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Inspiration Session
50 min

Getting Young People To Volunteer

May 21, 2024 10:00 AM
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Helping you to reach younger volunteers

Learn how to effectively engage young people in volunteer opportunities and empowering them to make a difference in their communities. Discover innovative approaches to youth outreach, community building and recruitment tailored to the unique interests and motivations of young volunteers. This session offers insights and best practices to help you mobilise youth towards meaningful social impact.

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Levi Witbaard
CEO Deedmob

The combination of a Communications degree, extensive experience in a software startup and a background in education and healthcare led Levi to Deedmob, where he started as the Head of Growth, after which he became CEO. Following the principle "alone you go faster, together you go further”, he combines the best of Marketing, Sales, Product and Customer Success to grow the impact for and with our partners.

If he’s not trying to crack the case of how to create scalable impact worldwide, he enjoys life in the form of his family, business books, helping out a the food bank, 10k+ steps a day, discovering local food, anime and investments in a greener tomorrow.

Laura Holland
Volunteering Coordinator Voluntary Norfolk

Voluntary Norfolk has over 50years of experience recruiting, training and supporting volunteers. Laura Holland has been with the organisation for 6 years and has built up a thorough understanding of how best way to encourage volunteering.

Since Voluntary Norfolk launched the Get InVOLved site in 2022, it has gone from strength to strength under her management. It now boasts more roles and more applications for those roles than comparable sites in the UK. She has also ensured that the website also highlights key areas of work that Voluntary Norfolk is seeking to develop and promote, e.g. employer supported volunteering, young trustees, etc. When not acting as the main point of contact for the site, Laura provides infrastructure support to organisations as well as helping individuals access some of the amazing volunteering roles listed on the website and coordinates the Norfolk Volunteer Passport training, a foundation course to support volunteers in their volunteering journey, successfully supporting 100 learners to complete the training and better support the voluntary sector in Norfolk.

Recap and Insights

Purpose: Discuss the importance of youth volunteering and strategies to effectively engage and retain young volunteers.

Challenges in Youth Volunteering:

  1. Perception and Awareness: Many young people see volunteering as an activity for older generations. They often lack awareness of volunteering opportunities and where to start.
  2. Logistical Issues: Young people's schedules, which include education and part-time jobs, create conflicts. Lack of transportation can also be a barrier.
  3. Communication Mismatch: Organisations often fail to use channels that resonate with younger audiences. Young people might not volunteer simply because they were not asked or are unaware of opportunities.

Benefits of Engaging Young Volunteers:

  1. Leadership Development: Volunteering helps youth develop skills for future careers and leadership roles.
  2. Fresh Perspectives: Young people bring new ideas, creativity, and a strong awareness of social issues.
  3. Innovation and Energy: Youth volunteers can inspire others and introduce innovative approaches to problem-solving.
  4. Building Connections: Volunteering fosters meaningful, lasting relationships within the community.

Effective Engagement Strategies:

  1. Flexible Opportunities: Offer roles that accommodate young people's schedules and interests.
  2. Peer-Led Initiatives: Use youth volunteer boards or coordinators to design and manage programmes.
  3. Digital Platforms: Leverage online communities and social media to connect and engage young volunteers.
  4. Recognition and Empowerment: Highlight the impact of their contributions and provide support while allowing them to take ownership of their roles.

Examples of Successful Youth Volunteering Programmes:

  1. State of Youth Platform: An online community for young change-makers to share experiences and drive action on global issues, powered by Deedmob.
  2. Oma's Soep: A charity in the Netherlands where students engage in flexible volunteering opportunities such as pen-pal programmes and soup delivery to the elderly. They also organise unique events like speed dating and gala parties for grandparents.

Overcoming Barriers:

  1. Policy Adjustments: Ensure organisational policies and insurance cover youth volunteering.
  2. Training and Support: Implement peer-led training programmes and online modules to reduce the burden of repetitive training.
  3. Risk Management: Develop or adapt risk management plans and collaborate with established youth programmes for better implementation.
  4. Consistent Offerings: Break down volunteer roles into flexible tasks while maintaining a consistent engagement strategy.
  5. Highlighting Impact Stories: Share compelling volunteer experiences to inspire and attract more young people.

Recruitment and Advertising:

  1. Creative Role Descriptions: Use engaging and fun titles like "Treasure Hunter" instead of "eBay Assistant" to attract young volunteers.
  2. Diverse Channels: Utilise social media, word of mouth, and traditional media like radio to reach potential youth volunteers.
  3. Involving Young People: Engage youth in content creation and decision-making to ensure the messaging resonates with their peers.

Support Systems:

Robust Policies: Have clear volunteer policies, especially around child protection and safeguarding.

  1. Parental Consent: Obtain written consent from parents or guardians for volunteers under 16.
  2. Regular Check-Ins: Provide consistent support and check-ins to ensure young volunteers feel valued and comfortable.

Additional Insights:

  1. Barriers to Volunteering: Limited time and the need for flexibility are major concerns for young volunteers.
  2. Support Needs: Young people require adequate support and recognition to feel motivated.
  3. Engagement Techniques: Use creative language in role descriptions, include images and videos, and involve young people in creating content.
  4. Local Schools and Colleges: Partner with educational institutions to reach young volunteers directly and integrate volunteering into school programmes.

Examples of Engagement Activities:

  1. Small Wins: Start with small, enjoyable tasks to build young people's confidence and interest in volunteering.
  2. Creative Campaigns: Run treasure hunts or other engaging activities at events to draw in young volunteers.

Conclusion: Organisations must start implementing these strategies immediately to secure the involvement of young volunteers who are crucial for the future. Continuous learning, adaptation, and creativity are key to effectively engaging and retaining youth in volunteering roles.