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Why should we care about having young volunteers?

In this article, Gbotemi, Community Southwark's work experience student explores why community groups should recruit young volunteers. 

In this article, Gbotemi, Community Southwark’s work experience student explores why community groups should recruit young volunteers.

There are 2 reasons why recruiting the youth should be high on your priority list:  

  • It is an investment 

Moving aside from the obvious point of free labour, looking for young volunteers is the best investment one can make as the head of an NGO. This is because should a volunteer decide to stay for long enough, they may eventually be seen as fit to fulfill a senior role. 

 This is more beneficial than looking externally for someone to fill the vacancy because someone who was willing to work at your organisation for free for years is more trustworthy than any external aspirant, with who there is nobody within the company to back up any part of their CV. 

  • It is a form of extended work experience 

The biggest benefit to having a young volunteer is the benefit to the volunteer. They gain valuable experience in their time working for you, experience which then can be put towards achieving their aspirations to have a more stable form of income.  

They learn skills that they can’t in school, college/sixth form, or even university, which they can apply to a version in which they can make money from them and get by in this world.  

As a charity organisation, which pledges to help people, it is your responsibility to assist young people in this process.  

Steps to make Volunteering easier for young people: 

 

1: Accessibility 

How do you expect a child to express interest in a role if they never hear about it, or have easy access to it? 

I bet if work experience wasn’t mandatory, then many students would never end up doing it. This is not simply because younger people are “lazy”, but because the larger organizations are perceived by many to be ‘too big’ to work at such a young age. Similarly, many may just not hear about it, and end up getting robbed of an opportunity. 

 It is therefore the responsibility of all organizations that wish to offer volunteering roles to younger people to make sure they hear about it and ensure the application process is simple. 

  1. Relatability

To make a role seem suitable for a young person, it would help to make it seem familiar to them on some level. I don’t suggest drowning your leaflets in the memes you see your children laughing at on TikTok, however any form of advertisement must be made both easy for them to understand and appealing to their interests. 

To do this, it may help to get a young volunteer already recruited to assist in advertising. In addition, the youngest recruits should be surrounded by relatively young volunteers. This helps the young recruits feel welcome in their position and gives them someone to model themselves off of as opposed to someone with a mortgage and kids. 

  1. Inclusion in activities/assignments that range from low to high difficulty

Obviously a newly recruited volunteer may struggle with high level tasks-specifically if they are young. Despite this, as they complete more tasks and evolve as a worker, it is vital that the volunteer gets the experience of being a valued worker, regardless of their age, meaning that they are assigned tasks based on their maturity and their ability.  

The organization must be able to put their full trust into the volunteer to complete the task, even if it is a high stake one, as this will provide them with a clear gateway of assuming a high position job, or simply taking a more central position within the organization. Sticking the youngest person with the easiest task limits this process and makes them believe that they are incapable of doing anything of any value, making them question their true position in the organization.