Welcome to part two in our April Advocates series! Earlier this month, we shared tips for how to recruit your advocates, now let’s discuss how to train them to unleash their full potential.
Training your advocates is key to ensuring their success. A thoughtful and thorough training, paired with excellent communication sets them up to help you achieve your goals.
- Resources, resources, resources! When it comes to training resources and tools, we say the more, the merrier. Appeal to different learning styles by providing instructions in different formats (text, images, screenshots, screen recordings, videos, webinars, etc.). Here are some examples of resources that can help your advocates be successful.
Explaining the why: Be sure your advocates know WHY their role is important and how they will help their institution be successful.
- Providing impact stories of past advocacy efforts: You’ve explained the why, now show the impact of past advocacy efforts. Provide statistics on what advocates have made possible for your institution. Invite a superstar volunteer to attend one of your training so they can tell their story.
- A one page job description: It is important to set expectations with advocates from the very beginning. Providing them with a job description that includes their duties, time commitment, and the support they will get for you will enable advocates to get a clear understanding of their role and how they will get the support necessary to be successful.
- Provide enablement materials: Give your advocates templates to make their work easier, such as sample emails, phone scripts, and text messages. Also include a social media toolkit that includes all of your branding materials, such as accounts to tag, official hashtags, post templates, and graphics to use with each post. While these templates are great, be sure to encourage your advocates to personalize each post and put their voice in it. The more authentic the messaging, the more successful it will be.
- Pick the right toolbelt. Consider hosting an ‘Advocate Toolkit’ page on your institution’s website, and link to it in Advocate outreach and from your campaign’s about section. The toolkit should include all of the information necessary to make your advocates be successful. Additionally, some schools choose to create dedicated Facebook groups to post resources and instructions. Another great place to store some of this information is using your volunteer management platform, such as GiveCampus’s VMS. This is a place where you can store email and text templates and make it easy for your advocates to communicate with their peers right for the application.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. . . and then communicate with your Advocates some more. Keep your advocates informed of any updates and the timeline of their tasks. Empower your advocates to be successful and to reach out to you if they have any questions or need help. Open lines of communication help to show your advocates how important their role is.
Now that we have talked about recruiting and training advocates, next up in the series is mobilizing and stewarding your advocates. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, reach out to our team if you want to learn more about our Volunteer Management System, which allows your advocates to mass outreach customized messages to their peers in three clicks! Click here to schedule an intro call to learn more.