Advice for stronger interactions with young volunteers

November 12, 2014

Advice for stronger interactions with young volunteers

Teenagers and young adults can make up a significant portion of a nonprofit's volunteer force. Not only are these youthful groups more capable to do physical tasks some organizations need to complete a specific program or plan, they also tend to be more idealistic and excited to work with a charitable organization. For these two reasons – and many more – young volunteers can be powerful partners for nonprofit staff and help groups better fulfill their missions. To maximize younger volunteers' impact here are a few tips for effective engagement:

  • Young people have different perspectives: VolunteerMatch pointed out that young volunteers, and young people in general, often have a different perspective than adults. They can be more ready to think outside the box and craft innovate solutions to problems. Nonprofit staff should consider this different approach to thinking as a valuable resource, along with the physical and clerical work young volunteers can do.
  • Challenge them: For teens and young adults, a challenge can be an effective way to increase their productivity. Staff should consider this aspect and think about emphasizing a good-natured competition between groups of volunteers. This is a general best practice for working with volunteers, but can be particularly effective when it comes to the attitudes and enthusiasm of younger participants.
  • Allow them to lead: The chance to lead is rare enough for adult volunteers and can be almost nonexistent for young people. Volunteer Maine suggested providing leadership opportunities as a type of incentive and a motivational tool. This approach can help to boost the confidence of young volunteers and improve their effectiveness for the nonprofit.

Content presented by First Nonprofit Group, the leading provider of state unemployment insurance solutions for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers.

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