How (and Why) to Attract Student Volunteers
to Your Organization This School Year
We’ve heard from several fundraisers about the challenges of recruiting volunteer help. If you find yourself pondering over your volunteer prospects, we want to assure you...they’re out there! Here's how to find them.
Post Date: Jan 27 2021
The school year is full of special occasions to host a fundraiser with Terri Lynn premium snacks and mixes. Halloween, Winter Holidays, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo...they’re all great opportunities to tie the holidays with your organization’s seasonal fundraising campaigns.
A new school year is the perfect time to re-engage and renew your members, build awareness around your organization, and plant the seeds that will sustain your mission throughout the rest of the year.
Recruiting Your School-Year Volunteers
As you begin to ramp up your efforts for the school year ahead, it’s also a great time to begin recruiting your volunteers and members.
We’ve heard from several Terri Lynn fundraising partners about the challenges of recruiting volunteer supporters during COVID, while restrictions placed burdens on their communities’ resources, time, and availability.
If you find yourself pondering over your volunteer prospects for the year ahead, we want to assure you...they’re out there!
In 2019, the top volunteering activity in the United States (36% of all volunteer activities) was fundraising or selling items to raise money (source: National Philanthropic Trust). This makes fundraising the interest of choice for many volunteers who want to make a difference in their communities.
So where to find them?
The past year’s challenges have also presented new opportunities, and one of those is the availability of student volunteers. While many high school students find themselves with volunteer requirements during the school year, it’s a great opportunity to reach out and invite teens to spend extra hours making a meaningful difference with your organization.
Why Round Up Student Volunteers?
Expanding your membership base to include students can infuse your organization with new energy and skill sets for the fundraising season ahead.
Many students are familiar with technologies that might have been absent from your fundraising efforts in the past. Computer hardware, social media, online spreadsheets, website dashboards...these are all areas where student volunteers can bring their knowledge to the table and help your cause to update its digital marketing presence.
It’s also normal for students to have school requirements for volunteer hours, or to have a desire to gain experience for their future resumes. For students in service organizations or clubs, they will also have access to larger groups who may want to sponsor your fundraiser as a team, with volunteer hours or special events.
Students can also help you expand your audience, and sell to new markets that were maybe challenging to reach before. Whether it’s their fellow students, school families, sports groups, youth or church groups—they can help spread the word that Terri Lynn gourmet treats and mixes are delicious for all ages!
For fundraising groups using a free Terri Lynn Webstore: You’re likely to find students with tech savvy skills in social media, graphic design, email marketing, video recording and more to help you grow your online sales.
While we’ve created our Terri Lynn Fundraiser Dashboard to be user-friendly for all levels of tech-abilities (with premade graphics and flyers available), you may find students who are ready to use their skills to create online promotional materials of their own!
How To Set Up Your Student Volunteer Program
1. Create a Student-Specific Program
When recruiting younger volunteers or members, creating a student-focused program can help to be clear on goals and outline your expectations when it comes to students representing your group.
With your team, brainstorm specific roles and jobs that your student volunteers can do. Then, create duties that are skill and age-appropriate. If students will be involved in your outreach efforts, have policies in place that outline language, messaging and clothing guidelines if needed.
2. Involve Students in Planning
Student minds are an excellent source for new ideas! Get their input for ways to improve your organization’s messaging, marketing avenues, volunteer onboarding and more. Gathering their input will not only help you to create a relevant and enjoyable student volunteering experience, it will also help to solidify their dedication by getting them to invest their own time into planning.
Give your student members a chance to claim ownership of a program or policy they’ve created, and remember to recognize them for their efforts.
3. Give Public Recognition
Publicly applauding your student volunteers’ efforts is a great way to instill a sense of pride. Work with students to set up channels for recognition (whether it’s social media, an email newsletter, a ‘thank you’ ad in the newspaper, or a hall of fame in your building) and then remember to shine the spotlight on their efforts.
Ideas for recognition-style stories can include: before and after images, volunteer bios, photo collages or personal thank you messages.
4. Have a Succession Plan in Place
Naturally, student volunteers will—at some point—move on from their student status. When they do, it’s important to have a plan in place to fill their open duties during the following year or campaign.
Plan ahead for student turnover by outlining the duties that will need to be filled, and asking your students for referrals or recommendations of other teens who might take their place.
It’s expected that student helpers will graduate or transition away eventually, so remember to be prepared with a succession plan that addresses your fundraiser’s needs moving forward.
Sprout Your Volunteer Base This School Year
Even if you already have membership-building plans, adding students to your fundraiser family can help to tackle challenges related to technology, volunteer hours, online outreach and more. Plus, it’s a great way to inspire a young demographic of supporters to be invested in your organization from an early age!
Now is a great time to build up your volunteer base with local students who are available and interested in building their resumes with skills and experiences that your organization can offer.
And if you’re looking for more fundraising ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of Fundraising Experts. We’ve helped over 5,000 fundraising organizations meet their sales goals with our line of premium products for every season.
We’re on hand ready to answer your questions about fundraising for your specific cause with the help of the best stand-alone, or combination of, Terri Lynn programs.