- Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 November 2012 13:43
Young People as Volunteers: A guide to moving beyond traditional practices
In 2010, Volunteering Qld produced the report Youth Leading Youth, which provided an ‘inside’ perspective on practices used by volunteer organisations led by young people. The findings challenged a range of traditional practices in volunteer management and opened up opportunities for organisations to enhance their capacity to engage young volunteers.
The Youth Leading Youth report received interest from a wide range of organisations, from other youth-led organisations to larger, more traditional organisations interested in engaging young volunteers. This report, Young People as Volunteers, seeks to build on the findings of Youth Leading Youth and to offer clear strategies that can be adopted by organisations in their efforts to more effectively work in collaboration with young volunteers aged 18 to 25. While the target demographic is this age group, the definition of “young” changes across industries and the strategies provided are relevant for a wider range of ages.
The development of this report involved a multi-step process, which included:
- Focus groups with a variety of young people, including international students and university students.
- A focus group with 23 organisations that wish to engage young volunteers.
- A focus group with 8 organisations selected to participate because of their effective engagement of young volunteers.
- A series of one-on-one interviews with representatives from selected organisations across a range of sectors, who demonstrate a high level of effectiveness in engaging young volunteers.
This approach aimed to:
- Test the findings of Youth Leading Youth against the experiences of a more diverse range of young people.
- Examine the experiences of traditional organisations, and determine what resources and tools would help them more effectively engage young volunteers.
- Highlight good practice within larger organisations that could be distilled down to transferrable strategies for adoption by other organisations.
Focus groups and interviews followed a similar structure to the Youth Leading Youth report. Questions and discussion centered around the five stage model developed by Volunteering Qld and formed the basis of the initial research and report:
This phase of research was heavily focused on practical outputs and strategies, and aims to provide organisations with tools to implement into their programs. This report sets out the key findings of this phase of research, organised under each of the five stages. Each section gives an overview of that phase, from the perspective of an organisation and their relationship with young volunteers. It then asks a series of questions designed to provide a quick perspective on the current state of the organisation and its ability to engage young volunteers.
Following each set of questions are some ideas, strategies, tools and examples that illustrate how an organisation may enhance their capacity in that area.
Each section concludes with an in-depth case study of an organisation that is effectively working with young volunteers. While every organisation is different, many of the key learnings and processes from these cases are highly transferable.