According to the report Volunteering in America, 4.4 million teenagers, ages 16 – 19, volunteered across the country in 2009. They gave nearly 390 million hours of service, mostly to education and youth service organizations.
That number totals 26 percent of all people in their age group—which is just slightly lower than the percentage of Americans overall (26.8%) who volunteer. 26% is great—but it’s down from a few years back, when over 30% of all teenagers volunteered some time in their communities. They raised funds, provided general labor, collected and distributed food, and mentored youth.
If you manage volunteers for a non-profit organization and need help, perhaps you should focus your efforts on the teens in your community, who may not know about your organization, its mission and its needs.
- Boost your social networking presence: Kids receive information through new ways—the internet and social networking, not phone books and newspapers. If your NPO does not have a well-designed and updated website, and isn’t on Facebook, you could be turning off a wide audience—including teens.
- Ask. Teens are much more likely to volunteer if they are just asked to do it.
- Ask some more. Ask for referrals. If you already have young volunteers, ask them to recruit their friends. A text from a friend is all many teens will need to jump on board. Ask older volunteers to mention the need to their young family members or neighbors. Ask everyone you see if they know a teen who would like to volunteer.
- Contact schools, youth groups and scouting organizations. Many are looking for places their kids can volunteer. They just need to know where kids are needed!
- Contact the National Home Education Network to reach homeschooling families.
When young people volunteer, everyone benefits. It’s a big confidence booster for them, and with the fresh ideas kids bring, it could even change the direction of your organization.