place of understanding. Our coordinator community has some suggestions on how to reach out.

Facebook post stating:

Comments from the group

  • "I find the best way to handle those types of situations is to check in with the volunteer before their next shift with a simple "hey how are you doing" text or email. I try not to point out that they missed a shift, because they usually feel bad about it."

  • "Come from a place of care. A phone call or email just to check in."

  • "Do mention that they were missed and that you’re expressing concern."

  • "In the past, an office volunteer would do a weekly report of everyone the previous week who was scheduled but did not post hours, then sent them a link to a Survey Monkey which had various options (e.g., I missed the shift; I was there but forgot to post hours; there were no cats at the store…). It was a very routine message not from an authority figure, so less chance of the volunteer getting defensive."

Add your own thoughts here!

Introducing a Volunteer Newsletter

We’ve talked a lot about launching volunteer newsletters recently, but one of our community members had a more specific question: how do you introduce one to your volunteers? One of the best places to start is by involving volunteers themselves, as our community has shared below:

Facebook post stating:

Comments from the group

  • "When we introduced a new newsletter we talked about it everywhere and included volunteers in its development. We made sure it had things in it that our volunteers were interested in."

  • "Anytime I start [something] new…I do ask for volunteer input. Periodically, I poll my volunteers to see what type of content they want to see."

  • "I’d say something like: ‘Welcome to {name of newsletter}. Your monthly volunteer news from {your org}. This newsletter will focus on all things volunteering! You'll be the first to know about _________, _________ and _________. We hope our stories inspire you to _________ and stay connected. Have a great story to share? Reach out to be featured in next month's newsletter. Keep reading because this issue spotlights _____, _____ and ____. Thank you for volunteering!’"

Join the conversation here!