Wednesday, April 10, 2013

4 Steps To Engaging Young Volunteers

Peer pressure is generally viewed as a bad thing but when it comes to getting young volunteers for your nonprofit, it does have its merits.

According to New York City-based's data scientist Bob Filbin, one of the number one motivations for volunteering among high school and college students was that their friends were doing it. This was revealed in on of Filbin's studies, “The Index on Young People and Volunteering 2012.”

“Volunteering, like everything else, is about blending in, making friends and having a good time,” said Filbin. Here are four things to keep in mind when recruiting young volunteers:

  • Make volunteering a social activity. If your organization’s activity can be done by a single volunteer or from home, it’s probably not a good fit for young volunteers.
  • Young volunteers need to see the impact. You’ll have a tough time getting them excited about installing energy-efficient light bulbs, but a park cleanup will draw them in droves.
  • Make sure the activity is close to where young people live and spend time. Transportation issues often prevent young people from volunteering.
  • One-off activities and those that allow for a variable time commitment are best for youth. Plan your volunteering like you would a party, said Filbin: “Teens often decide to go last minute, avoid showing up early, and almost never stay until the end.”

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