Remember your first day at school or work? A huge spectrum of emotions and fears flooding though your head, heart pumping ten to the dozens, stomach in a knot and feet just not moving. Young people experience these same fears, which can prevent them from accessing opportunities which could help/enable them to get that first job interview or training placement. Volunteering offers young people the opportunity to explore an interest in a safe supported environment while further developing their skills for future work or training. Volunteering is an excellent opportunity for young people to learn new perspectives about life situations/choices and also gain skills to support themselves through the transition of being a young person to becoming a young adult. It is also an opportunity to learn appropriate interpersonal skills within professional settings and further cultivate their emotional intelligence and resilience to respond rather than react in fear or stress in challenging situations.
A good volunteering programme will offer clear concise and young person friendly information to enable them to make an informed choice about which volunteering opportunity is appropriate to their aspirations and abilities. There will be an induction process and support available to complete application forms, prepare for an interview and how to prepare for the volunteering placement. Ideally there will be ongoing support and regular reviews to enable the young person to reflect and review what they have learnt, areas for further improvement and plan for future opportunities.
Social media platforms are excellent tools to promote volunteering opportunities and information to interested young people and deconstruct some of their fears or questions which may have prevented their participation. Projects can also ‘showcase’ what they can offer; staff team support, types of volunteering projects on offer and what to expect on a volunteering placement. Websites can offer this functionality as well, however, if young people are visiting facebook they are more likely to check out a facebook profile/group/page than spend time searching for a website. Additionally social network sites offer instantaneous and real time updates.
Content is KING!
Appeal and draw in interested young people to a social network profile/group/page
Create Short film clips
These can be created by young people at the project with a staff member:
- What the volunteering service is offering
- What to expect when you access the service - privacy/confidentiality
- Who will they met - Team members
- What kind of placements are on offer
- How to find out more information
Search online for age appropriate informative film clips and link to SNS
Upload to Youtube or Vinmo - check section on privacy settings
- Location of provision
- Staff team with information about each person under each picture
- Images of activities
- Images of sessions, team meetings and/or planning sessions
- Day in the life of staff member
- Day in the life of young person on a volunteering placement
Post links on website and/or SNS
- Relevant websites with information
- Forums or online support or helplines for generic out of hours service youth support services
- Use the events function on the social network site (profile/page/group) to promote upcoming events/activities/drop in sessions
- Add photos to help capture young peoples interest
- Add short film clips by inserting the URL hyper link so young people can check out what has taken place at a previous event
- Add a short intro and interesting information again to capture and motivate young people to attend.
- Review the invitation settings; specific invitation or open to any person to attend?
- Enable the function for young people to confirm their attendance, helpful to plan for group size
- Invite young people to write a short ‘comment’ about an activity they have attend
- What did they enjoy, learn, what difference did the activity make to their confidence?
- Workers to post short messages about their day - keep it relaxed and informal
- Day in the life of a youth worker planning and delivering a youth activity about volunteering
- Young person blogging about their volunteering placement; high points and what they have learnt
- Challenges and opportunities
- Funny stories - any interesting incidents to share, everyone loves a laugh
- Research - presenting information in a young person friendly version, inviting their views
Location of provision include: local transport information, toilets, place to meet a friend
Pod casts - sensitive topics
Young people wanting to express their views about a volunteering activity they attended, however, they do not want to have their photo taken or be on film. Capturing their views in ‘audio’ format enables their participation and protects their identity. Additionally written parental consent permission is not required. However, it is good youth work practice to request each young person to sign a permission consent form of them agreeing to have their views audibly recorded, to share this with other adult decision makers and to upload onto the social network site (profile/page/group) and youth organisational website.
Adverts on Facebook:
It’s easy & takes a few minutes to create your Facebook Ad. It’s an effective marketing tool to promote upcoming youth activities to young people. It’s also competitively priced, the cost of staff time preparing an event flyer, writing envelops and postal costs is typically more expensive then preparing a Facebook advert. Plus is greener and more environmentally friendly.
- LINK - Decide whether you want to advertise your own page or something on Facebook
- like a Page, Application, Group or Event.
- AD MESSAGE - Write clear, targeted ads with concise text that speaks directly to the audience you will reach.
- PHOTO - Put an attractive/ interesting and relevant image in your ad that is appropriate for the event or service being advertised.
- Target your exact audience with demographic and psychographic ﬁlters.
- Decided whether you want to pay for clicks or pay for views.
- Decide the budget and when adverts are to be promoted.