4 Steps to Attract Youth Volunteers

Everyone in your organisation can benefit from the energy and passion of youth volunteers. They bring fresh insights, innovative ideas, and boundless creativity to your mission/purpose, all while spreading the word about the good work your organisation performs.

Authored by: iClick2Learn Team

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How to Attract Youth Volunteers

Volunteers are essential to the success of most not-for-profit organisations. If you’re currently recruiting, you might be wondering how to attract more youth volunteers to your team. 

Bringing in young people has many benefits:

  • They have a unique perspective, including valuable insight into engaging supporters and donors of their generation
  • If they become engaged with your cause at a young age, they’re more likely to remain a lifelong partner or supporter
  • They have a lot of energy and enthusiasm
  • Younger people tend to be teachable, resilient, and excited
  • They love sharing volunteer experiences with their social circles and through social media, spreading awareness and attracting volunteers and supporters

Everyone in your organisation can benefit from the energy and passion of youth volunteers. They bring fresh insights, innovative ideas, and boundless creativity to your mission/purpose, all while spreading the word about the good work your organisation performs. 

Why You Should Encourage Youth Volunteers

Encouraging youth volunteers is important. Fresh faces and strategies are critical in any organisation looking to remain relevant and effective. Further, volunteer work has many benefits for the youth themselves. 

Many young people are passionate about giving back to their communities and improving the world around them. But you can also remind them of the wonderful personal benefits they’ll receive as volunteers.

Benefits of youth volunteering include:

  • Exploring and discovering new interests
  • Expanding their social circle
  • Boosting self-esteem
  • Stronger college applications
  • Increasing empathy
  • Supporting mental health
  • Training and experience that helps with future employment

Encouraging youth volunteers benefits your organisation and the broader community. It also enriches the lives of the young people who get to share their unique contributions in an empowering way. 

1. Engage Youth Volunteers With Technology

It’s no secret that young people love technology. They are digitally connected and highly interested in telling, sharing, and experiencing stories online. Young people are so attached to technology (especially social media) that they might not find your organisation attractive – or even hear of it–if you don’t have an online presence.

To attract youth volunteers, your organisation should have at least one social media account that’s regularly checked and managed. Consistent posting and engagement are important to young people. They like the immediacy of reaching out through social media and hearing back in a matter of hours. Also, they value being part of a community that’s communicative and connected.

A few things to keep in mind when communicating with youth:

  • They probably expect to hear back in under 24 hours
  • They might prefer text to a phone call or email
  • They love social media call outs and engagement – if they comment under your Instagram post, try to respond promptly to keep them engaged
  • They like to see visual accounts of what’s going on in your organisation, so try and post plenty of photos on social media if you can
  • Ask questions and request feedback in your social posts – it’s all about getting a conversation going

2. Tell a Compelling Story

Similar to point one, youth are highly interested in hearing your organisation’s compelling story. The narrative behind what your organisation does and who it helps should be shared and shared often. 

Here are some ideas for creating a compelling story:

  • Have an attractive, simple online presence: a user-friendly website, a well-maintained Instagram page, etc.
  • Include a lot of photos–youth like to see what your org looks like in action
  • Be very clear about your organisation’s culture and values: youth are especially interested in social causes, equality, advocating for underrepresented communities, caring for the environment, etc. Make your mission/purpose clear and talk about it with passion
  • Explain how your organisation helps people and the globe–make your Instagram Bio and About Us Page clear, concise, and aspirational

Remember–youth are interested in stories, especially concise ones: think TikTok, Instagram Stories, Snapchat, or YouTube. If your organisation can keep one of these channels updated with fresh, lively content, that’s a huge bonus for engaging youth volunteers. 

Try and keep a friendly, welcoming, optimistic tone when engaging young people. Keep in mind they are still working out their interests and passions, so it’s helpful to focus on the unique good your organisation is accomplishing in the world.

3. Offer Incentives

Many young people have specific goals that can be advanced with a bit of help from your organisation. 

You might be able to offer your youth volunteers:

  • References for resumes
  • Assistance with college and university admissions
  • An internship program or position
  • Scholarships
  • Invaluable work experience

If you can offer any type of incentive to your youth volunteers, focus on this early and often. Be specific, and spread the word. Leverage your social media accounts and the youth already involved with your organisation to let young people know volunteering can help give them a brighter future.

4. Explain the Impact of Their Role

One thing that’s very important to young people is understanding where they fit and why they matter. You can make your volunteer opportunities stand out by giving young people a clear job description and explanation of why the work is essential and valued.

Like the rest of us, young people want to know the impact of their work. Consider making some short videos showing volunteers in action as well as speaking about their personal experiences. These little slices of life make a great addition to your website or social pages. Plus, they help youth volunteers envision themselves in a similar role. 

How to Attract Youth Volunteers: Conclusion

Today’s youth are increasingly passionate about giving back and getting involved. That’s excellent news for any not-for-profit looking to bring young people on board to help advance its vital work. 

As you attract young people who align with your mission/purpose, you’ll be able to collect their feedback and insight on recruitment and volunteering within your organisation. Most likely, you will find their perspective invaluable, and they can help your organisation hone its youth recruitment processes.

Check out our Youth Volunteer Checklist for a more in-depth look at how you can make your recruiting processes more welcoming to young people.

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