It’s the holiday season, which means many find an increased level of generosity as their hearts fill with the holly jolly of Christmas to come.

While your organization is certainly thankful for this influx of support over the next couple months, you have to admit you’ve asked the question: How can I get these people to show up year-round?

Enter: story-telling.

Say what? All I have to do is tell stories?

Well, sort of. The longer answer is you need to have an effective communication plan in place for connecting with your volunteer database (ideally an up-to-date e-mail list). You need to send Thank You’s and make them aware of opportunities for volunteering. You also need to keep them in the loop about the impact your organization is having — because they helped create that impact.

And when volunteers understand the ways they are helping and connect that to the opportunities for giving back — they’re more likely to find themselves in a committed relationship with your organization.

Any committed relationship requires a little bit of work and nurturing. Stories help to create a volunteer that feels valuable — and when someone feels valued, they matter, and they’re happy to stick around.

So, as you prepare for the whirlwind of holiday generosity, make sure you have the following strategies in place in order to set yourself up for successful ongoing communication with your volunteers.

  1. Get everyone’s contact information, including their e-mail address, to build your database.
  2. If you’re not already sending out an e-mail newsletter on a regular basis, you need to get going on setting this up. There are e-mail marketing platforms out there such as Constant Contact or Mailchimp — plus a gazillion others. Find one you like, and start using it.
  3. Make note of all the memorable stories that happen during the holidays. Are there things that move you to tears? These are the success stories that need to be told later. Did a volunteer experience a life-changing event because of your organization? Write about how that volunteer benefited from helping others through your organization.

Confused about what types of stories will really matter to your audience? Check out more story-telling how-to’s on Lyssa’s blog.


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