Youth volunteers can be a great way to boost the energy of an organization — and get a lot done. Youth can provide enthusiasm and excitement while contributing in a large way to the organization’s mission. The youth also benefit by learning new skills, meeting new people, and of course earning those all-important volunteer hours that are now essential for college or job applications. Has your organization been hesitant to offer youth volunteer opportunities? It can be a win-win situation for both you and the volunteers if you keep these six tips in mind:
It’s very likely that this experience may be the first time that a young person volunteers. Keep that in mind when selecting a project and relating to the volunteer. Nothing is worse than a poor initial exposure to volunteerism for a youth volunteer.
A meaningful task is the most important aspect of a youth volunteer project. Limit clerical or fundraising projects to a minimum, and try to focus on projects where volunteers can truly see the impact of their work. The most popular projects usually include client-based work since youth appreciate being able to get to know the people or animals they’re helping.
Explain the Purpose
Make sure youth understand the purpose of the activity. Sometimes the most urgent volunteer need can be a mundane task (i.e. preparing litter boxes at an animal shelter). This can be a meaningful activity if you explain well the importance of the task. For example, explain how many litter boxes the shelter uses in a day and how many cats that helps. This helps the youth see that it’s an important task, even if it isn’t the most exciting.
Read more about hosting youth volunteers.