Is your organization looking to attract young volunteers? There are a lot of organizations looking for volunteers, and many more dreaming of recruiting millennial and other younger volunteers. This process is more than just recruiting, but also figuring out how to retain and foster these youth into a lifelong partnership of support.
Recruiting may involve social medial and a lot of word of mouth support. Get members talking about your organization and what you do, particularly highlighting efforts that benefit your community. Develop peer-to-peer relationships and consider their needs (like does your group serve only coffee and tea during meeting breaks? A little juice or soda and a few cookies will go a long way into making your younger volunteers feel included and part of the group). Get them involved in advising on outreach and fun activities. Many will have a feel for marketing and fun activities.1/
Think about first impressions--try not to scare them off no matter how excited you are to see them. If you are able to get a potential volunteer to show up, try not to immediately scare them off. Don’t assume that they are interested in performing the dirtiest, grueling, job available...they may have more to offer. A better way to start the conversation is to ask what they are interested in doing and how they see themselves helping the organization. Who knows they may have much grander plans and skills than what you have imagined.
Volunteering could be helping with a parade or other fun celebration!
Look for their ‘what’s in it for me’ and the ‘greater good’ goals. Explore these two areas, perhaps by telling stories, to clarify what they are willing and able to do, and how long they may want to work (at one time, over the month, etc.). There is a good chance that tasks that would ‘make a difference’ are going to be much more appealing and bring the volunteer back in the future. Look for opportunities.1/
Did the volunteer mention an educational requirement? Find out what they may need to get the credits which may be critical for graduation or getting into college. This might be a letter documenting their work, hours contributed, skills learned, a formal evaluation, and more. Make sure you understand what is needed and are able to guide activities so that everyone’s needs are achieved.
Share the fun. It may be difficult to give away a really fun assignment, that project may be just the thing to collaborate on. A youth volunteer is going to come in with some fresh ideas, different ways to get them done, and often an idealistic view. You both can learn from each other and have a good time doing it! One project that was very productive is getting youth involved in how to best market your organization. In most cases, they have been the target for marketing their whole lives and have a great feel for what works, and what doesn’t.
Say thank you and appreciate all they do. This is important for any volunteer of any age. It is also one of the most overlooked shortfalls. This might be a verbal thank you, formal letter, memento, or coveted award. Document, perhaps in a cover letter, what made their service so special, your undying appreciation, and award date. It will bring back wonderful memories of working for your organization in the future. Feeling unappreciated is the best way to buzzkill motivation of volunteers and employees in any organization. 2/
1 How To Attract More Young People To Volunteer At Your Nonprofit (https://bit.ly/2Z1m4xf)
2 Encourage The Young Ones: Inspiring Students To Volunteer (https://bit.ly/2QuiAQP)
Business Retention/ Recruitment and Expansion can take many forms. Our strong volunteering community demonstrates how dedicated we are to improving the quality of life here. Volunteering also helps support the local economy and is a valuable resource. Enjoy!