A bright future for young volunteers

In my pre-Christmas blog, I referenced how in the post pandemic period there had been a seismic shift in registrations away from “time-rich” volunteers and towards younger volunteers. That phenomenon is partly explained by health worries from the older volunteers and a new wave of enthusiasm for supporting the community from the younger end of the volunteering spectrum. This introduces a plethora of mediums we are able to use to communicate effectively with young people. Whether it is school assemblies, Fresher’s Fairs, the usual social media avenues or the latest apps, young people have never been as accessible as they are today. 

Face to face still has its place; we know that from a couple of recent visits to local schools and how the registration numbers rocketed in the days following that outreach. Not only do our team enjoy presenting to a Sixth Form assembly they also appreciate the feedback they get. Volunteering, as an experience, has to evolve constantly to the changing world we live in. On the digital side, the excellent work of our team ensures we maximise our reach and that effort is demonstrated by the profiles we receive. If there is a new digital app on the block we should take advantage of it, the days of Twitter and Facebook domination are over. 

Young people want more control over their time; the trend is towards bite-sized volunteering that makes a difference on the ground. Dozens of administration roles on our Team Kinetic base do not interest younger volunteers so volunteer centres need a full range of opportunities to entice applications. Similarly, Saturday shifts at a charity shop, whilst useful for those looking to experience work environments for the first time, are not attractive to these energetic young volunteers.  

I am not going to say everything in the garden is rosy when it comes to finding young people opportunities. Duke of Edinburgh opportunities for 13/14 year olds are very difficult to secure, mainly because the insurance industry makes life difficult for VIOs to be open to under 16s (and a few VIOs who mistakenly think safeguarding measures are too much bureaucracy) and work is needed to turn that around. Though, overall, it is a good period in the Volunteering sector for bringing in new blood, enthusiasm, and a wave of committed young people who will create a positive impact. The future is looking bright.


By Michael Green