Teen Leadership: How to Find and Retain Volunteers for Your Teen Leadership Programs

Youth leadership classes are impossible to run without adequate staffing, but your budget may not allow for enough employees to implement quality teen leadership training activities. Therefore, it is important to be able to recruit, train, and retain volunteers to help you.

How to Recruit Volunteers

Since it is not common for individuals to come to your organization looking to volunteer, chances are that you will have to go out and find them. However, don't despair, helpful and capable volunteers may not be as far away as you think. It is simply a matter of knowing good methods of finding them. Then recruiting volunteers becomes fairly simple.

People in Your Community

    Look for community members who spend time at your school or community center and are already willing to help out. This method of recruiting can be your best method of finding good volunteers.
    Talk to older teens who show up regularly and have extra time outside of school.
    Talk to parents who are helping other kids with their homework, or playing sports with them.
    Send flyers home for parents to learn about volunteer opportunities.

These people are local community members who already have a vested interest in how well things are going at your school or community center, so ask if they would like to help with your program.

Volunteer Websites

For additional help, another proven method for recruiting volunteers is volunteer websites. This method is very simple:

    List your organization, its mission, and the volunteer positions that you have available. Make it very inspiring by telling stories about the participants in the leadership classes.
    Interested volunteers will call or e-mail you to find out more.
    You can then bring them in for an interview and determine their level of ability and how good a fit they are for your school or organization.
    You should also stress to them why they would value and enjoy volunteering at your school or center.

Training Volunteers Is Essential

Training volunteers is essential to having quality programming. The best method for training volunteers is to give them an orientation to your program and your way of running activities.

It is very important for standards to be given at the outset, as this prevents any misunderstandings or poor habits from taking place. You will also want to meet with your volunteers periodically to go over problems and discuss ways of handling them in a professional manner.

4 Keys to Retaining Volunteers

The time you spend recruiting and training volunteers will be wasted if you are unable to retain them. Here are 4 keys to volunteer retention.

    Make your school or community center a place that they will want to return to on a regular basis.
    Give them the tools and resources to do a good job.
    Provide a quality work and a structure that allows volunteers to feel good about the work they are doing and the school or center they are working with.
    Provide them with some non-monetary benefits to thank them for donating their free time. This can be in the form of a free membership, recognition certificates, letters of appreciation from the participants, etc.

Article Source: Dan Meyerson

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