How to Recruit and Engage Youth Volunteers

Youth volunteers bring vitality and excitement to a nonprofit. Their energy can give your full-time staff a boost, and their interest in your cause could help sustain your organization for years to come. But how do you reach out to local youth? Use these creative strategies to engage young volunteers and encourage them to assist you.

Keep Track of Hours With Flair

Many teens have to log a certain number of service hours to graduate from high school or earn honors. They’ll need to track their hours to ensure they hit the magic number. Make this process into a celebration by posting a colorful chart on the wall where they can record their volunteer time. Offer funny bonuses to the people who lead the time, such as a gold hat or shirt they can wear during volunteer shifts.

Encourage Teens to Bring a Friend

One basic way to engage youth volunteers is to remember that kids are social. Ask them to bring a friend the next time they volunteer. You can even make it into a competition, seeing who can recruit the most friends over a one-month period.

Reach out to Church Youth Groups

Many youth groups undertake service projects. Connect with clubs in your area to get assistance with large tasks that require a lot of manpower. Many churches can supply dozens of teens at a time, so make sure you have enough supervision to look after everyone.

Give the Volunteers Fun Swag

Teens love little extras they can get from giving time to a great cause. Buying them matching T-shirts to wear during an all-day event, for example, is a great way to reward them while also letting people know they’re part of your organization. Other fun opportunities for swag include giving volunteers at a 5K free water bottles or handing everyone who sorts your donations a free pen.

Connect With Teens on Social Media

No list of tips on recruiting youth volunteers would be complete without mentioning social media. Kids communicate through these channels every day, and reaching out to them there is a fantastic way to make connections. With their permission, tag your volunteers in posts about what they’ve done for your group, and encourage them to share. Their friends will see what they did and may come knocking at your door to volunteer as well.

Use Online Platforms to Schedule Shifts

Kids rely on their phones to set their schedules. Allowing them to sign up for shifts online and sending them text messages to remind them of their commitments is a must for any volunteer group working with teens. Use volunteer management software such as Volgistics — you can contact us to set up a free demo.

Use this list of best practices to engage young volunteers to help your organization with retention and recruitment. If you get young people interested now, they’ll want to continue with your organization, giving you a rich and experienced pool of volunteers for years to come.

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