|Making projects, fundraisers and overall, your service club, appealing to younger members is important; they are the seasoned volunteers and passionate members of our future! Youth volunteers currently have the highest volunteer rate among Canadians (but commit the least amount of hours compared to all other age groups).
Volunteer Canada offers in-depth analysis of Canadian volunteers, highlighting certain age groups like youth. Whether you’re attracting youth, families or boomers, know that there are always ways to counteract barriers in reaching them.
Through the Bridging the Gap summary, we can get a better grasp on the characteristics of youth and these barriers. Using the info in the summary, we’ve identified a few strategies to help counteract barriers and make volunteering with Kin (and eventually becoming a Kin member) more appealing:
Lack of time to spend on long meetings
Offer flexibility at club meetings and other ways to communicate regarding club activities, meetings, socials, etc. Young people are busy; show compromise and flexibility to help deal with this barrier.
Lack of education on where to find volunteer hours
Promote your club and club events through numerous mediums: websites, all social media, schools (such as flyers in guidance offices), community centres, churches, sports arenas, malls, social hang-outs, online forums and libraries.
Club not meeting their expectations
Offer clear job descriptions, explain expectations and define what your club goals are and how they can help achieve them. Listen to their ideas. Respect and belief in the value of youth goes a long way.
Difficult to locate a service club in the community
Volunteer opportunities and contact information needs to be available online. If you create a website, use a domain name that is easy to remember (ex, www.prestonkinclubs.org). If you’re not using the internet to at the very least list your contact information, you’re missing out.
Communication is key in any relationship, especially while overcoming barriers. How can you communicate effectively with youth? Here are some tips:
Don’t manage; MENTOR
Don’t assign; EXPLAIN
Don’t dictate; SOLICIT
Don’t ignore; RESPOND
Don’t conceal; COMMUNICATE
Youth should be treated as equals, encouraged to express themselves, shown the value of our clubs and appreciated and recognized for their achievements.
How do you recruit youth volunteers or young members into your club?