Last month, we shared a blog post titled “5 Working Ways to Engage Students in Volunteering”. In this update, we’ll expand on that post to include additional tips that help you maximize your recruitment and engagement efforts for student volunteers.
Guest post by Nicole Boyer
Volunteering is more than spending one’s time actively participating in selfless acts or activities that benefit other people. It has a greater impact on society as a whole. Volunteers are of great help to the community as they immerse themselves in a pool of opportunities. These opportunities are one reason why we need to encourage more students to volunteer.
By volunteering, students develop life skills and become well-rounded individuals.
Starting young provides an opportunity for students to learn and grow into valuable members of society. They develop life skills as they get immersed in activities that are outside of their comfort zones. They become socially aware and learn to appreciate their life and value what they have, especially when they realize that their problems would seem like a vacation for most people.
Another benefit is volunteering help students get into college. Volunteering helps students become competent, employable, and better meet their learning objectives.
Another opportunity to take advantage of is becoming competent and employable after meeting all learning objectives. Volunteering also serves as a training ground for honing students’ skills. This will give them an edge over those who do not have any volunteer experience. Encourage them to join volunteer programs during school breaks or over the summer.
Employers seek volunteer experience from fresh graduates.
As mentioned, employable skills develop by volunteering because it serves as supplemental training. Employers prefer hiring fresh graduates with volunteer experience. It shows commitment and a sense of responsibility. Volunteers are reliable, selfless, responsible, and willing to do more than what is asked even without monetary compensation. These are qualities that employers look for when hiring fresh graduates.
We’ve outlined a few of the benefits of volunteering. But how do we motivate students to devote more time to volunteer work?
1. Define the purpose.
Defining the real purpose of why they should volunteer is a great way to motivate them. Earning extra credit for school or gaining new skills are poor motivators. They must understand the real impact of volunteering. Try to explain to them the weight of what they’re about to do and how they can make a difference in the world. Give them a purpose and let them take it from there.
2. Allow them to be independent.
Grant them the full autonomy for their choices and decisions. No one likes being forced to do something. Letting them be independent can make them feel like they are trusted, and by human nature, the more trust being placed to a person, the more responsible they become.
3. Empathize with them.
Most of the time, adults forget to empathize with their kids. By nature, when one doesn’t feel understood, they will never try to understand. If they are not up to volunteering, do not dismiss it as them being irresponsible and selfish. Try to understand where they are coming from and maybe, both parties will agree to compromise. Sometimes, empathy is all it takes to be able to motivate or encourage them to volunteer.
4. Lead them by example.
Always walk your talk. Kids, especially teenagers, may not be the best at listening to parents or elders. Yet, they may begin to imitate the actions of adults. If they see adults put their passion into good use, they will be inspired to do the same.
5. Provide fun learning activities.
Some students think that volunteer work is boring, tiring, and requires too much time and physical strength. Fun is one of the best motivators. Add fun to your volunteer opportunity by incorporating activities like games into learning activities.
This is especially good if the volunteer work is for a group of kids from poor communities. It will create a bond between volunteers and the kids. Also, it will help volunteers avoid all the stress of volunteering.
6. Provide positive feedback and recognize their efforts.
Feeling unappreciated is the best way to kill motivation, especially when you are doing something that is actually making a difference. When you tell people you appreciate what they do, they tend to do more of it. Recognize their efforts and they will work harder.
Universities and educational institutions can show their appreciation of student volunteers’ efforts by giving them extra credit.
Parents, educational institutions, and universities should work together to inspire volunteerism among the youth through programs that are aimed at encouraging their civic behavior.
Create more opportunities for volunteer work and inspire young people to volunteer by encouraging them to start young. Give them purpose and let them do the work. Appreciate their efforts and eventually, they will work hard and reap the benefits. They will grow up as well-rounded individuals that are competent, socially aware, and useful members of their society. Volunteering can also help them succeed in life when they embark on a new journey after college.
Author Bio: Nicole Boyer is a web designer and contributing blogger for several websites. She is dedicated to making this world a better place. Nicole believes that by helping each other we can go much further. Connect with Nicole on Twitter.