Communicating with Members

One of the cornerstones of effective relationships is effective communication. The place to start forging these communication links is during orientation, but sometimes the link can grow weak when members are scattered across multiple sites.

Here's how three veteran program directors deal with this challenge:

Kate Douton of Ocean State Environmental Education Collaborative (Providence, RI) has members at three sites. Because Rhode Island is such a small state, she's able to visit members and check-in at least once a week. She also sends out frequent e-mails.


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Addell Anderson of Michigan AmeriCorps Partnership (Detroit, MI) also makes heavy use of e-mail. She lets members know during orientation that they can phone or message her anytime. She often connects her weekly e-mails to journal prompts that are discussed in monthly meetings. For more on prompts, check out reflection topics in the EnCorps collection.


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Lee Gault of Montana Conservation Corps (Bozeman, MT) has crews deep in the woods, at sites almost 1,000 miles apart. He relies on written communications and biweekly reports to keep up with what members are thinking and doing. For more on reports, read the tips in the EnCorps collection.


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These three supervisors also suggest:

  • Use paper or electronic newsletters to share what's going on and recognize members' efforts.
  • Use Internet tools like Google calendar to let people know about mandatory meetings and local events. (For more on using technology to connect members, check out these ideas (PDF) in the EnCorps collection.)
  • Send birthday cards to members, to let them know you think of them as individuals.
  • Incorporate communication-building exercises into your regular trainings (For some ideas, see the section on designing effective training in EnCorps.)












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