|Posted on June 25, 2010 at 12:31 PM|
With the resurgence in volunteerism inspired by the new president, you may be inundated with calls from people who have decided it is time to give back. It may be time to take a look at your volunteer program and spiff it up so that your volunteers will want to come and stay. Volunteers are not that hard to please.
This program of Volunteer Coordination is designed to give your agency the necessary tools and information about a few things volunteers have a right to expect from you - master these and you should be able to recruit and keep your volunteers. It also give you the information you need to give your volunteers so they know what you expect from them.
For some people, volunteering grows naturally out of an association with a group or because of a cause they passionately need to support. But for many others the desire to volunteer is more general - you know you want to do something, but you're not sure what, or with who, or for what cause.
At a time when many are worried that the United States is experiencing a general decline in civic and political engagement, volunteering appears particularly strong among today’s young people. While volunteering is just one form of community involvement, research has shown that it is often connected to other forms of engagement, and, among youth, volunteering plays a valuable role in shaping how youth learn to interact with their community and develop the skills, values and sense of empowerment necessary to become active citizens. (Corporation for National and Community Service 2005)
There is a large, growing youth population in the United States. Service learning and community service graduation requirements have increased awareness about volunteerism. Scholarship and university entrance requirements encourage students to gain volunteer experience. Studies show that young people are competent, reliable, committed volunteers when they find an organization that offers them meaningful work and respectful support.
The Corporation for National and Community Service released a study on youth volunteers in November 2005, as part of the Youth Helping America series, indicating 55% of people in the United States between the ages of 12 and 18 engaged in volunteer activities (15.5 million youth). These young people are volunteering at almost twice the rate of the adult population, which was reported to be 29% in the 2005 US Bureau of Labor Statistics Report. While more teens than adults volunteer, teens tend to volunteer less hours than adults, typically giving about 29 hours of service per year.
This survey reinforces previous surveys that suggested a growing interest in volunteerism among young people. This study reveals some additional interesting facts.
A youth with a parent that volunteers is nearly three times more likely to volunteer on a regular basis. The power of a mentor (parent or other significant adult) to influence volunteering had been confirmed in a variety of studies by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The overwhelming trend towards short term, episodic volunteering is consistent across a variety of age groups.
Organizations interested in engaging youth volunteers should design opportunities and projects that specifically appeal to today’s youth.
Young people today are much more globally aware than previous generations. They are interested in significant volunteer work that is directly connected to the mission or the cause.
Young people like collective action. They enjoy working collaboratively with all ages, but they also like to be treated as equals in the group. Young people prefer activities they can get their arms around and be involved in the entire project. They will bring additional resources to the project if they feel fully engaged.
The web offers young people an “at your fingertips” reference and referral service. Organizations need to be present on the Internet to attract and retain today’s youth.
Corporation for National Service (2005). Building Active Citizens: The Role of Social Institutions in Teen Volunteering. Brief 1 in the Youth Helping America Series. Washington, D.C. Downloaded December 1, 2005 at http://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/05_1130_LSA_YHA_study.pdf ; U.S. Department of Labor (2005). Volunteering in the United States. Washington D.C. Downloaded December 1, 2005: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/volun.toc.htm
Categories: CSIvi - Community Service Involvement, VI