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Nonprofit: Reaching out to youth for volunteering and fundraising
Recruiting new volunteers can be a daunting task for a lot of nonprofits. Many people today are tapped—both for time and money. But have you thought about reaching out to a new generation of advocates for your cause? According to a recent survey conducted by DoSomething.org—one of the largest not-for-profit organizations aimed at youth driving social change—93% of young people report wanting to volunteer and more than half (54.2%) actually do. And the number one way they volunteer is through fundraising.As a nonprofit, you may want to take notice of this next generation of volunteers and figure out how to best appeal to and engage them. Keep reading for some helpful tips.

How to appeal to youth volunteers
When looking to recruit young volunteers and fundraisers, keep in mind, their motivators may be different than that of an adult. Below are some key things to take notice of:

  • Social, social, social: The social nature of volunteering plays a significant role in attracting young volunteers—in fact, 75.9% of those whose friends volunteered on a regular basis also volunteered as opposed to only 41.7% whose friends did not. And 57% of volunteers were invited to do so by a friend, family member or other adult versus having come up with the idea on his or her own. Keep this in mind when looking to recruit young volunteers or drive event attendance. Post events to social media and ask friends and followers to share your post and invite their friends. And offer a reward for those who bring a guest such as a logo’d tumbler or an iPad® sleeve.
  • Promote opportunities and coordinate with interests: There are many youth wanting to volunteer for a host of organizations with varied missions; however, they don’t because they are either unaware of what opportunities exist or they simply don’t know how to get involved. As a nonprofit, this presents a chance to promote your mission and accompanying volunteer opportunities to support it in schools, YMCAs and other popular, young adult hangouts. Keep in mind that matching interest with opportunity will provide you with the most engaged volunteers. Hand out small giveaways that let potential volunteers know you need their help. Imprint the message, “Be a volunteer,” on items such as a globe-shaped collapsible sports bottle or a key tag.
  • Young people can make great fundraisers: Young people are generally not going to be your large donors, but as stated above, the number one way they prefer to volunteer is through fundraising. So why not hit them up to ask for donations on your organization’s behalf? Today’s youth are generally open to soliciting their peers for donations … plus, many people are inspired to donate by young people who are trying to make a difference. Utilizing these youthful catalysts of social change as your secret weapon can be far more influential than cold calling, newsletter asks and campaign mailers. And don’t forget to reward their fundraising’ efforts with tiered level gifts such as hoodies, lunch bags and MP3 players.

Remember … don’t overlook this next generation of advocates for your cause. Keep in mind that the majority of young adults do indeed volunteer and if they don’t, close to all report wanting to in some way, shape or form. Tapping this young group of social changers may be just what your organization needs to take its fundraising efforts to the next level.

“The DoSomething.org Index of Young People and Volunteering 2012.”DoSomething.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 July 2013.

Youth Fundraising: Unlocking the Power of Young People to Fundraise (Part 2 of 2). Youth Fundraising: Unlocking the Power of Young People to Fundraise (Part 2 of 2). N.p., n.d. Web. 18 July 2013.

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