Engage Youth in Summer Volunteerism

Summer's here and that means that students are looking for work. Many students are also interested in building up their list of experiences to help them gain entry to post-secondary schools and gain other types of employment. Nonprofit organizations can always benefit from the influx of students' free time over the summer months. Here are some ideas to help your nonprofit engage youth in volunteerism this summer.

Develop an online presence

Many students conduct their job searches online. Does your nonprofit have a cohesive website with all applicable contact information? Do you have any social media profiles that will help students find and connect with you? Are you listed on aggregate websites such as Charity Vault or Volunteer Victoria? Keep your online profiles and website up-to-date. Use active language that excites students to get involved with your organization. Update your website and profiles regularly so that visitors know that you're paying attention to them. If you're tight on staff resources this could be an excellent opportunity for a student.

Offer the "dream job"

Highlight exciting youth opportunities with your organization. Let the students know that you're keen to have them on board. Clearly define what you're looking for and how they can help you, as well as any time requirements that you're aware of.

Seek out school career centres

This is a first stop for many students in their job hunts. Approach school counselors with any interesting opportunities your organization has.

Develop a speakers council

Train students to promote your organization to their peers. Whether it's on a casual, word-of-mouth basis or more formal presentations, students always respond positively to their peers.

Provide mentors

Find leaders in the community who will prove to be strong mentors for youth. The chance to work with a well-known figure is a great incentive for motivated students to get involved with a movement or organization.

Host special events

Events are a great way to get the community's attention throughout the year and highlight exciting projects that your organization is working on. Hosting a waterway cleanup, family fun day, or Christmas coat drive, for example, is a good way to recruit volunteers who may be interested in returning to work further with your organization. Show students that your nonprofit organization is doing interesting, meaningful work – and that by volunteering they can help affect change. Be engaged with your community as a whole – your neighbourhood, your online community, your target demographic, and your city. Students are highly motivated to work with groups creating positive change in the world. Get them interested in your projects and you'll have no shortage of extra hands this summer. Leah Baade is the Youth in Philanthropy and Social Media Coordinator at the Victoria Foundation. Please contact Leah for more information.