It’s true that youth volunteers (age 15-24) make up only a small percentage of today’s volunteer force, but it is crucial to work on your strategy to engage them in order to secure a more sustainable tomorrow for your organization.
It is said that only 7% of all volunteers in America fall under the recognition of ‘Youth Volunteers’. That’s remarkably low, however, it means one thing; there are a number of youth who are ready and able to volunteer. You must look at the positives and focus on calling to attention your organization to those few.
Today, we will look at ways to do just that.
How to Engage Young People for Your Organization
Here are a few of our top nonprofit management tips in terms of engaging today’s youth:
1. Use Social Media to Engage Youth Volunteers
It’s no secret that the youth of today have turned to the internet for most of their communicative needs. It has long been said that recruiting and marketing must all be done over social media mostly. However, how much commitment does your organization make to that?
If you’re not actively looking for new volunteers online, then what are you waiting for? You’re missing out on your biggest market.
2. Meet their Energy
Young volunteers are full of energy but often don’t know what to do with that. Give them an avenue to use their energy to get passionate about your cause. However that is, you must keep that in mind.
They have an extra reserve of energy that others don’t. Give them the resources to use that for good.
3. Give them an Opportunity to Meet Friends their Age
For whatever it is worth, young people want to be around other young people. They are social bees, just as the rest of us are. However, most youth feel uncomfortable or guarded when surrounded by people older than them.
By giving them the opportunity to be around other young people, you allow them to express themselves freely while volunteering. This will make them feel more comfortable around your organization.
4. Recognize their Efforts
Yes, we’ve heard it before. Millennials hold a certain level of entitlement and it’s true. They want to feel important to others just like anyone does. They want to be awarded, but that doesn’t mean financially or in ways that will cost your organization.
Give them a shoutout when on the job, tell them how much they’re helping the cause. Usually, that’s enough to keep anyone going. They just want to be recognized.
5. Give them Real Responsibility
There is nothing worse than feeling disrespected. And by giving them nonsense responsibility, you are not only wasting their time, but wasting an invaluable opportunity to help them grow.
Youth volunteers have an incomparable amount of potential that, if left untapped, will never realize their destiny. You must do all you can to open doors to them, let them grow, and become involved. This starts with giving them actual responsibility.
6. Respect their Education
Many youth volunteers are using the experience as a bridge between education and employment. Therefore, they will have a level of expectation to learn somethings that will help them in their career.
Make sure they are in a position to further their understanding of the on-goings of the world. Build an adequate bridge for them to move on to the next level of their young careers.
7. Understand that Some are Only There because it’s Required
Yes, it’s true that a lot of youth are only their because their high school/ university program requires a certain amount of volunteer hours or community service.
But just because it’s required doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be there – or that they won’t learn to love being there. This is an excellent opportunity for you to turn volunteers who are forced inside your doors to engaged citizens who are dedicated to your cause because it’s something they believe in.
8. Bridge the Gap Between Expectations and Actual Opportunities
Volunteers, no matter the age, usually come with unrealistic expectations of what they’ll be able to accomplish with their time giving back. They’re usually thinking big picture and will be unmotivated by the trappings of everyday task such as clerical work or anything that’s less than they expected.
The harsh reality they’ll have to learn is that these things must get done, too. What you can do is work on bridging that gap to help them understand that not every aspect of the role is about saving the world. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
9. Embrace their New Wave Skills
With their youth comes an automatic awareness for hot new trends and other aspects of life that aren’t in your radar. Embrace what skills they have and what they’re excited about. It could just be the next thing that puts your organization on the map.
Social media is only one example of this, but there are tons of other examples too.
10. Assign Tasks that can be Finished Virtually or Short-Term
This comes with respecting their time – but also realizing that much more can be done remotely than we anticipate. Youth volunteers have a knack for figuring things out on their own if you let them. That’s what the internet is for.
Therefore, realizing if a task can be done online or allowing them room to figure out how to speed up the processes is greatly important.
Motivating the Youth Volunteers!
Hopefully, we’ve given you a fair headstart in your task to motivate the youth volunteers of your community. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
If your organization is interested in the idea of partnering with our volunteers to tell fascinating stories within your organization, please send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org.