How to Get Children Involved in Kid-Friendly Volunteer Roles
As a nonprofit leader, the need for volunteer support is an ongoing gap that you aim to fill every day. Between social media marketing, nonprofit storytelling, and direct outreach, your efforts to cultivate a base of committed volunteers are never-ending. But there may be a group of willing volunteers that you’ve previously overlooked: children!
Kid-friendly volunteer opportunities not only give your nonprofit a helping hand, but studies show that youth volunteerism is also associated with improved overall health and wellness. In this guide, we’ll explore three ways your nonprofit can get children involved in kid-friendly volunteer roles:
- Reach out to role models
- Plan engaging activities
- Promote volunteer opportunities
If you’re not providing opportunities for kids to get involved with your cause, you’re missing out on valuable help and the chance to secure long-term support. Get started with the following tips!
Reach out to role models
Children are more likely to do something when they see others doing it, including volunteer work! While you likely won’t market volunteer opportunities directly to children, you can influence their role models, such as:
- Parents: Any donors or existing volunteers who have children are excellent role models of giving and serving. They’re already passionate about your cause, meaning there’s a good chance they’ll talk to their kids about your organization. Plus, parents who are already familiar with your cause and operations will likely trust your nonprofit with creating roles for their kids.
- Ministry leaders and churches: Kids who go to church regularly will likely learn about the importance of giving generously from church leaders, children’s ministry curriculum, or general religious principles. Since your volunteer program is a primary way to serve others, you might partner with ministry leaders to encourage kids (and their families) to put their faith into action.
- Teachers: Students might already be familiar with fundraising on behalf of their school, but there are countless opportunities for teachers and faculty members to encourage volunteering. Partner with local schools and let teachers motivate students to pursue volunteer opportunities.
You can identify parents, ministry leaders, and teachers through information collected in previous prospect research, volunteer events, and other donor data resources. You could also look for churches in your area! By reaching out to the adults who have significant impacts on kids’ lives, you’ll gain a direct gateway to market your volunteer opportunity and find kids who are willing to give back.
Plan engaging activities
Any activity that involves kids must be engaging to capture their attention, and the best way to discover what they would enjoy is by simply asking! For example, teachers might survey their classes to find out what extracurricular activities would be most appealing to the student population. Or, children’s ministry leaders could ask kids directly for their ideas about engaging curriculum resources, as recommended by Wonder Ink’s curriculum guide.
When it comes to volunteering, the same method can be effective. If you have the resources to connect with kids through donors or volunteers who are parents, consider surveying them and asking what they’d like to help out with.
You should also think about the roles you need volunteers to fill. Some require specific skill sets, such as experience with photography to contribute to the marketing team. Other tasks are less skill-specific and appeal to a broader range of volunteers, such as:
- Interacting with beneficiaries: No matter what group your nonprofit serves, your beneficiaries need special attention. It can be hard to focus on those interactions when you’re busy with the administrative tasks involved in serving them, so enlist kids to interact with your beneficiaries. For example, an animal-related nonprofit might ask kids to play with the animals.
- Managing supplies: Depending on your organization, you might need an extra set of hands to organize supplies or create materials for your cause. For example, a group of kids could assemble sack lunches for a food bank to pass out to residents of a low-income community.
- Cleaning facilities: Recruit kids to help with the upkeep of your nonprofit’s building and outdoor landscape. This could include anything from sweeping floors to weeding flower beds to planting flowers, as long as relevant safety measures are in place.
To further engage kids, gamify the volunteer tasks by encouraging healthy competition or tracking the volunteer team’s progress. Recognizing and calling out their hard work is a great volunteer retention strategy that will give kids (and most adults) a sense of accomplishment and keep them coming back.
Plan to provide all necessary details about the position to parents or guardians. They’ll appreciate your transparency and will be more likely to allow their kids to volunteer when they know exactly what the role entails. Plus, you’ll be better prepared to address any safety concerns as they arise.
Promote volunteer opportunities
Once you’ve identified your audience and planned engaging activities, it’s time to get the word out about your opportunity. According to Funds2Org’s volunteer recruitment strategies guide, you can increase volunteer interest by leveraging your online presence. Garner support for your volunteer program by spreading awareness through online channels such as:
- Social media: Create various posts about your kid-friendly volunteer program. With parents’ permission, you can even post pictures of your current kid volunteers in action to show the program’s potential for fun and impact.
- Email: A strong email campaign targeting current donors and volunteers can help you identify existing supporters who may want their kids to get involved. Include background information on the volunteer roles and list the benefits of youth volunteerism. You can also include infographics or images for visual appeal.
- Your website: Create a dedicated landing page on your website for child volunteering opportunities. Include thorough descriptions of each role for curious parents and an easy-to-use application form. For more visibility, you can promote the page using the Google Ad Grant.
Remember, kids will be influenced by the social circles they’re in daily. Aim to appeal to those interests, such as sports or religious spheres. For example, kids will likely learn about the importance of serving others in church through the lessons offered by their church’s curriculum provider.
When you promote your volunteer program’s ability to serve people in need, you’ll appeal to those kids and their parents.
To expand your volunteer program into kid-friendly opportunities, your existing supporter base must get kids involved. If you’re looking for more ways to get the word out about your kid-friendly volunteering opportunities, consider recruiting ambassadors for your program to raise awareness on behalf of your organization. That way, you can focus on facilitating the volunteer program while your supporters take care of recruitment.