Today’s participation climate is flooded with volunteer opportunities for youth. They can join various campus and community clubs or councils tasked with raising awareness, conducting advocacy, or fundraising for large pockets of vulnerable populations around the world.
Popular examples of organizations engaging large groups of youth in this type of volunteering include Invisible Children, Free the Children, and Do Something.org. This type of volunteering is called indirect services, as the volunteer-to-client relationship is not peer to peer, but stretched across a vast network of stakeholders including educators, policy makers, the media and others.
It’s About Power
What makes this type of volunteerism so attractive and successful? I explored this question and others about youth engaged in indirect volunteering in my Masters research and will elaborate on one of the major themes: Power.
Indirect volunteering is highly empowering. Youth find indirect volunteering empowering because this type of volunteering allows them to educate, influence, and motivate others to do something about their issue of interest. This often involves starting “by youth, for youth” initiated campaigns where youth volunteers are in a position of leadership, educating key stakeholders in their service community. Read more at Volunteer Match here.