Knowing what internal communication tools an organization needs is an important step after determining the goals and the recipients of information. An organization’s internal communication plan must include these tools and, to reach this plan, a good option would be to do a brainstorming exercise. What internal communication tools could I use in my organization? How can I best reach out to my target audience and how can I foster participation?
There are many types of tools; the range includes the more traditional off-line channels and also on-line channels that have gained in popularity since the emergence of social media and thanks to technology. At all times, these channels should adapt to the messages that the organizations share and disseminate. Also, this must go hand in hand with the latest trends in internal communication, such as participatory activities, gamification or the importance of visual contents, which leads us to provide a list of 10 useful internal communication channels for volunteering organizations.
One of the most useful internal communication tools when compiling information for research of after an event are surveys. For example, the XES Social Balance, sends out an on-line survey to its member organizations to determine if they are socially responsible. Anonymous surveys can be useful to find out the level of satisfaction of volunteers, of a team of persons, or about the success level of a course or event to come up with a set of indicators.
In a similar way to surveys, manuals can be an on-line or off-line tool. Internal manuals provide information on the organizational culture so that its staff can learn about certain aspects. One example of this would be the Volunteer Management Manual, an on-boarding guide for volunteers.
The intranet is a tool that can be used to integrate all of an organization’s internal documents, listings and bulletins. The intranet is also useful to improve participation using internal forums and chats. Some of the tools used by organizations are SinergiaCRM, an internal management tool for third-sector organizations, or the Moodle platform, an educational tool for its members to share knowledge.
There are several option when it comes to including social media into an organization’s internal communication strategy. On the one hand, it is possible to use existing networks such al LinkedIn or Whatsapp as a way for an organization’s members to communicate, whether they are staff or volunteers; or, another option is to implement networks exclusively for an organization’s members, such as Yammer or Confluence.
This can either be physical or digital. Through this box the team can submit suggestions for improvements for the organization. It may be useful to have an annual review of the suggestions submitted and establish a procedure to receive and study the suggestions received.
Organizations may want to send out digital news on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis, based on the amount of information they generate. These newsletters may be for internal use and contain the latest news.
Blogs and Wikis
Participation channels such as blogs or wikis are a good way to share knowledge efficiently and to exchange information. The Alba association, for instance, has blogs for its educational centres, schools and homes where it intervenes, to spread news on the projects so that those following the projects can stay informed on what the organization is doing.
Social activities and internal events
A celebration is a good way of internally communicating and helps bring a team together and make its members feel they belong. For instance, to mark an anniversary, an organization may organize a party for its members. Training sessions are also a way of explaining new procedures to an organization’s members.
This communication tools is very effective and helps mobilization. There could be general meetings or smaller meetings for a concrete group within an organization. The Catalan Federation of Social Volunteering, for instance, organizes informational sessions for volunteers for anyone who may be interested in volunteering.
One of the clearest trends in the field of communication is the growing use of videos and visual contents. An organization’s management may use a video to its members instead of a letter with a much greater impact and efficiency. Using images and audiovisual supports make it easier to convey feelings like happiness, concern or motivation.